WE WERE HERE is the latest documentary by David Weissman and Bill Weber, the creative team who brought the film THE COCKETTS to the big screen back in 2002. This powerful film chronicles the AIDS epidemic that struck the gay community in the Castro district in San Francisco back in the early 80s. Through on camera interviews by five individuals that were there, plus periodical and archival footage taken during that time, their stories bring to light what was actually transpiring and how the government paid little attention to the crisis. It also beautifully showed how the gay community came together to fight against what the press dubbed "The Gay Cancer."
The interviewees, who were caregivers, friends, lovers, researchers, activists and AIDS victims themselves, share their stories of struggle to contain the disease; by donating themselves to AIDS research, only to have those early tests fail with dire consequences. Some volunteered their time to assist those who could no longer help themselves, sharing up to date information on what and how to stop the spread of AIDS. Through these devastating times, the film also brought to light how women - more specifically lesbians - came to help their gay brothers in fighting the crisis through political protests and demanding more medical advancement.
After the screening, both directors came onto the stage and participated in a Q&A. The audience asked a dozen or so questions, and Wiessman and Weber answered them all. I was fortunate to partake in this as well. After it was over, I made my way towards them and thanked them for making such a moving piece of art.
The AIDS epidemic left San Francisco's gay community ravaged and broken, leaving wounds that would take years to heal. In the aftermath of it all, over 15,000 gay men died during that time. However, thanks to AIDS research, that number has declined significantly, but there is still no cure for the disease. But Weissman and Weber leave the audience with the idea that hope is still out there. The interviewees all came out of one of the darkest periods in GLBT history without giving up on hope. Some lost lovers, only to find love again. Some found themselves still at the forefront of the gay rights movement. The notion of not giving up made the gay community that much stronger, that more determined to live their lives without fear, and to face adversity together. WE WERE HERE is an amazing documentary that must be seen by everyone!
To learn more about the film and where it's playing, visit the their website at http://wewereherefilm.com/
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!