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Trailer: We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco

Imagine if your friends and neighbors began dying, one by one, of a mysterious and incurable disease. What would you do? How might your community react? Would fear or compassion triumph?

When AIDS began ravaging San Francisco’s gay community in the 1980s, it was referred to as “gay cancer” or “the gay plague.” The epidemic raised profound personal and community issues and unleashed broad political and social upheaval. Despite the fear and turmoil, many Bay Area residents responded tirelessly in compassionate and creative ways; their response became known as “The San Francisco Model.”

We Were Here, a feature-length California Documentary Project film, takes a long and reflective look back at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the Bay Area illuminating what happened in those years via intensely personal first-hand accounts from people who lived through it while also exploring the larger themes of the era: the impact on the sexual revolution, the emotional toll, questions of civil rights, and the unique new relationship that was forged between the lesbian and gay male communities.

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