„Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP” – (USA, 2002)

rnc_nyc-02Over 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 Nov 2002 NYC |

affiche_femmes_ActUpParis_oIn 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 |

gran fury 615 banner hellerIn 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 |32907ACTUP2007002-vi


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