Walker Art Center

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United in Anger: A History of ACT UP

Director Jim Hubbard present for a post-screening discussion, regional premiere

“As scrappy and passionate as the actions it documents, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP delivers a living tribute to a movement spawned by death and despair.” —New York Times

Nearly 40 years ago the first cases of AIDS appeared in the United States, growing quickly into a pandemic. Initially termed Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, the disease stoked fear and homophobia, as well as anger over government inaction. In 1987, a group of activists formed the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), taking political action to the streets with a literal life-or-death urgency and an unprecedented media savvy. Veteran filmmaker Jim Hubbard takes on ACT UP’s history through behind-the-scenes archival footage, which shows the planning and execution of some of its most notorious exploits—Seize Control of the FDA, Day of Desperation, and a die-in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York—as well as interviews from his ACT UP Oral History Project.

Illuminating the significant roles women and minorities played in the movement, this vital documentary captures the growth and evolution of a movement that changed the way people thought about AIDS and public protest, even as many of its own members were dying. Hubbard, a former Twin Cities resident, was involved with the longtime St. Paul nonprofit Film in the Cities. His work is part of the Walker’s Ruben Bentson Film/Video Study Collection. 2012, video, 90 minutes.

Copresented by the University of Minnesota: Program in the History of Medicine; Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies; Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies; GLBTA Program Office; Department of American Studies; and the Heritage Studies Collaborative of the Institute for Advanced Study.