Directed by Robert L. Camina
USA, 2015, 96 mins
EXPECTED TO ATTEND: Director Robert Camina
AWARDS: North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (Jury Award: Best Men's Documentary & Audience Award: Best Men's Feature), Long Beach QFilm Festival (Jury Award: Best Documentary Feature, Cinema Diverse Palm Springs (Festival Favorite), N. Louisiana Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Paragon Award & Audience Award Favorite Documentary), Out on Film (Festival Favorite), Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (Jury Award Best Documentary), Pride Film Festival (Jury Award Feature Film), Film Out San Diego (Jury & Audience Award Best Doc & Freedom Award), Frameline (Jury Award Honorable Mention: Outstanding Documentary)
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Including festivals listed above, Upstairs Inferno has screened at 25+ festivals. Click here for a full list.
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. For 43 years, it was the deadliest single event to affect the gay community in U.S. history. 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.
Featuring interviews from survivors, witnesses and friends/families of victims, UPSTAIRS INFERNO is the most comprehensive and authoritative film about the fire and its aftermath. However, UPSTAIRS INFERNO isn't simply a stagnant exposition of facts. UPSTAIRS INFERNO brings humanity to the headlines by shining a light on the very painful effect the tragedy had on the people left behind.
The film is narrated by famed New Orleanian and New York Times best selling author, Christopher Rice. Directed by Robert L. Camina.
About The Director
Robert Camina's previous film, RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE is a documentary about the controversial 2009 police raid of a Fort Worth, Texas, gay bar that sparked an unprecedented outcry by the gay community leading to historic change. The film, narrated by TV icon Meredith Baxter, opened to rave reviews and a media frenzy in March 2012. Since the premiere, the film screened at dozens of film festivals and garnered a number of awards, including 5 “Best” film awards. Camina is very proud that the film is helping to create change. The film is still being used to turn an unfortunate event into far-reaching teachable opportunities. RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE is strengthening grassroots organizations, engaging local communities and advancing social change. Camina looks to use UPSTAIRS INFERNO in a similar way.
A highlight of Camina's career was receiving an invitation to the White House for President Obama's 2012 LGBT Pride Month Reception and greeting the President. Other highlights include meeting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Valerie Jarrett (Senior Advisor to President Obama) in March 2012 and receiving an invitation by the U.S. State Department to screen RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE to a delegation of 16 visitors from Europe participating in the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) focusing on “Advocating for Human and Civil Rights for the LGBT Community”. Camina was also incredibly honored to receive an invitation by North Texas U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana to speak and screen the documentary during her office’s inaugural LGBT Pride Month Diversity Program. In addition, the film was chosen to screen at the Library of Congress in September 2014. In January 2013, the Dallas Voice newspaper named Robert L. Camina one of the "North Texans Who Helped Define 2012" for his work with the film.