GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Mass, another co-founder of GMHC and a hero in his own right. The two of us looked at each other and just said, ‘Larry’s an in­cred­i­ble guy. Why hasn’t a doc­u­men­tary been made about him?’”

She ap­proached Kramer about the doc­u­men­tary, and he didn’t want to do it at first. He had been con­tacted by sev­eral peo­ple be­fore and had tried work­ing with one of them, but it didn’t feel right. “But I kept run­ning into him in very serendip­i­tous ways,” says Car­lomusto. “He has known I have been doc­u­ment­ing the AIDS move­ment since the mid-’80s and he had seen the piece I did called ‘Sex in an Epi­demic,’ so he knew I was go­ing to be fair. I tried to be fair at rep­re­sent­ing all an­gles. I was part of the move­ments and I would paint an ac­cu­rate por­trait—and I didn’t have an ax to grind.”

She started soon af­ter­ward, and fin­ished in the fall of 2014, al­most five years later. She in­cludes new and archived footage of Kramer, and she in­ter­views many of his col­leagues.

Her big­gest chal­lenge was an un­ex­pected one—Kramer al­most died dur­ing the mak­ing of the film. She had shot half the in­ter­views and was look­ing for­ward to get­ting footage from Kramer and his part­ner David when he landed in the hos­pi­tal, near death. “I didn’t ex­pect to be shoot­ing so much in the hos­pi­tal,” she says. “So much of the work early on was doc­u­ment­ing friends who had died and the work was at hos­pi­tal. This ac­ti­vated a painful place. I re­ally did not want to be mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary about Larry dy­ing, but you have to go where the ma­te­rial brings you. It was mov­ing to see Larry fight­ing for his life and to see how strong he is in many ways.”

When she started work­ing at GMHC, Kramer was no longer there, but he was still very much a force. He was a rea­son it ex­isted, she says, even though their part­ing wasn’t on great terms. Ev­ery­one rec­og­nized his fire and pas­sion, how­ever, even when they didn’t agree with his tac­tics.

“I think a lot of peo­ple dis­miss Larry as a crazy, an­gry guy; they don’t ap­pre­ci­ate the to­tal­ity of his con­tri­bu­tion,” says Car­lomusto. “Am I say­ing that Larry Kramer is the only history of the AIDS epi­demic? No—there is no one de­fin­i­tive film about the AIDS epi­demic. There were many re­sponses. I per­son­ally wit­nessed what hap­pened in New York City and he was a re­mark­able hero who spear­headed the re­sponses to the gay plague.”

A col­lege pro­fes­sor for more than 20 years, she has no­ticed that while her stu­dents

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