Featured image: Still frame from the film ‘Buddies’
The LGBTQ+ Film Series returns Sun., Dec. 5 with a free screening of ‘Buddies’ followed by a pre-recorded interview with The Bressan Project creator Roe Bressan
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – ArtsQuest’s Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas (FBAC) will feature this year’s third instalment of its LGBTQ+ Film Series at 6 p.m. on Sun., Dec 5. with the 1985 film “Buddies.” A pre-recorded Q&A with writer/director Arthur Bressan Jr.’s sister and creator of The Bressan Project, Roe Bressan, will follow the screening. Tickets are free and can be reserved at steelstacks.org/film or by calling the ArtsQuest Box Office at 610.332.3378.
“I remember seeing ‘Buddies’ when it was released in 1985,” said series co-curator Catherine Ford. “Buddies truly captures the essence of HIV and AIDS experience both from an emotional and historical perspective with moving performances.” Ford, who serves as a Cinema Committee member and ArtsQuest Ambassador, called the film groundbreaking. “We are so fortunate to include ‘Buddies’ in our LGBTQ+ Film Series.”
“Buddies,” written and directed by Arthur J. Bressan Jr., was the first feature-length drama about AIDS. Staring Geoff Edholm and David Schachter, the film begins with 25-year-old David (Schachter) volunteering to be a “buddy” to an AIDS patient Robert (Edholm), a 32-year-old gay activist from California who has been abandoned by his friends and lovers and unfolds entirely within Robert’s Manhattan hospital room. In the simplicity of the story and the elegance of its telling, Bressan and ‘Buddies’ achieve a rare perfection. It’s a timeless portrayal of an entire era in gay history.
“It is not a Hollywood blockbuster, but in its day, ‘Buddies’ was an urgent call to action,” said Roe Bressan.
“Buddies” had its world premiere in September 1985 at San Francisco’s Castro Theater, five days later President Reagan finally mentioned the word “AIDS” publicly for the first time. While the film took less than a month to create, it has had a lasting impact long after Bressan’s passing in the summer of 1987 when he was only 44-years old.
“Artie didn’t know he had AIDS when he made ‘Buddies’ but after watching so many of his friends suffer and die from AIDS, he felt something had to be said-something had to be done. There was little information, no clinics, no support groups and the GMHC was just a fledging organization,” she said. “So, I will ask this audience to look kindly on this film passed it blemishes to see the fury and the anguish and the desperation and the love that fueled it.”
The LGBTQ+Film Series, curated by Catherine Ford, Alessandra Fanelli and Adrianna Gober, aims to explore and uplift a wide and diverse scope of LGBTQ+ issues and stories by highlighting selections from the rich, enduring history of queer cinema. The series will showcase comedies, dramas, documentaries, mainstream and independent as well as international films both new and old, spotlighting queer filmmakers, screenwriters, actors and themes. This year’s LGBTQ+ Film Series has previously featured “Swan Song” and “But I’m a Cheerleader.”
Tickets are free and can be reserved at steelstacks.org/film or by calling the ArtsQuest Box Office at 610.332.3378. The next film in the series will be shown in January, title and full details will be announced soon. ArtsQuest will continue to follow the latest CDC, state and local health and safety guidelines. Visit artsquest.org/safety for more information.
Information provided to TVL by:
ArtsQuest Director of Communications