Begun amidst a rising sense of helplessness, The AIDS Memorial Quilt project came to symbolize the united front of dismay Americans felt toward their government’s lack of interest in helping its own people battle an epidemic. In the meantime, it has become a moving symbol of hope, even as the disease has changed the lives of millions in every country, affecting folks of all age, sex, and sexual preference. This documentary chronicles the quilt from origins to its current relevance.
Was there a personal reason you began this film?
I have always been drawn to stories that resonate globally, socially, and personally. The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the ultimate subject to explore because it cuts across all of these areas and offers an opportunity to dive into a story of historic dimension. I knew it would be a powerful and beautiful story to tell.
Your speakers were passionate and precisely articulate. Was the experience of making the film as moving and fascinating as it was to watch?
I had a remarkable opportunity to talk very intimately with people who were personally affected by the greatest pandemic in human history. People that saw first-hand how politics, science, and culture intersect. Making this film was fulfilling on an artistic level, of course, but on a personal level it was emotional, cathartic and inspiring.
The underlying message of the film is the universal aspect of the disease as it moved through time and human society. Are people understanding that?
I hope people will see how politics, media, and social stratification intersect and they will understand how a movement can grow. Through the film, our audience can bear witness to the loss of so many and yet, I hope, they will also feel motivated to advance the issues of social justice and activism.
What has audience reaction been like?
Some people, especially those who were part of the journey of 1980s and 1990s, are moved by the memories that the film conjures up and are also struck by the current relevancy of the issues the film raises. Younger audiences are impressed by the fight and fury exhibited by the earlier generation and I hope are moved to continue the fight for their own generation here in the U.S. and around the world.
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