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Drexel Library

AIDS, Posters & Stories of Public Health: A People’s History of a Pandemic (Traveling Exhibit)

HIV/AIDS Resources in the Drexel Libraries Catalog

Book of James (Documentary)

Director: Tam Ho 
Narrator: James Wentzy

Run Time: 1 hour 14 minutes 

Inspired by a collection of personal notebooks, Books of James is an experimental documentary on ART, AIDS and ACTIVISM. Based on the writing, drawing, video footage and personal revelation of James Wentzy, an artist/activist in New York City, the film illustrates the 30-year timeline from the late 1970s to the present, examining the changes in the social and political landscape of America. Following James from South Dakota to New York City, the film traces his days from struggling and surviving as an artist to later becoming an AIDS video activist. 

With narration provided by James himself, the film is divided into 3 periods of his life, recorded in his journals and video footage over a 30-year time span: The Personal (Notebook Entries from 1977 to 1990), The Political (The ACT UP Years), and The Postscripts. 


The Battle of AmfAR (Documentary)

Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Run Time: 40 minutes 

The Battle of amfAR presents the little-known story of how in the early days of the AIDS pandemic an unlikely alliance between a celebrity and a scientist helped changed the public perception of the disease and led to the search for a cure. Hollywood superstar Elizabeth Taylor and Sloan-Kettering research scientist Dr. Mathilde Krim joined forces to create greater AIDS awareness, fight government indifference and public stigma, and establish AmFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research -- the first national organization dedicated to mobilizing the scientific community in the fight against AIDS and for a cure. The Battle of AmfAR reconstructs the history of the early years of the AIDS crisis through the twin lenses of early medical concern and the dedicated activism of these two powerful women. The film also explains some of the challenging science of the disease and the important breakthroughs in AIDS research. 


How to Survive a Plague (Documentary)

Director: David France
Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Faced with their own mortality, an improbable group of mostly HIV - positive young men and women broke the mold as radical warriors taking on Washington and the medical establishment. Despite having no scientific training, these self - made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. How To Survive A Plague is the story of how activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.


The Last One (Documentary)

Director: Nadine C. Licoste
Run Time: 1 hour 11 minutes

The Last One presents an updated history of the AIDS epidemic in America through the story of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The film traces how what at first was labeled a "gay disease" now disproportionately impacts the African American community, including women and youth. In the 1980s, as AIDS ravaged the gay community in the U.S., the AIDS Quilt was born as a tool to help promote understanding and treatment. Through the intensely personal stories of those involved with the Quilt, including founder Cleve Jones, The Last One examines how stigma, discrimination, and the lack of access to care exacerbated a disease that now infects over 1 million Americans, with nearly 50,000 new cases every year. The film follows the path of the Quilt on tour, visiting a variety of communities and people, including a high school where a young African American woman born with AIDS speaks out to fight stigma in her community.


And The Band Played On (Drama--Film)

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Run Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

In 1981, epidemiologist Don Francis (Matthew Modine) learns of an increased rate of death among gay men in urban areas. The startling information leads him to begin investigating the outbreak, which is ultimately identified as AIDS. His journey finds mostly opposition from politicians and doctors, but several join him in his cause. As it becomes apparent that people have personal reasons to turn the other cheek, Francis persists. Meanwhile, the number of deaths continues to grow. 


Philadelphia (Drama- Film)

Director:  Jonathan Demme
Run Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. But his secret is exposed when a colleague spots the illness's telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the only lawyer willing to help. In court, they face one of his ex-employer's top litigators, Belinda Conine (Mary Steenburgen).