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We Were Here (2011)

Ed Wolf , Paul Boneberg , David Weissman  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ed Wolf, Paul Boneberg, Daniel Goldstein
  • Directors: David Weissman
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006QVRVW2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,583 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Of all the cinematic explorations of the AIDS crisis, not one is more heartbreaking and inspiring than WE WERE HERE… Throughout WE WERE HERE there is not a hint of mawkishness, self-pity or self-congratulation. The humility, wisdom and cumulative sorrow expressed lend the film a glow of spirituality and infuse it with grace. --The New York Times

It s impossible for a single film to capture the devastation wrought by AIDS, or the heroism with which many in the LGBT community responded to it. But director David Weissman s documentary is such a powerful achievement because he just about does it. --LA Weekly

WE WERE HERE revisits the voices of a lost generation, and is a film that shook this young gay reviewer to the core, leaving a strengthened sense of historical rootedness and pride in my community that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Product Description

Product Description

David Weissman s critically-acclaimed 2012 Independent Spirit Award nominee, WE WERE HERE is the first documentary to take a deep and reflective look back at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco. It explores how the City s inhabitants were affected by, and how they responded to, that calamitous epidemic. Though a San Francisco-based story, WE WERE HERE extends beyond San Francisco and beyond AIDS itself. It speaks to our capacity as individuals to rise to the occasion, and to the incredible power of a community coming together with love, compassion, and determination.

Offering an intensely personal account of five individuals whose lives were forever transformed by the tragedy of AIDS, WE WERE HERE offers a hauntingly beautiful tribute to an era of tremendous suffering, loss and resilience.

Special Features

  • Filmmaker Interview
  • HIV PSAs from 1990s
  • Theatrical Trailer

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far Too Painful For Me To Watch November 15, 2012
By Mark
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I don't know what to say about this film because I had to turn it off after 30 minutes. Too many memories from a time I thought I had forgotten. It is a work of love, I could see that. But it is a funeral and eulogy also. AIDS killed my friends and my patients and it made me old when I was still young and I guess, after all these years, I'm not strong enough to relive it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
It's hard not to be affected by David Weissman's stirring documentary about the early days of AIDS in San Francisco "We Were Here." While I think some viewers were expecting a comprehensive overview of the AIDS crisis, I feel that what Weissman has accomplished is far more relevant and provocative. This is not history or news exactly (although both feature prominently), but eyewitness accounts by those on the front lines at a momentous time in our national consciousness. Not given a choice, these were pioneers in a new world. There was no precedent for what was happening, and little initial support, but everyone had to navigate a new life path with this tumultuous and deadly development.

"We Were Here" tells the story of five individuals who experienced the horrors first hand. There is a nurse who dedicated her life to her patients and was a trailblazer in the arena of research, a flower seller who gives accounts of the visible devastation, an outcast who became an essential caregiver, an artist who suffered great personal loss, and an individual that would become a leading advocate in political and social forums. While it is an interesting and diverse cross section, make no mistake--they are all telling the same story. And as horrifying and as unpleasant as it is, it is also a tale of perseverance, support, and ultimately hope. Ordinary citizens had the chance to be heroes, even in the smallest of ways, and the film never forgets these individual contributions as huge milestones in an ongoing epidemic.

The film, itself, is solidly constructed. The five interviewees alternate within the presentation and the use of archival footage, photographs, and news stories help define the climate of a city in turmoil.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly important and moving documentary March 27, 2012
I'm going to start by being honest and saying that David Weissman is a friend of mine. I'll try not to let that bias my views too much ;-)

I was privileged to attend an early screening of 'We Were Here' in San Francisco. I don't think there was a dry eye in the audience by the end of the film. Following a few of those who were at the heart of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, the documentary captures the times - the devastating hardship and loss, the buoyant compassion and community. The stories that come from these interviews span decades and tells of neighbors, friends, families that loved, died and fought hard together. It's a rare thing that a documentary can make you weep in both sadness and joy.

As a gay man, I find the legacy of these stories to be vital for LGBT history and in honoring the many, far too many, who have been lost to AIDS. 'We Were Here' puts faces and real, hard facts to the many abstractions that can exist in what we often construe as history. I cannot more highly recommend this film - we have all been affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, whether you know it or not, and you should watch this film to more fully understand how.

Thank you everybody who worked on this film.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moved to tears... March 27, 2012
This is a remarkable piece of work. It is a moving and tragic tale, sensitively brought to the screen with a poignancy and delicacy fitting to the subject matter and to the individuals and community that it represents. Ultimately, this means the human community that we all are a part of. It is a lovely tribute to those that were there, both those living still, and to those who did not survive this epidemic. It's a very warm and human story and an important chapter in our history; a history that could too easily have been forgotten or dismissed. It will move your heart...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a memorable film with so much heart and soul June 22, 2012
"We Were Here" is a powerful, heart wrenching documentary about a time in San Francisco when AIDS was initially known as the "gay cancer." Up until 1981 or so, the LGBTQ community in San Francisco had enjoyed a real measure of dignity and freedom they were cruelly denied in most other parts of the country. Unfortunately, that was to change. At the very beginning of the health crisis, gay men suddenly, inexplicably and mysteriously began getting seriously ill--and often dying as soon as only a few days later. This story clearly deserves to be told; and the filmmakers treated this project as a labor of love. We get thoughtful interviews with five survivors of the health crisis that claimed the lives of so many innocent and often young human beings. The interview footage is used along with archival footage of news reports and sick patients talking with their doctors; and the still photographs are very good as well.

The interviews highlight the stories of four men and one woman who had to go through what no one should have to go through, especially at such a young age. Their stories are so poignant I cried--and I never cry! We meet a florist who was horrified to see people he knew "dropping like flies;" and we hear him talk about how he donated flowers at no charge so that countless people could have a decent funeral and burial service--people who had been rejected by their biological families could at least die with dignity at their funerals. Another man discusses how he lost more than one lover to AIDS; he becomes quite emotional during the interview and I felt so badly for him. He's a tough survivor living with HIV himself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Strength, compassion and resilience
Not at all what I expected —this, in fact, is a story of strength, empathy, hard won wisdom and resilience as five interviewees recount their experience and response to the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by lily t.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Done Documentary
I had been looking for this DVD for sometime, and was very satisfied with my purchase, and would consider buying another title from the company
Published 7 months ago by Steven Alvarez
4.0 out of 5 stars Survivors of AIDS Epidemic Reminisce about the era
This movie is a living history piece where the AIDS epidemic as told by a number of the survivors who were in the eye of the storm here in San Francisco. Read more
Published 7 months ago by missforties
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT DOCUMENTARY
A very special documentary about the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, seen through the experiences of five diverse and very involved individuals. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Anthony McGill
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent documentary of the begining of the AIDS crisis in San...
Excellent documentary depicting the sudden wave of HIV/AIDS in San Francisco during the 70's. It is very informative and tells several individuals' story with dignity! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Laura Buenrostro
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary
If you have an interest in the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the beginning, this is a great way to explore and learn about the beginning and how individuals reacted to the complications... Read more
Published 10 months ago by WSBooth
5.0 out of 5 stars soooooo sad
a very sad look at an historic look at a piece of american history it should be seen at taught to those who were not there. Read more
Published 10 months ago by reel2reel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Very good movie, very informative and it provides history of the gay community both good and bad. It's a good documentary
Published 11 months ago by Hugo sanchez
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Eye-Opening
I have a nephew who died of AIDS in 1992. He, like many others in the preceding decade, selflessly gave of himself to further medical science, all the while suffering the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Carol A. Hardbarger
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking
I was a kid at the time of this epidemic, it was my in parent's generation that this heartwrenching scenario took place. Read more
Published 13 months ago by kate
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