The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

7 Episodes

For decades, the queer experience on-screen was defined by invisibility and marginalization. The trailblazing works of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have been instrumental in changing that. Since the 1970s, when he contributed to the Mariposa Collective’s WORD IS OUT—a landmark documentary that shattered the public silence around LGBTQ lives in America—Epstein has been telling powerful stories that center the gay experience. In the late eighties, he teamed up with Friedman to form the production company Telling Pictures, and the pair’s subsequent triumphs include an Academy Award–winning AIDS documentary (COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT), a groundbreaking revisionist history of Hollywood (THE CELLULOID CLOSET), and a narrative retelling of Allen Ginsberg’s 1957 obscenity trial (HOWL). Urgent, stirring, and deeply humane, these films represent a major turning point in the cultural conversation surrounding LGBTQ issues and acceptance.

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The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
  • Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives

    Episode 1

    Directed by Mariposa Film Group • 1977 • United States

    More than forty years ago, in 1978, WORD IS OUT: STORIES OF SOME OF OUR LIVES startled audiences across the country when it appeared in movie theaters and on television. The first feature-length documentary about queer identity made by gay f...

  • The Times of Harvey Milk

    Episode 2

    Directed by Robert Epstein • 1984 • United States

    A true twentieth-century trailblazer, Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised peop...

  • The AIDS Show

    Episode 3

    Directed by Peter Adair and Rob Epstein • 1986 • United States

    One of the most important documents of the AIDS epidemic, THE AIDS (Artists Involved with Death and Survival) SHOW deals with its impact on the community most affected by the disease: gay men. This unique work, one of the first films...

  • Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt

    Episode 4

    Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman • 1989 • United States

    A tremendous, handmade monument to lives lost to AIDS, the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt demonstrated that grief and activism together could forge a powerful symbol of resilience. Winner of the Academy Award for best documen...

  • Where Are We? Our Trip Through America

    Episode 5

    Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman • 1992 • United States

    Academy Award–winning documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman take a journey through unfamiliar lands—in their own country. Having spent most of their lives on one coast or the other, they wondered what they coul...

  • Paragraph 175

    Episode 6

    Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman • 2000 • United States, United Kingdom

    The Nazi persecution of homosexuals may be one of the least-told stories of the Third Reich. Directed by Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, PARAGRAPH 175 fills a crucial gap in the historical record,...

  • Howl

    Episode 7

    Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman • 2010 • United States
    Starring James Franco, Jon Hamm, David Strathairn

    Writer-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman bring to life the world of the young Allen Ginsberg—poet, counterculture adventurer, and chronicler of the Beat generation—in a ...