Powerful new documentary Fire in the Blood has its London premier on Tuesday 26th June followed by a Q&A with the director and the Guardian’s Ben Goldacre. Read on for a review and for information on where to get tickets.
The makers have given us two tickets for the screening to give away. To enter the competition simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “I want Fire in the Blood tickets!”, or tweet “@stopaids @fitbmovie I want free tickets please!” by this Friday at noon, when we’ll pick a winner at random.
Fire in the Blood Review:
Documentary film was invented to make movies like this. Telling a story of deep injustice and tragedy perpetuated by a powerful few being overcome by the determination and bravery of normal citizens turned leaders, backed by a global movement of ordinary people; Fire in the Blood delivers the emotion its title implies.
The stark words of veteran South African AIDS treatment activist, Zachie Ahmed set the tone: “The only reason we are dying is because we are poor.” From country to country across Africa, Asia and Latin America the story at the turn of the century was the same. AIDS was an epidemic of unprecedented proportions devastating communities, with doctors left powerless to help.
But the power to help did exist. ARVs or anti-retrovirals had been effectively saving the lives of people living with HIV since 1996. But they were not available to the millions in desperate need across the developing world – priced too high by pharma companies for the vast majority of the world’s population.
These huge corporations set their prices to maximise profits and, with the backing of western governments, vigorously fought any threats to the patents which gave them their monopolistic control of the market. Fire in the Blood tells the story of how this powerful corporate machine was fought in order to deliver lifesaving generic versions of HIV drugs to the millions on waiting lists across the developing world.
Fire in the Blood introduces the people who led the revolt: Africans living with HIV, India chemists, HIV doctors and NGO activists.
As this battle for access to medicines raged, 10 million people died. Ten million people who could have survived if big pharma did not stretch every sinew to protect its profits at the expensive the lives of the world’s poor.
It is a tragic but inspirational story of the power of the AIDS movement. It puts in context the battles we are fighting today on access to medicines and for the money institutions like the Global Fund needed to keep scaling up the response. But most importantly it reminds us that the fight for human rights and equitable health care is far from won.
Tickets are available for its London premier on Tuesday 26th June at the Soho Curzon. Take a friend and remind yourself why film was invented, and why the fight for universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care is still one of the most important global movements of our time.