The HBO documentary The Battle of amfAR wasn’t always known as such, executive producer Kenneth Cole explained during a panel after the screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. “It was originally to be called, The Host,” Cole said, letting the audience on the secret. “We thought it was perfect because the documentary revolved around a series of dinners held at (founding chairman of amfAR) Dr. [Mathilde] Krim’s home. She and her husband are the perfect hosts, if you are ever extended an invitation, you must go,” he urged the audience including the press, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, as well as activists like Harry Belafonte, Irene Getty and Regan Hoffman. “But, also because of the AIDS virus uses the human body as a host.”
Though The Host was a seemingly perfect title, calling the documentary the Battle of amfAR brings awareness to not only the organization but the cause on a global scale, with the help of HBO. The documentary tells the history of the fight on AIDS–which wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for the direction of Dr. Mathilde Krim and Elizabeth Taylor. The two women worked tirelessly to launch the country’s first AIDS research foundation, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Twenty five years after it’s inception, amfAR has raised $340 million in support of AIDS research and continues to educate the public.
After the screening of the documentary (which airs on HBO on World AIDS Day), Cole led an educational discussion with panelists Dr. Krim, Kevin Frost and Regan Hoffman illiciting a call to action to help amfAR open minds. “We can take credit for helping to open the minds of people who were full of prejudices and stupidity,” Dr. Krim said. “Moving forward we can do the same for future generations to cultivate the right attitudes,” the doctor said right before the panel ended and applause erupted.