Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. (Gay USA) created this indie masterpiece in 1985, which was the first feature-length drama about AIDS. When 25 year-old gay yuppie David (David Schachter) volunteers to be a "buddy" to an AIDS patient, the gay community center assigns him to Robert (Geoff Edholm), a 32 year-old politically impassioned gay California gardener abandoned by his friends and lovers. Revolving around the confines of Robert's Manhattan hospital room, Bressan skillfully unfolds this devastating two-hander (the rest of the cast is only heard offscreen). As David gazes out at the piers and rooftops of Manhattan, we hear his deftly scripted diary entries in voiceover. And as David is changed by knowing Robert, so, too, are we. In the simplicity of the story and the elegance of its unfolding, Buddies achieves a rare perfection. It's a timeless portrayal of an entire era in gay history.
Buddies has long been unavailable, and Frameline is proud to present the new 2K digital restoration created by Vinegar Syndrome. Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, presented the film's original world premiere on September 12th, 1985 at the Castro Theatre as a benefit for the Shanti Project, with Bressan and his cast in attendance. Five days later, on September 17th 1985, President Ronald Reagan said the word "AIDS" in public for the first time. Sadly, Bressan and actor Geoff Edholm both died of AIDS, in 1987 and 1989 respectively.
Buddies was scripted in San Francisco in five days with input from friends with AIDS. It was shot independently in nine days in New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco with a budget of approximately $27,000. Bressan said "For me there is a real moral issue in going around and raising several hundred thousand dollars to make a movie about the pain and suffering and lives of people with AIDS who can't make rent and are living on food stamps. I really felt I'd better make Buddies small, low budget, and powerful... I did not want to spend a year or two doing an AIDS movie which should be made now."
Download your own digital copy or license a DVD for Educational or Community Exhibition.
We're excited to keep you in the loop on all things Frameline (with no spam - ever!)