How To Survive A Plague

How To Survive A Plague

Directed by: David France
120 minutes

New England Premiere


2012 Audience Award Winner

In the early days of AIDS, no one knew what it was, how it was spread, or—most important—how to stop it. They only knew that no one was doing anything about it, so if they wanted to change that, they’d have to do it themselves. In the process, they created the template for the modern radical political activist.

Faced with their own mortality, an improbable group of mostly HIV-positive young men and women 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 1990s, 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.

Blisteringly powerful, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE transports us back to a time of unbridled death, political indifference, and staggering resilience, when a small force constructed a commanding archetype for activism today.