Films A to Z

We Were Here

90 min.
Year of Production:
Ed Wolf
Paul Boneberg
Guy Clark
Eileen Glutzer
Daniel Goldstein
Production Company:
David Weissman
Berlinale Section:
Berlinale Category:
Documentary Film

When the first cases of Aids were announced thirty years ago, San Francisco was particularly affected. Even then, the city was a centre of the American gay movement; all at once, Aids was considered in no uncertain terms to be the ‘gay plague’ and those infected by the virus were stigmatised as victims of an immoral lifestyle.

At the time, San Francisco’s reaction to the disease was uniquely compassionate, diverse and creative – and was dubbed the ‘San Francisco model’. The city had had a progressive infrastructure since the 1960s; committed citizens and the members of a highly politicised gay community clustered around Castro Street. Together, they surmounted the barriers that began to pile up as a result of the prevalent antigay mood and the well-known inadequacies of America’s health system.

This film is about five citizens of the city who all lived in San Francisco before Aids was a problem. The disease has changed their lives in ways that, back then, they would never have imagined. Overnight the city was transformed from an enclave of sexual liberation and social experimentation to the epicentre of a dreadful, sexually transmitted epidemic. Seen from the point of view of five citizens of San Francisco – caregivers, activists, researchers, friends and sufferers – all of whom have been directly affected by the disease, the film makes use of copious archive material to illuminate not merely the personal but also the social challenges of the era in all its complexity.

BIOGRAFIE David Weissman

David Weissman is an Emmy Award nominated filmmaker, teacher, film programmer, public speaker and longtime activist. He is best known as producer of the acclaimed documentaries, "We Were Here" (2011) and "The Cockettes" (2002). David spent more than three decades in San Francisco, where he was deeply engaged with that city's cultural and political life.

"We Were Here" and "The Cockettes" both premiered at Sundance. We Were Here was released theatrically, and broadcast internationally - in the US on the PBS series Independent Lens. "We Were Here" was on the shortlist for the 2012 Best Documentary Academy Award. "The Cockettes" was also released theatrically, broadcast on Sundance Channel and BBC, and received the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Documentary of 2002. Both films received nominations for Independent Spirit Awards for Best Documentary of the Year.

David has taught courses in "Producing Feature Documentaries" in Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. He has taught classes and workshops in a many aspects of filmmaking, and has been a guest speaker, and presented his work at many universities, including USC, Stanford, Wesleyan, Yale, UC Santa Cruz, and Princeton. David is co-founder and co-director (with Russ Gage) of QDoc: The Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival.

FILMOGRAFIE David Weissman (selection)

2010 We Were Here  2002 The Cockettes  1991 Complaints (Short)  1988 Song from an Angel (Short)  1984 The Steps 

David Weissman IMDb

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