In the late 1970s, San Fransisco is home to one of the biggest gay communities in the United States when a mysterious disease starts spreading. At a time when almost no information was known regarding the causes and cure for this disease, or even how it was transmitted, the San Francisco General Hospital opened ward 5B to tackle the crisis and care for its patients. A group of nurses and health professionals, helped by a handful of volunteers from the East Coast, took charge of ward 5B to face the epidemic of what will later be known as AIDS.
In this documentary, directors Paul Haggis and Dan Krauss tell the story of this pioneer ward, and the complications and extreme situations it faced, using stock footage as well as present-day interviews with nurses, patients and important figures of that time. The emotions that come through these interviews reflect a historical moment when most politicians and a great part of society had turned its back on AIDS patients. With fewer protocols and greater empathy, Ward 5B fought back against the hospital’s internal struggles, and the dehumanization and social exclusion from which the gay community suffered.
2019: Cannes Film Festival
Runtime: 95 min
Direction: Dan Krauss, Paul Haggis
OST: Justin Melland
Contact: Rogers and Cowan