“If you think you know the story of AIDS—and everybody thinks they know the story of AIDS—this movie will be a surprise.” That’s what David France, director of the documentary How to Survive a Plague, tells audiences before they see his film. And that’s what he’s telling as many Academy members as possible between now and February 24, when he’ll find out if How to Survive a Plague wins the Oscar for best documentary.
“It’s taken us a while after last year’s premiere [at Sundance] to get the word out that this isn’t the story you think it is,” France says. “It’s really like a medical thriller—and true on top of that.”
How to Survive a Plague tells the story of activists who—through their work with AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and, later, the Treatment Action Group—saved millions of lives. They shut down New York City, stormed the FDA, and even tented former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms’ home with a gigantic condom. By doing so, they drew much-needed attention to the plight of people with AIDS and shattered standard practices around clinical drug trials—leading to the creation life-saving protease inhibitors.
“No drug has had such an impact on any virus — any virus,” France says.
READ FULL STORY »