We Were Here offers a comprehensive look into the 1980s “Gay Plague” through a story located in San Francisco. The documentary focuses on several interviews which unveil how each individual handled the catastrophe and provides accounts not only of HIV-diagnosed gay men, but also of activists, clinical nurses and specialized counselors. Starting off in the Castro District of the 1970s, the first part of the project is centered on the state of homosexual relationships and societal circumstances right before the outbreak. Following this introduction is the full-fledged AIDS crisis that erupted in the early 1980s and spread all throughout the country. The film mainly investigates how the epidemic unfolded within the San Francisco area and how it affected its citizens.
A big hunk of the documentary involves a series of interviews with different victims which suffered firsthand or indirectly from the unexpected outbreak. The interviewees include Daniel Goldstein (a local sculptor who was diagnosed with HIV and lost his former partners to the developed disease), Ed Wolf (a counselor for gay men and HIV patients, who created a whole host of trainings for international and national health organizations), Eileen Glutzer (a clinical nurse who supervised specialized trials of anti-HIV therapy), Paul Boneberg (a political activist who administered gay-oriented non-profits) and Guy Clark (a Castro-based florist who supplied funeral arrangement for the families of the victims).
“We Were Here, David Weissman and Bill Weber’s brisk, tender, multifaceted, and deeply moving documentary, tells the story of the AIDS crisis through the voices of four gay men (Ed Wolf, Paul Boneberg, Daniel Goldstein, Guy Clark) and one woman (Eileen Glutzer), all of whom pitched in—for years—to help the sick and the dying because, as the movie makes clear, the circumstances made it unthinkable for them to do otherwise.”
— Film Comment
“If just hearing this is so devastating, what must it have been like to live through it. Or not live through it.”
“At times shocking and yet also incredibly moving, We Were Here is a frontlines account of the AIDS crisis that makes fascinating viewing.”
— Big Gay Picture Show
Did You Know?
David Weissman wanted to make sure that the interviewees were ordinary people who had a strong connection to San Francisco and a heartfelt story to share, stating that he wasn’t necessarily looking for information, but rather for “art and feeling and presence”. The documentary We Were Here actually came about after one of Weissman’s boyfriends suggested that he should translate all of his stories and experiences into a movie. Review our Gay Themed Films Here