Desert Migration

DIRECTOR: Daniel F. Cardone

World Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Daniel F. Cardone and Producer Marc Smolowitz

“I got off the plane at ten at night, and it was 100 degrees and it was very windy and very dry. It felt so wonderful.” So recalls Joel, one of the dozen or so guys living with long-term HIV/AIDS profiled in the unflinching documentary Desert Migration, of his arrival in Palm Springs, California. Like throngs of fellow gay men in their fifties and sixties who have made the oasis of intense heat, Speedo-clad hotties, and towering palm trees their adopted home, Joel came in search of hospitable environs in which to nurture health, healing, and a renewed sense of community. He finds kindred spirits struggling with illness, aging, addiction, and displacement in this lost horizon of unrelenting sunshine. Having prepared for early demise following their diagnoses in the era before drug cocktails, these men are now unexpectedly approaching their autumn years. From Juan, with his magnificent gray tresses, to tattooed, pierced, and polyamorous Doc, all the men profiled here are remarkably candid, united by seroconversion yet wonderfully diverse in looks and outlooks. All ache to live fully.

Director Daniel F. Cardone favors stark compositions as he focuses on the men’s daily routines—awaking naked, taking meds, working out at the gym, cooling down in the pool, commiserating at a dinner party, or prepping for a sling session with a play buddy. These documentary segments are elegantly intercut with more stylized scenes of his subjects wandering in the desert, their paths uncertain, their dignity inspiring.

— Steven Jenkins

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D305

Co-presented by:
50–Plus Network – San Francisco AIDS Foundation
HIV Story Project
Let's Kick ASS
National AIDS Memorial Grove
Positive Pedalers

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