“Behind-the-Scenes: The Making of UPSTAIRS INFERNO”
As featured in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Advocate Magazine and CNN, the award-winning documentary, UPSTAIRS INFERNO, chronicles one of the deadliest attacks on the LGBT community.
For over 40 years, it was considered the “Largest Gay Mass Murder in U.S. History”: On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the Up Stairs Lounge, ultimately killing 32 people. With interviews from survivors, family/friends of victims and witnesses, UPSTAIRS INFERNO vividly examines this oft-forgotten story and captures the power of unconditional love and forgiveness in the face of tragedy.
This riveting documentary is brought to you by award winning director, Robert L. Camina and Executive Producers behind “Back on Board: Greg Louganis”, “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” and “Southern Baptist Sissies”.
It’s the story of the Up Stairs Lounge Arson as you’ve never seen or heard it before. This critically acclaimed documentary takes audiences to an unforgettable emotional space unparalleled by the written word alone.
On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the Up Stairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. The fire ultimately killed nearly three dozen people and severely injured countless others. Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the tragedy. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified. One-third of the New Orleans chapter of the Metropolitan Community Church were killed in the blaze, including two clergy. The primary suspect was never charged with the crime. The tragedy did not stop at the loss of lives. There were also the delayed injuries: lost jobs, fear, public ridicule and severed families. The devastation was compounded by the homophobic reactions and utter lack of concern by the general public, government and religious leaders. The fire permanently altered lives and was the root of many lifelong struggles.
With unique access (EXCLUSIVE on-camera interviews from survivors, witnesses and friends/families of victims) and a fresh perspective (incorporating long lost artifacts, newsreel footage and photographs that haven’t been seen in decades), UPSTAIRS INFERNO is considered the most COMPREHENSIVE, COMPASSIONATE and AUTHORITATIVE film about the tragedy and its aftermath.
Narrated by New Orleans own New York Times best-selling author Christopher Rice, UPSTAIRS INFERNO (96 min) is a mesmerizing mix of crime drama and human connections that captures the heartbreaking feelings of unconditional love and overwhelming loss. An unsettling snapshot of what was, until the early hours of June 12, 2016, the deadliest single event to affect the gay community in American history, UPSTAIRS INFERNO gets inside the hearts and minds of a handful of vibrant people who experienced one of the most important and underreported moments in LGBT History.
UPSTAIRS INFERNO was an Official Selection of 40 esteemed film festivals around the world, winning 20 awards, including 12 Jury Awards and 4 Audience Awards. This includes Frameline: the San Francisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which awarded UPSTAIRS INFERNO with the Jury Award: Honorable Mention, citing its “Special Contribution to Queer History”. In addition, UPSTAIRS INFERNO received a prestigious invitation to screen at the Library of Congress in 2017.
Some of the images in UPSTAIRS INFERNO are graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
[Original Release Date: June 24,2015]
UPSTAIRS INFERNO is also available on DVD/ Blu-ray (packed with Bonus Features). Autographed copies available. Buy at www.UpstairsInferno.com
• Named one of the ten BEST BETS for Frameline40. “[UPSTAIRS INFERNO] echoes of Spike Lee’s [Oscar nominated] civil rights film, ‘4 Little Girls’.” -San Francisco Chronicle
• “There are films that you know you need to watch, that it’s important for our soul and growth to bear witness to, but when those films include such sorrow as this, it’s hard to stay focused. With the patience and love dedicated to telling this story, Camina serves as a beacon of light. Only through his eyes could the story of sorrow be mixed with such hope. This film is an example of how we must look past the horrible and be the change we deserve.” -Austin Fusion Magazine
• “UPSTAIRS INFERNO [is] a historical horror made cathartic…What UPSTAIRS INFERNO does so brilliantly is provide not just a history, but also a historical positioning and places human faces on the tragedy…Never has a time and place, particularly a gay time and place, been brought to life so vibrantly.” -MyGayToronto.com
• “[UPSTAIRS INFERNO] excels in its handling of eyewitness and survivor interviews. Only a heartless soul could hold back tears…[This film] is extremely affecting and filled with important lessons of banding together, organizing resistance and never giving up.” -Boy Culture