director's statement - jay corcoran
In June, 2004, I received a call from an old friend, Raymond. I
have known Raymond for 20 years. We went through the frontlines
of the AIDS war together in the 80’s and 90’s. His boyfriend,
Adrian, who died of AIDS in 1991, was one of my dearest friends.
We were not in as much contact over the last few years. He met
a guy, there were rumors about crystal meth, Raymond became hard
to track down. He kept changing jobs and apartments. Before that
June telephone call, I hadn’t heard from him in over a year.
He called to tell me he was in the hospital, nearly dead from a
staph infection in his knee, which just missed his heart and nearly
damaged his lungs. The infection was from “slamming”
or shooting crystal. When I hung up from Raymond, I felt I was caught
in a time warp, pre-protease, an HIV+ friend, emaciated, hooked
up to an IV drip, calling from the hospital. I called Raymond back,
“Can I bring my camera and interview you?” He said,
“ok”. Two years later, we have ROCK BOTTOM.
Long after the international media spotlight dimmed on Bosnia,
Jean Luc Godard, in his poetic film “Notre Musique”,
shot in Sarajevo five years after the war, had his protagonist tell
a roomful of local film students, “use the light (of film)
to shine on our night.” Crystal meth is the gay community’s
night. But behind crystal meth abuse, is our sexuality, HIV, depression,
shame and other attitudes, conditions and behaviors that many gay
men may struggle with, in their darkest night, often alone.
ROCK BOTTOM is meant to shine a light on some of those dark, destructive
attitudes and behaviors many gay men would never want to admit,
let alone bring into the light. I know that one movie cannot change
the world, let alone change behaviors, but it can bring about awareness.
Without awareness there can be no action. Without actions, we may
never change and stay imprisoned in our self-imposed darkness.
When I can’t articulate or understand my terror and rage,
I grab for my camera. It gives me a way of coping with tragedy,
AIDS, terror, war. Bearing witness is important to me, yet it also
distances me from the event. With a camera, I can detach in a clinical
way, I become only interested in capturing the images, the scene,
the words spoken in front of the camera. In my own time, weeks,
months later, reading and re-reading the transcripts and finally
in the edit room, I can deal and try to make sense of the horror.
My films, LIFE AND DEATH ON THE A-LIST, UNDETECTABLE, NEW YORK
DIARY, and now ROCK BOTTOM - GAY MEN & METH, all have one objective,
to provide a snapshot of a certain population in a certain situation
in the most truthful way possible. If someone wants to know what
gay men experienced in New York City in the late 80’s, LIFE
AND DEATH ON THE A-LIST will provide a riveting, uncomfortable glimpse
of actor/model, Tom McBride, a man that relied on his extraordinary
good looks, numerous sexual conquests as validation for his life.
Facing his imminent death, he muses on men, career and the perfect
love that has always eluded him -- but most important, he must face
the difficult and terrifying question, what his life has meant.
UNDETECTABLE looks to the changing face of the AIDS epidemic,
posing difficult questions about the readiness of both the AIDS
support community and the unaffected larger world to contend with
the changing demographics of the disease. New York Diary provides
a glimpse into how some of us turned one of the most tragic events
in our country’s history into a gaudy Disney-esque nationalistic
These are uncomfortable truths that many people find difficult
to watch, let alone acknowledge, but is the heart of my films and
Wringinghands Productions: To create honest, intimate cinematic
examinations of the human story amidst the sweeping events of our