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1985: Film Screening and Conversation

Saturday, Dec 10, 2022 at 6:30 pm

1985: With actor Cory Michael Smith in person and video introduction by director Yen Tan

For AIDS Awareness month, MoMI presents a screening of Yen Tan’s 1985, followed by a conversation with lead actor Cory Michael Smith and local advocates Jimmy Van Bramer, Sainabou Njai, and Frank Naso about media representation, AIDS activism, and care for those living with HIV/AIDS, moderated by Tiffany Joy Butler, Assistant Curator of Public Programs. 

Dir. Yen Tan. 2018, 85 mins. DCP. With Cory Michael Smith, Aidan Langford, Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung. Shot on black-and-white super 16mm film, 1985 takes a prismatic look at a pivotal moment in American history, exploring themes of empathy, love, and family. Having been gone for three years, closeted advertising executive Adrian (Smith) returns to his Texas hometown for the holidays during the first wave of the AIDS crisis. Burdened with the memory of an unspeakable tragedy in New York City, Adrian looks to reconnect with his preteen brother, Andrew (Langford), while navigating his relationship with religious parents Eileen (Madsen) and Dale (Chiklis). When he reaches out to his estranged childhood friend Carly (Chung), their unresolved issues force Adrian to confront an uncertain future that will significantly alter the lives of those around him. Premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and won the Best Screenwriting Award at Outfest in 2018. Recommended for ages 13+. 

Watch the trailer here. 

About the panelists: 

Cory Michael Smith earned Critics Choice and Gold Derby nominations for his appearance opposite Frances McDormand in the award-winning HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, and is well known for having played ‘The Riddler’ on Fox’s hit series Gotham for five seasons. His film and television credits include Todd Haynes’s Carol and Wonderstruck, Damien Chazelle’s First Man, and Gillian Flynn’s Utopia. He recently was seen in Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane and Peter Hedges’s The Same Storm. He will be seen next year starring in Anna Winger’s Transatlantic for Netflix and in Todd Haynes’s latest film, May December. In 2018, he starred in his first leading role in Yen Tan’s 1985, which he also executive produced. 

Jimmy Van Bramer is a long-time LGBTQ organizer and activist who made history in 2009 when he was elected to the City Council becoming one of the first out LGBTQ elected officials in Queens. Van Bramer came out in 1989 after joining a gay youth group which met at the AIDS Center of Queens County in Rego Park. In 1996, Van Bramer became a reporter for Lesbian and Gay New York (LGNY), now Gay City News (GCN), writing extensively about HIV/AIDS including covering the emergence of protease inhibitors and cocktail therapies which altered the epidemic forever for many. Van Bramer attended ACT UP meetings and participated in several marches and demonstrations including a die-in outside the home of the NY Governor George Pataki. 

Sainabou Njai, originally from Atlanta, Georgia and now based in Brooklyn, is a multi-talented creative who wears many hats as a director, producer, and filmmaker. Sainabou’s work centers community action and the empowerment of the underserved people; with a centered focus on the BIPOC and QPOC communities. Sainabou Njai is also the founder of African Peach Arts Coalition, one of MoMI’s community partners. 

Frank Naso has been a Medical Case Manager at Brooklyn Hospital since 2011. He oversees a program that provides both medical care and high-quality case management services to HIV+ youth and HIV+ families. He is responsible for the care coordination of all HIV pregnant women and for all aspects of assisting and planning, developing, and evaluating the medical, psychosocial and concrete needs of HIV + adolescent and adult clients at The Brooklyn Hospital Center. 

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.