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NEW..ACT UP .75-minute documentary

Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP

Over the span of its 15-year history, ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) has helped to transform the world's consciousness about HIV and AIDS, and made activism a vital part of the LGBT political landscape. Comprehensively documented by media activists and video collectives, the bold strategies, media savvy, and decidedly queer wit of ACT.UP remains a fresh source of inspiration to today's artists and activists through the invaluable trove of images sampled in this dynamic program of AIDS activist video. __,,|MIX.2002|.

In 1987 with AIDS deaths in the thousands and government policy still criminally indifferent, activists formed ACT.UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) with the sentiment "turn anger, fear, and grief into action". James Wentzy's documentary Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT.UP uses archive footage of speeches, demonstrations and ACT.UP meetings as it follows the group's imaginative, inspiring and in-your-face campaigning over 15 years. Deploying increasingly bold tactics such as demonstrations, civil disobedience, die-ins and political funerals, ACT.UP has addressed issues including more research funding, quicker drug testing, AIDS prevention education, government intervention, and most recently, measures to combat the disease in Africa. __,,|BERLINALE.PANORAMA|

In March 1987, the first AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) event took place on Wall Street. In the 15 years since the protest that shut down the world's financial center, ACT UP has been at the forefront of public awareness. Their demonstrations, die-ins, political funerals, marches, and speeches were key in propelling issues related to HIV/AIDS into major political and international topics. ACT UP member and AIDS video activist James Wentzy has constructed a vivid compilation documentary with Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP. The powerful clips depict the multiple bold events that ACT UP has staged, including: the inspiring First ACT UP action on Wall Street protesting the profiteering of the pharmaceutical companies that made AIDS-related drugs; National Nine Days of Rage, in which more than 50 ACT UP chapters congregated on the New York state capital to protest AIDS policies (or the lack thereof) involving IV drug use, homophobia, people of color, women, prison programs, and children with AIDS; and intense coverage of political funerals of ACT UP and affinity group The Marys, which included carrying an open coffin from Washington Square to the New York Republican Party headquarters on West 43rd Street, as well as an open casket political funeral in front of the White House. With fierce images and speeches, including many poignant ones by film historian and ACT UP pioneer Vito Russo, Fight Back, Fight AIDS is a dynamic alternative historical record of the queer political landscape, HIV/AIDS, and AIDS activist video. __,,| TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL |

_.._documentary by .James Wentzy _. ....____



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.MIX 2002 (16th New York Lesbian & Gay Experimental Film and Video Festival .
.PREMIERED ,November 21st, 2002 .Anthology Film Archives, New York City |.website.|.
Saturday . 8 February 2003 . 17:00 . CineStar 7
Sunday . 9 February 2003 . 22:00 . CineStar 7
Monday . 10 February 2003 . 14:30 . CineStar 7
The film will be presented in the PANORAMA DOKUMENTE within the Official Programme of
the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. The press is invited to the premiere and the press talk
with the audience will be held directly after the screening in the cinema.
.... | reviews |
Berlinale website | Press Release and Catalog (pdf) | post card announcement

TURIN 18th International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival . April 22, 2003 .15:45 .Valentino Uno ,| website |
_______Nel 2002 ACT UP (Aids Coalition To Unleash Power) ha compiuto 15 anni. Il cambiamento di approccio e l'aumento _
______.._di coscienza da parte dell'opinione pubblica nei confronti dell'AIDS è in buona parte dovuta a questo gruppo.
______.._....,.| Catalog Description .(pdf) |

Art Institute of Chicago - Queer Film Festival ..May 2, 2003. | website |

Gay Men's Health Summit .Raleigh, North Carolina,.screening ..7:30 PM .May 9, 2003. | website |

..... . | website | Catalog Description (pdf) | review


Wednesday, May 7, 2003
4:00 PM
Integrated Studios

449 Washington Street
Saturday, May 10, 2003
4:15 PM
Tribeca Film Center
375 Greenwich Street
It wasn't until nearly 1987 that public perception about AIDS being a disease of homosexual men started to ever-so-slowly shift, and if it weren't for the militant (and often controversial) activism of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, perceptions might not have shifted for much longer. This insightful compilation documentary recounts the group's 15-year history and shows how it has grown in scope and sophistication without losing sight of its activist ideals.

MILAN 17th Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival . 3rd June 2003. . | website | Catalog (pdf)

SAN FRANCISCO 27th International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival . . | website |

If the traditional documentary--one with carefully scripted voiceovers and thought-provoking insight--is your cup of tea, FIGHT BACK, FIGHT AIDS: 15 YEARS OF ACT UP ON VIDEO might best be kept for a rainy day. That's because it's an actual recapturing of queer history, offering neither narrator nor scandal. Yet it is a documentary because it captures our memories of our friends and lovers who fought for our political rights regarding what used to be our disease.

James Wentzy's in-your-face FIGHT BACK, FIGHT AIDS is a compilation of live footage documenting the first ACT UP action in 1987 on New York City's Wall Street and continues through 2002. Amateur video recording--at the demonstration level and from the behind-the-scenes meetings and trainings--reveals the astonishing camaraderie that united a politically enraged community, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or gender.

Recognizable faces among the hundreds of ACT UP activists, timelessly captured over the 15 years of footage, are likely to be moving. Particularly noteworthy is seeing activist and author Vito Russo issue a speech equating AIDS to war then demanding to know how the two landscapes differ.

Whether or not your own political views are aligned with ACT UP's today, this infinitely relevant political group taught us to fight back against government complacency, to protest the high costs of pharmaceutical drugs, and to simply ask others: Where is your rage?

FIGHT BACK, FIGHT AIDS: 15 YEARS OF ACT UP ON VIDEO dir James Wentzy 2002 USA 75 min video
June 25th, 2003
.6:30 PM . Herbst Theatre . . | website | Catalog Description (pdf)


REEL CHANGE: DOCUMENTING AMERICAN ACTIVISM .. Provocative, intelligent and inspiring, this astonishing collection of documentaries focuses on queer Americans who have committed their lives to progressive social change. The series salutes their historical impact on issues of sexuality, gender, racism, AIDS and economic justice. In these formidable times for dissent, the outspoken activists chronicled here remind us what democracy looks like.
ACT UP -- the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power -- was formed 15 years ago in response to the inconceivable paralysis of the American establishment in responding to AIDS. Their mission: to turn anger, fear and grief into action. With smart marketing campaigns, media savvy and creative civil disobedience, ACT UP energized queer politics and brought radical activism to the forefront of LGBT culture. Using his own video documentation and archival footage -- granting access to the initial organizing meetings, ashes thrown on the White House lawn, political funerals in the streets, and one of Vito Russo's final great speeches -- director James Wentzy has constructed a valuable and inspirational history of ACT UP that screened at the Berlin Film Festival. -- KMS
SATURDAY . JULY 12, 2003 . 9:30 PM . DGA 2 . . | website | Catalog Description (pdf)


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