The Battle of amfAR
The Battle of amfAR
The Battle of amfAR
Item#: BAM-814
Choose License:  Format: 

Running Time: 40 minutes
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
Grades 10 - Adult
A film by Academy Award-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman




Recommended...a dramatic telling of the emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic and the collaboration of activists, celebrities, and scientists to combat the virus in a hostile environment of apathy, hysteria, and ignorance. It can be easy to forget how many people must be involved with finding the solutions to health crises. The Battle of amfAR reminds us of the collaborations necessary to make large social changes and the importance of funding scientific research.”
- Educational Media Reviews Online

"An eye-opening addition to health or history studies...effectively demonstrating the enormous need for research and the political, monetary, and scientific obstacles that researchers such as Dr. Mathilde Krim faced.”
– School Library Journal

"The Battle of amfAR skillfully traces the unlikely alliance of science, celebrity, and activism in the fight to confront stigma and government indifference in the ongoing quest for a cure."
–Steven Epstein, Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University, author of Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge

"The film poignantly and lucidly portrays an important chapter in the historical intersection of medicine and politics."
–Estelle Freedman, Professor of Women's History and Feminist Studies, Stanford University

"Pays tribute to those who did recognize a crisis, who did fight, who did think the victims mattered and who ultimately helped us understand that its impact spread far beyond the three original groups. Because the fight isn’t over, this isn’t a story of victory. It is a story of triumph, and an essential reminder of how we need to define it."
– New York Daily News

"A historical survey, with statistics, about the rise of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, the public's fearful response and the creation of life-sustaining drugs in the mid-1990s. The last part is crucial because of amfAR's direct involvement in that breakthrough research thanks to the grants it awards, and the documentary does a nice job of pausing at least in that moment to explain the science of such an important achievement."
–Hollywood Reporter


Official Selection
Sundance Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
Frameline Film Festival




All prices include DVD and PPR

• K-12 Schools, Public Libraries & Community Groups: $79
• Colleges, Government, Businesses: $175
• Colleges, Government, Businesses (with DSL): $475

The Battle of amfAR presents the little-known story of how in the early days of the AIDS pandemic an unlikely alliance between a celebrity and a scientist helped changed the public perception of the disease and led to the search for a cure.

Hollywood superstar Elizabeth Taylor and Sloan-Kettering research scientist Dr. Mathilde Krim joined forces to create greater AIDS awareness, fight government indifference and public stigma, and establish amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research -- the first national organization dedicated to mobilizing the scientific community in the fight against AIDS and for a cure.

Concerned about a growing epidemic, Dr. Kim recruited Taylor to leverage her celebrity status to bring media attention to the disease and push for groundbreaking legislation. Taylor delivered powerful testimony before Congress and convinced President Reagan for the first time to publicly acknowledge the existence of HIV/AIDS as a worldwide pandemic. Dr. Krim focused on energizing the scientific community through her professional, political and social connections.

The Battle of amfAR reconstructs the history of the early years of the AIDS crisis through the twin lenses of early medical concern and the dedicated activism of these two powerful women. The film also explains some of the challenging science of the disease and the important breakthroughs in AIDS research.

The amFAR foundation’s support for early stage research has altered the course of the epidemic and brought the world closer to finding a cure. In 1996, research partially funded by amfAR led to lifesaving new drugs that made HIV/AIDS treatable, a diagnosis that no longer guaranteed a death sentence.

While the film traces the history of the search for an AIDS cure and offers hope, it also provides a dramatic reminder that the epidemic is far from over.


-Dr. Nathanial Landau, microbiologist, New York University
-Dr. Jeffrey Laurence, AIDS researcher, Weill Cornell Medical College
-Dr. Mario Stevenson, Miami Center for AIDS Research
-Phill Wilson, Founder and CEO, Black AIDS Institute
-Kenneth Cole, amfAR Chairman
-Richard Berkowitz, prominent AIDS activist
-Aileen Getty, philanthropist, Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter-in-law
-Regan Hofmann, journalist

More Films on HIV/AIDS