How To Survive A Plague: An AIDS and GLBTQ activism film primer
While New York was the global main stage for much of the gay civil rights and AIDS-centered healthcare action, San Francisco was an equally vital opposite coast partner in bringing the movement to the forefront. Milk captures the city's energy, and tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official. Showing his growth from a camera shop owner to national figurehead, the movie exposes just how difficult and dangerous it was for Milk to be "out" in a time when not many were willing to risk their lives to do so.
Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt (1989)
Taking a drastic turn in perspective from the previously mentioned films, Common Threads is important because it shares a slice of what the public was seeing and feeling at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Once labeled the "gay cancer," the documentary shows that the disease did not discriminate. Though ACT UP was openly unsupportive of The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt (which the film centers around) because it felt it softened the message, Common Threads sought to inform the public with personal stories of many people who lived and died at the hands of the disease.