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Sunday, June 20, 2010

David Weissman's "We Were Here"

We Were Here creative team: Marsha Kahm (director of photography), Bill Weber (editor/ co-director), Lauretta Molitor (sound recordist), David Weissman (producer/director)

Today James and I saw two documentaries at the 34th SF queer film festival - at the Castro, David Weissman's We Were Here, a documentary about the AIDS epidemic, then a doc about William S. Burroughs at the Victoria. I tried to post this to the We Were Here Facebook page, but couldn't. I knew I was keeping this blog around for something:
David, what an unforgettable experience to see this today in that theater with that audience.

To echo what others have already said, it made me so proud to be a San Franciscan - not just because of the response this city summoned to the epidemic, but because such a masterly work of art about it came from here. I want to thank you again for what you accomplished - and it's something I'll study in the years to come - how you established so much trust in the opening minutes of the film that you could take us to such terrible places, take me so much farther than I thought I would be able to go without putting up defenses, shutting down, turning away.

The film is an object lesson in the power of restraint: you built up so much capital, and then you spent all of it, and wisely. I left the theater exhilarated today, no less by the spirit and humanity of your five subjects and the world they stood for and evoked than by the compassion and psychological brilliance of the choices you and Bill made.

It's hard to imagine more hazardous territory for a documentary or a more successful execution. Thank you for making this film.

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