The Names Project Foundation is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the AIDS quilt. Today, HIV and AIDS affect 34 million people around the world but you might never know that from the attitudes many have adopted toward the disease. With modern treatments making it possible for people to live longer lives with the disease, it is almost as if people no longer fear AIDS. And when you look back at the struggle that those who first lived, and died, with AIDS, as Nadine Licostie’s documentary, THE LAST ONE, does, it is impossible not to feel like all of this supposed progress has added years to peoples’ lives but has regressed our collective thinking on the subject at the same time.
The AIDS quilt was born in San Francisco in 1985 when famed activist, Cleve Jones, called on people gathered to commemorate fallen political leader, Harvey Milk, to acknowledge the people they knew who had died of AIDS at the same time. It became painfully clear that everyone knew at least one person and, when the government was not willing to acknowledge that there was even a problem or that this rapidly spreading epidemic required their intervention, action was required to not allow all those who had died to have done so in vain.
Each panel in the quilt is meant to honour someone who has died of AIDS but together, when the panels stretch on for miles, these individual tributes become a powerful statement about how many people have died needlessly, as well as a bold reminder that people are still dying, no matter how safe they feel today. THE LAST ONE is an important film that is, in its own way, another patch in the quilt, as it too serves as a powerful homage to those who have past.
05.25, 12:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox