a new film imagines a world where AIDS never happened
In FATHERS, we see a world where Robert Mapplehorpe and Keith Haring survived, and we have a gay president.
Many of us are too young to remember the height of the devastating AIDS crisis that claimed the lives of millions of people across the world. Artist and activist Leo Herrera is too, but has spent the last year thinking about what it would be like if the epidemic had never happened at all. His new sci-fi documentary FATHERS: Sex & Politics if AIDS Never Happened renders this alternate universe through vintage and live-action footage, staged news reports, digital wizardry, and vivid imagination. "Would we have a gay President?" he asks in the fundraising campaign for the film. "What if Mapplethorpe got into a Twitter feud with a Kardashian? What would David Wojnarowicz do about the gay executions in the Middle East?"
Herrera uses age-progression, a forensic technique used by law enforcement to find missing children, to age iconic portraits of gay legends like Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Vito Russo, and Sylvester. Watching them morph into happy seniors doesn't just feed into our thirst for nostalgia but encourages people to come together to fight injustices that still threaten lives today.
"FATHERS is a fever dream of sex, music, fashion and politics, where Freddy Mercury, Halston, and Mapplethorpe roam the earth again and our President is gay," he tells i-D. "To honour this lost generation, we will collaborate with legendary and young queer artists to not just bring back the dead, but also showcase what the next generation of queer art will be. It's a collision of past and future, a weapon against the current political tide, reminding us of the strength and power of those that sacrificed everything for us to be alive today."
Watch the trailer for FATHERS below and donate to the campaign via IndieGogo.
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Vimeo