1th DMZ Docs(2009)
I AM DOCU
In 1999, South African AIDS activist Zackie Achmat went on a treatment strike, refusing to take his pills until they were widely available to all South Africans. This symbolic act became a cause célèbre, helping build his group Treatment Action Campaign into a national movement - yet with each passing month, Zackie grew sicker. Fig Trees is a documentary opera about AIDS activists Tim McCaskell of Toronto and Zackie Achmat of Capetown as they fight for access to treatment drugs. Documentary interviews, speeches, press conferences and demonstrations are sampled, taken apart, and set to music replayed this time as operatic scenes. A surreal fictional narrative is intercut with the stories of their struggles against government and the pharmaceutical industry. In this fictional world, Gertrude Stein decides to write a tragic opera about Tim and Zackie and their saint-like heroism.
John Greyson is a writer, director and activist. He is currently teaching film at York University and writes and lectures extensively. Also, he is active in various media collectives and collaborations. His film received some significant early successes on the film festival circuit, winning Best Short Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Fig Trees (2009) Rex vs. Singh (2008) Proteus (2003) The Law of Enclosures (2000) Uncut (1997) After the Bath (1995) You Taste American (1994)
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