Join us for a special one-time screening of two films relating to LGBTQ life in the 1980s. The films will be screened on November 30, 2023, in recognition of World AIDS Day the next day. The films tell stories of people dealing with situations that were, at that time, not well-understood and not well-accepted. All ticket proceeds will be donated to the Covenant House, Inc., of Charleston to support their mission. We welcome attendees to stay for a short discussion after the screening with experts in HIV and AIDS in West Virginia.


7:00pmCommunication from Weber (1988, 14m) – This award-winning cult short film will be shown publicly for the first time since the WVIFF held a retrospective of director Bob Gates soon after his death in 2013. Communication from Weber tells the story of Sabina (Albert David Weber), a self-described “radical, full-time third-sex-role transgender person,” according to a 1998 article covering Gates’s films. The film was as ahead of its time as its subject, who died in 1981. Communications got positive reviews and mentions in the L.A. Times and Village Voice. This is a rarely-seen West Virginia cult film that is not to be missed.

7:15pmBuddies (1985, 81m) – The first film ever made about the AIDS crisis was made for under $30,000, by a filmmaker most known for making pornography. But what the film lacks in flash and star power, it makes up for in writing, emotion, and a yearning to be heard and seen that comes through in the film. Buddies was made at a time when the crisis was being severely felt in LGBTQ communities in large cities, but largely ignored by mainstream press and policymakers. The film was written, filmed, and produced during a time when President Reagan had never even mentioned AIDS; it was released just three days after his first public utterance about the disease.