Director: Jenny Mackenzie; co-directors – Jared Ruga, Amanda Stoddard
Producers: Jenny Mackenzie, Amanda Stoddard
Featuring: Dr. Kristen Ries, Maggie Snyder
U.S., 2018, 70 min., English with Hebrew subtitles
Sundance Film Festival 2018
BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival 2018
Dr. Kristen Ries, an infectious disease specialist, arrived in Salt Lake City on 5 June, 1981. That day, the Centers for Disease Control published a report on a nameless illness, later to be termed AIDS. Ries soon comes across a first patient suffering from that mysterious disease; the conservative city, known primarily for its large Mormon population, has no practitioners willing to attend to this patient and to the many that would follow. Ries and Maggie Snyder, her eventual professional and life partner, become the only doctors in the State of Utah willing to attend to the ever-growing number of HIV/AIDS patients. Having been in danger of almost certain death during the first few years of the epidemic, these patients had to keep their condition a secret, or else risk being ostracized from their families, work places, and religious communities.
Many films about the AIDS epidemic focus on events that took place in large cities, such as New York or San Francisco; Silent Heroes tells the story of two women who helped more than a thousand people in one of the most conservative areas in the United States.
This important, touching documentary features archive material alongside interviews with patients who survived the epidemic, and of course, with the two captivating heroines. Be prepared for an emotional experience.