Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

HOUSE ON FIRE: BLACK AMERICA RESPONDS TO AIDS

Year: 1999
Country: United States
Run Time: 60 minutes

Malingering debates over whether AIDS is a "gay disease" or not mean nothing to the African-American community, in which the epidemic is now widespread. AIDS and the HIV virus piggybacked insidiously onto traditional scourges of the impoverished and ghetto bound ? intravenous drug use, prison-thug life, unprotected and underaged sex ? and thus found avenues into both the oft-ignored black-gay subculture, and into the heterosexual majority once considered out of harm's way. In numerical terms, black America in general accounts for 60 per cent of those carrying what The Artist once called "the big disease with the little name." Gathering interviews and messages from NY, DC, NC, and Atlanta, this NAACP-produced documentary sounds the alarm. But it's not just a panic-stricken public service announcement designed to Scare You Celibate. Acknowledging the real-world concerns of abstinence, safe sex, homophobia, drug "cocktails," and societal support systems, filmmaker Mustapha Khan (not coincidentally, a onetime faith-healer) delivers an epistle of hope, unity, and comfort to the afflicted, their families, and the survivors. HOUSE ON FIRE concludes with a vow that, yes, once again, We Shall Overcome.

Director
Mustapha Khan

Producer
Donna Dewey, Carol Pasternak.

Cinematography
Marc Kroll.

Editing
Dena Mermelstein.

Principal Cast
Julian Bond, Rep. Maxine Waters, Kweisi Mfume, Maya Angelou, Dr. Patrick Allen, Dr. David Satcher.

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