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New York's Museum of Modern Art's annual International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media, a two-week showcase of documentary films, will open on February 16, 2012 with a presentation of Jim Hubbard's United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012), the first feature-length documentary to explore ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) from a historical perspective.
Produced by filmmaker Hubbard and novelist and activist Sarah Schulman, United in Anger tells the story of the vanguard AIDS activist organization that used direct action strategies in the struggle against AIDS in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The film documents the heroism and tenacity of ordinary people, while also exploring the techniques through which ACT UP created change.
The documentary grows from the ACT UP Oral History Project on which Hubbard and Schulman have been working for the past four years, interviewing surviving members of ACT UP, New York; and from the AIDS Activist Video Collection of the New York Public Library, which contains over 1000 hours of archival footage.
The film's title comes from ACT UP's statement of purpose: "ACT UP is a diverse, non-partisan group united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. We protest and demonstrate; we meet with government and public health officials; we research and distribute the latest medical information; we are not silent."
In telling the story of ACT UP, the film explores the group's complex culture and attempts to capture the incredible energy and creativity of the organization, which used bold imagery and confrontational tactics to challenge the complacency of politicians and governmental officials who failed to respond adequately to a major health crisis.
Here is a trailer for the film.