film August 31, 2011 By Chloe Eichler

filler29 David Weissman


AIDS Poster Boy

filler29 David Weissmandw title2 David Weissman
David Weissman’s last documentary, co-directed with Bill Weber, was a Technicolor portrait of the Cockettes, the highest-flying drag queen ensemble in 1960s San Francisco. For his next non-fiction project Weissman moves on to the following chapter of life in that city’s gay community, after the euphoria of finding each other has given way to the struggle of staying together. We Were Here, also co-directed by Weber and opening September 9th in New York, is a gracefully elegiac remembrance of the 1981 emergence of AIDS in San Francisco and the magnificent response of ordinary citizens during the earliest days, before the disease was understood or even named. Weissman follows five central figures, weaving together the perspectives of medical professionals, city caregivers, and, in what are inevitably the most harrowing interviews, those with stricken loved ones. An undercurrent of testimonial pervades the film; as much as it is about enormous courage, it is still the tale of those who died, and this weight has not been lost on anyone in front of or behind the camera.
     David Weissman moved to San Fransisco five years before AIDS was discovered in the city. He spoke with PLANET about the enormous repercussions of the initial AIDS panic and why San Francisco is still an extraordinary city.

1 2 3 4