David (David Schachter), a naive graduate student, has volunteered to work as a ‘buddy’ for people dying of AIDS. Assigned to the intensely political Robert (Geoff Edholm), a lifelong activist whose friends and family have abandoned him following his diagnosis, the two men, each with notably different world views, soon discover common bonds, as David’s inner activist awakens and Robert’s need for emotional release is fulfilled.
The first narrative feature film made about AIDS, acclaimed independent filmmaker Arthur J. Bressan Jr‘s Buddies is an intensely personal study of love, death, and the need for activism during the earliest years of the crisis. Nearly impossible to see following its brief theatrical release and never officially released on home video, Buddies is finally making its home video debut, newly restored from its long lost 16mm negative, courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome, a company that (though usually specializing in straight adult entertainment) puts great care and concern into digitally restoring lost classics.
Structured like a filmed play, Buddies ended up being Bressan’s final film, as he too would fall victim to AIDS barely two years after its completion. One of the pioneers of independent gay cinema in the 1970s and ’80s, working across multiple genres including documentary, narrative, adult and short form filmmaking, Bressan‘s boldness and artistry as a writer-director earned him both acclaim and controversy.
In addition to Buddies, Bressan‘s best known films include Abuse (hailed by Rex Reed as “a film of astonishing power and emotional impact”); the ambitious 1977 documentary Gay U.S.A. which showcased LGBT Pride celebrations across the country during the time of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade; and Passing Strangers, his lyrical hardcore coming out drama which earned him the Best Director Prize at the 1974 San Francisco Erotic Film Festival. Other films include: Forbidden Letters (1979), Family Affair (1982), Thank You, Mr. President (1983), Pleasure Beach (1984), Juice (1984) and Daddy Dearest (1984).
Available in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, Buddies is coming at the end of July. The special features include interviews, an original trailer, production photos and numerous articles. Don’t miss this landmark film or the story behind it. Click here to pre-order your copy.