Subjects: Queer Studies, Physical and Mental Health
A fascinating, emotional history lesson, Commitment to Life dives deep into the true, twisty story of the fight against HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles. Director Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito, Frameline35; I Am Divine, Frameline37; Boulevard! A Hollywood Story, Frameline46) offers a densely researched close-up of people who devoted their lives to finding a cure for AIDS beginning in the early ‘80s, including the birth of APLA (Aids Project Los Angeles). As the deadly virus begins to spread, doctors, activists, and entertainment professionals navigate a society that’s not ready to accept the reality of this mysterious disease.
Filled with captivating movie clips, in-depth interviews with the activists, and personal stories of Hollywood heavyweights like Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and David Geffen, this documentary delivers an intense, comprehensive look at the impact of a global health crisis on the rich and famous, as well folks from less privileged backgrounds in Southern California.
Commitment to Life provides a sobering reminder that the HIV/AIDS fight is not over, while offering a hopeful view of how people can make a profound difference when they come together.
"Schwarz’s intensely moving and inspiring documentary about the HIV/AIDS crisis is absolutely essential. What you see are real people who have endured, fought so hard against the virus, and bravely resisted the wrath of politicians who tried to make them feel unworthy and ashamed. Unfortunately, this fight is far from over. It is on us to continue it and to remember and honor those who are no longer with us. Commitment to Life is a reminder that even in the bleakest of times, empathy and love can prevail."
— Film Threat
About the filmmaker
Jeffrey Schwarz is an Emmy Award-winning producer and director based in Los Angeles. His latest documentary is The Fabulous Allan Carr which premiered at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival. Previous work includes the 2015 SXSW premiere Tab Hunter Confidential; the Emmy Award-winning HBO Documentary Films’ Vito, the story of activist and author Vito Russo, founding father of the gay liberation movement; I Am Divine; Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon; and the 2007 AFI FEST Documentary Audience Award Winner Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story.
He has also produced content on major studio releases for directors such as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme, Wes Craven, Rob Reiner, Barry Sonnenfeld, Adam Shankman, Paul Verhoeven, Chris Columbus and the Coen Brothers. Schwarz appeared in The Advocate’s “Out 100” in 2013 and was the recipient of the 2015 Frameline Award, which honors those who have made a major contribution to LGBT representation in film, television and the media arts.