The Great Hereafter
BY Jeremy Kinser
December 01 2011 9:50 AM ET
How eager were people to be interviewed and participate in the film?
Everyone we asked said yes, immediately. Everyone had their own reasons for wanting to participate, but I was amazed (and thrilled and honored) that so many people were willing to take the time to share their stories with us. And that is one of the parts that I am most proud of that we — Here Media and here! TV, in particular — now have as part of our permanent archive, the stories of the people. These captured interviews are a vital and rich part of our history. And long after we are gone will stand as our legacy.
Several of the folks we interviewed said a similar thing, that they had not spoken about any of this in over 20 years. And the fact that they were willing to open their box of memories for us was astonishing and I, personally, was humbled and I am eternally grateful.
How willing were people to dredge up the past and share their memories and photographs?
People pretty much offered. As painful as these memories are, I think a common sentiment was “the stories must be told so we do not forget.” So, there were many of tearful afternoons in the studio, but as I mentioned, I am so honored that these people trusted us with their stories and the memories of the people they lost.
What were some of the most memorable stories shared during filming?
Every single person in the documentary has something astonishing and beautiful to say. I am not kidding. That is what made our job so difficult. Paring down these interviews was challenging for us all. There are hundred and hundred of pages of transcribed interviews and hours and hours of tape filled with stories and insights and memories and predictions — we could have made an eight-part miniseries. So, I am going to answer your question, but know that these are just four examples among dozens and dozens.
Larry Flick tells an astonishing story about how he was talking with a young person recently who referred to today as ‘post AIDS’ and Larry asks, “Did I miss the press release that it’s over?” Shocking.
Dvorah Stohl talks about her summers in the Pines on Fire Island and how she was surrounded by so much love and joy and she never imagined, in her wildest dreams that it would end the way it did. Heartbreaking.
I love when Larry Kramer says that every medication on the market is a direct result of the work of ACT UP. “Period, end of story.” He’s 100% correct!
I am moved when Danny Logan, who is 24 years old, talks about how he felt contracting the virus was inevitable. Devastating.
And as I said these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.