David Weissman to Visit PSU Film



Award-winning filmmaker, historian, activist, and teacher David Weissman will visit classes and present his work at the School of Theater and Film February 17-19. His highly acclaimed documentaries The Cockettes (2002) and We Were Here (2011) explore San Francisco’s unique history as a haven for hippie counterculture and queer liberation, as well as the city’s response to the AIDS epidemic.

Weissman’s work maintains that media may preserve the stories of marginalized communities via pubic documents, including films, videos, and audio histories that uncover the roots of communities often bound by resistance or a self-conceived outsiderness.  In addition to his film work, David is a committed activist whose latest piece, Conversations With Gay Elders, focuses on men whose gay lives long preceded Stonewall and the Gay Liberation generation. Inescapably, these men are also survivors of the AIDS era, thus, creating a repository of passing history that also functions as a vehicle for facilitating intergenerational dialogue and understanding.

David was the first recipient of the Sundance Institute’s Mark Silverman Fellowship for New Producers and in 1992 was the recipient of the San Francisco Foundation’s James T. Phelan Art Awards in Film. His films have screened at Sundance, Berlin, and Telluride and been broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens. He is also the co-founder and co-programmer of QDoc, the Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival. This visit is made possible by generous funding from the School of Theater+Film, the PSU Speaker’s Board, and the School of Art+Design. Free tickets to all events are available from the PSU Box Office beginning January 15, 2016. Tickets are also available day off at the door.

Wednesday, February 17

6:00-6:45 PM    SMSU Ballroom    Reception with David Weissman

Open to PSU students and short works’ screening ticket holders.

7:00-9:00 PM SMSU Ballroom       David Weissman’s Eclectic, Sublime and Outrageous Short Works!

Drag queen rampages, mini-musicals, HIV prevention spots, ambivalent revolutionaries! David will screen his films and talk about his journey as a queer filmmaker and activist during San Francisco’s glorious LGBTQ+ past.

Thursday, February 18

6:00-8:00 PM  LH 75, Recital Hall We Were Here followed by a Q&A with David Weissman.

Weissman will screen his Emmy and Independent Spirit Award nominated documentary. Named one of the top ten films of the year by film critics Stephen Holden and Kenneth Turan, We Were Here (2011) reflects back on the arrival and impact of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco’s gay communities in a work of public memory that queer film scholar Amy Taubin describes as “simply the most compelling history of the major tragedy and epic struggle of our time.”

“WE WERE HERE revisits the voices of a lost generation, and is a film that shook this young gay reviewer to the core, leaving a strengthened sense of historical rootedness and pride in my community that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”   Jake Weinraub, TheWrap.com

“It’s impossible for a single film to capture the devastation wrought by AIDS, or the heroism with which many in the LGBT community responded to it. But director David Weissman’s documentary is such a powerful achievement because he just about does it.”   Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly

Friday, February 19

11:00 AM-1:45 PM    LH 331  Double feature of The Cockettes and Tricia’s Wedding, followed by a Q&A with David Weissman.

The Cockettes received the LA Film Critics’ Award for Best Documentary for its entertaining telling of the history of women, gay men, and literal baby hippies who celebrated their gender non-conforming drag personas with tons of glitter and DIY savor faire in a series of legendary midnight musicals at the Palace Theater in North Beach, San Francisco. With titles like “Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma,” these all singing, all dancing extravaganzas featured elaborate costumes, rebellious sexuality, and exuberant chaos that captures the queer spirit of gay San Francisco in the 1970s.

In Tricia’s Wedding, the world-famous Cockettes enact Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Edward Cox on June 11, 1971. Hurtme O. Hurtme, television correspondent, covers the wedding and interviews celebrities in attendance such as Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Jacqueline Onassis, Queen Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Taylor. Coretta King sings. During the reception, Eartha Kitt puts LSD in the punch. All hell breaks loose. Open to PSU students, priority seating given to film majors and minors.