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Sundance Selects Acquires AIDS Doc "How to Survive a Plague"

Photo of Jacob Combs By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood January 26, 2012 at 11:23PM

Sundance Selects is acquiring the North American rights to the AIDS documentary "How to Survive a Plague," the company announced today at the Sundance festival.
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How to Survive a Plague

Sundance Selects is acquiring the North American rights to the AIDS documentary "How to Survive a Plague," the company announced today at the Sundance festival.  Directed by David France, a journalist and former Newsweek editor, the documentary chronicles the struggle of a group of young men and women with little scientific experience, many of them HIV-positive, who took on the pharmaceutical industry and pushed for the urgent need to develop new AIDS drugs when the disease was still new.

France's film includes never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and 1990s, and focuses on the fight of a group of activists to transform living with HIV from a death sentence to a livable condition.

In his review of the film, Screen's David D'Arcy wrote that the documentary "looks and feels like an unruly collage that is anything but conventionally cinematic," but also praised it for reaching "a heartbreaking crescendo in archival footage."  In its packed premiere at Sundance, the film received two standing ovations—one for the screening and one for the Q&A that followed.

This article is related to: Sundance 2012 News, Documentaries, Sundance, Sundance 2012


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.