Local filmmaker's Oscar nominated film to be mini-series

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By Joe Moskowitz
And the winner is…”Searching for Sugarman.” New Kingston filmmaker David France came up short in his bid to win an Academy award for his documentary, but “How to Survive a Plague” may have seized an even greater prize, the exposure of a network television mini series.

“How to Survive a Plague” is the story of how two groups fought what was believed to have been an unwinnable battle against AIDS, turning an HIV positive diagnosis from a death sentence into a manageable disorder.

Although an accomplished writer, France had never made a motion picture. But this project, which began as a discussion on a Roxbury street, became the most honored film of 2012 and was on of the five nominated for the Oscar. France told the Catskill Mountain News,

“It was thrilling to be there with Jonathan and my crew. I am proud that the people who fought the war are getting the attention that they long deserved. And astonishingly, six were able to join us in the Dolby Theater.”

The Jonathan he is referring to is television director Jonathan Starch. He and France were married in a civil ceremony conducted by Margaretville Village Mayor Bill Stanton last Christmas Eve.
“How to Survive a Plague” was unscripted. It depicted the war against AIDS by using archival news footage.

Within days after the Academy Awards, The Hollywood Reporter announced that ABC Television is going to air a miniseries based on “How to Survive a Plague.” It will be a dramatization with a script and actors.

France tells the News that, “The miniseries will present the whole epic sweep of the gay community’s battle for survival, and how the modern gay rights movement grew from the ashes of the AIDS’ dread. Taking this to ABC will allow a much larger audience to understand what people can accomplish if they are organized and dedicated”.
The production and airdates have yet to be announced.