Author, activist and playwright Larry Kramer was a political firebrand who gave voice to the outrage and grief that inspired a generation of gay men and lesbians to fight for their lives. This pioneering activist co-founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), where his calls for direct action protest made AIDS a national issue, forever changing public health policy.
An official selection at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Larry Kramer in Love & Anger is highlighted by present-day footage as he reminisced about his life in the midst of battling complications from a liver transplant and a decade of living with HIV. Featuring unprecedented access to Kramer in his hospital room with David Webster, his partner and then-husband, the film paints a vivid picture of a divisive man who fought tirelessly for gay rights.
Larry Kramer in Love & Anger includes Kramer’s frank reflections on coming to terms with his sexuality and his career success. Featuring interviews with the founders of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and footage from the award-winning theatrical and HBO Films productions of “The Normal Heart,” the documentary tells the story of the real-life circle of friends who found themselves at the center of the epidemic in its early days.
The irrefutable father of the AIDS movement, which has ushered in a new era of strength and advancement in the struggle for LGBT rights, and one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in contemporary gay America, Kramer was a complicated man who was known simultaneously as egotistic and selfless, angry and inspiring, rude and caring. To his admirers, Kramer was a prophet whose early warnings to the gay community about promiscuity and AIDS now read as eerily prescient.
In 1987, furious at years of government inaction on AIDS, Kramer called for a more militant approach to fight the disease. The group he inspired, ACT UP, had a major role in bringing attention to the appallingly inept response to a mounting epidemic. ACT UP prompted the medical and political activism that led to the first effective antiretroviral treatments to save millions of lives and changed the definition of AIDS to include the symptoms that were killing women and the poor. Many of the younger men and women in ACT UP viewed Kramer as a father figure who inspired fear and anger but also engendered in them a sense of purpose. He urged them to fight and castigated them when he felt they weren’t doing enough.
Larry Kramer in Love & Anger was directed and produced by Jean Carlomusto; editor, Geof Bartz, A.C.E.; producer, Ellin Baumel; co-producer, Shanti Avirgan; co-editor, Gladys Mae Murphy; original music, Wendy Blackstone; directors of photography, Alex Rappoport and James Wentzy; archival coordinator, Rena Zager; supervising producer, Jacqueline Glover; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.