Skip directly to content

ACT UP/NY and TAG’s accomplishments featured in prize-winning documentary

TAGupdate 2012

In September 2012, David France’s documentary How to Survive a Plague opened in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, after six months on the festival circuit. The film focuses on the work of ACT UP’s Treatment & Data (T & D) Committee and that of TAG in breaking down the bureaucratic and scientific barriers to effective treatment for HIV between 1987 and 1996. Featuring TAG cofounder Peter Staley, and with a supporting cast including several other TAG cofounders including Garance Franke-Ruta, Gregg Gonsalves, and Mark Harrington, and ACT UP’s pioneering pharmacologist Iris Long, PhD, and playwright Jim Eigo, the film—crafted from over 700 hours of archival AIDS activist documentary footage by over 30 film- and video makers—shows how a group of New Yorkers, pushed to the limits by the inaction of the Reagan and first Bush administrations, created a local, then a national, and finally a global community activist response to the pandemic, and pioneered a groundbreaking form of scientific evidence–based research and treatment activism, which led to the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). It’s a must-see for anyone who wants to understand the history of AIDS activism: