Ten years ago, David France made the Oscar™-nominated HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, a powerful documentary about the AIDS crisis, and the response by the actvist community to the inertia around finding a cure. When I spoke with France on March 28, 2022 about his latest documentary, HOW TO SURVIVE A PANDEMIC, I asked him about the comparisons and contrasts he found while making this docmentary about the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His insights were astute, but before we got to that I wanted to know what it was like for him as a filmmaker to watch the footage that he began shooting just a few weeks into the lockdown.
We went on to talk about how the evolving pandemic shaped his approach to making the film; his astonishment at how scientific efficacy produced a vaccine in less than a year; committing to keeping the faith with the scientists who allowed him to film their research; and Operation Warp Speed.
We finished up with his hope that something good comes out of the pandemic; the necessity of journalism; the invisible contortions of filming during a pandemic; and what keeps him going despite delving into such dark subject matter in his films.