David France on Oscar nominated documentary 'How to Survive a Plague'

By Zach Laws
By Zach Laws
Feb 15 2013 10:09 am
0
See Zach's
Predictions
Get Gold Derby's free news alerts and predictions

David France credits his years of experience in print journalism for the success of his first venture into moviemaking, “How to Survive a Plague.” The gritty film, which details the courageous actions of two grassroots coalitions -- ACT UP and TAG -- to raise awareness of AIDS in the 1980s, contends for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars. 

“I’d long been covering the AIDS epidemic,” says France, “so this is a story I wanted to go back to and try and make sense of, the story of the plague years in America before the effective medications came out that made surviving AIDS a possibility. I realized that a story of that time really needed to focus on the individuals whose activism helped bring us to those drugs, and helped bring a close to the plague years. That’s a story of the beginning of patient advocacy, and the creation of citizen scientists.”

France made use of years of archival footage to construct his narrative, bringing in over 800 hours of vintage video from several sources. “The camcorder revolution was really at its infancy in 1987, when AIDS activism began,” explains the filmmaker. “The activists were among the first to really take up that technology and try and find social and political and cultural uses. It was important for them to do it because the mainstream media wasn’t covering it.”

“How to Survive a Plague” won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Film as well as  Best Documentary from the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Gotham Awards.  

Our experts rank the film second with odds of 4/1 to win, behind “Searching for Sugar Man,” which has odds of 13/8. 

In the video chat below, France reveals his biggest challenge was getting interviews with survivors of the plague. “Most of them were reluctant to do it. Many of us who survived those times have found ways to wall off the memories in order to make an ongoing normalness possible. It was a lot I was asking from them.”

 
Related News
Make your Oscars & reality TV predictions. Win prizes.
pop up close

Advertisement

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Inside Track: Oscar Predictions

Oscars predictions

Oscars Predictions by Top Experts

See the latest Oscar predictions of our famous pundits — Click Here. See the category rankings when their predictions are combined - Click Here. Sample below. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.

Odds   View %  
Experts
1 BoyhoodBoyhood
7/2
2 BirdmanBirdman
6/1
3 SelmaSelma
13/2
4 The Imitation GameThe Imitation Game
8/1
5 The Theory of EverythingThe Theory of Everything
10/1
6 WhiplashWhiplash
16/1
7 The Grand Budapest HotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel
16/1
8 Gone GirlGone Girl
20/1
9 UnbrokenUnbroken
20/1
10 FoxcatcherFoxcatcher
20/1
See complete statistics by Clicking Here
Hot Links from the Web
Photo Galleries: Oscars, Emmys, ...
Latest Forum Posts
Best Directors 1980 and Beyond - El..
+ Cameron- BertolucciSteven Spielberg, Schindler's List (27)Ang Lee, Brokeback M..
Meryl Streep 2nd Best Role - Elimin..
+ A Cry in the Dark- IronweedThe Devil Wears Prada (31)Adaptation. (19)A Cry in ..
Martin Scorsese Films (Elimination ..
+ Hugo- The DepartedGoodFellas: 111Raging Bull : 34Taxi Driver : 28The Wolf of W..
Tim Burton Films (Elimination Game)
+ Edward Scissorhands- Batman ReturnsEdward Scissorhands - 63Big Fish - 26Sleepy..
Subscribe to our free news service

Advertisement