Faced with their own mortality an improbable group of young people, many of them HIV-positive young men, broke the mold as radical warriors taking on Washington and the medical establishment.
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is the story of two coalitions—ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. With unfettered access to a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and '90s, filmmaker David France puts the viewer smack in the middle of the controversial actions, the heated meetings, the heartbreaking failures, and the exultant breakthroughs of heroes in the making.
“…The first documentary that I have seen that does justice to this story of a civil rights movement rising from the ashes of our dead.”
Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast
“Tells the story of these activists and the organisations they built... in compelling detail. Their fight was a Gandhian one—using the tactics of non-violent civil disobedience, the creativity of the gay community, and the effective but tough slog of grassroots participatory democracy.”
Chris Beyrer, The Lancet
“Served powerfully, with minimal adornment... A moving and meticulous documentary about AIDS activism in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s”
A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“…An epic celebration of heroism and tenacity, and less directly, a useful template for any fledgling activist movement, demonstrating the effectiveness of inside/outside strategy.”
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter