Upstairs Inferno | DOCUMENTARY CENTERPIECE!
Directed by Robert L. Camina
On June 24, 1973 an arsonist set fire to the New Orleans gay bar the Up Stairs Lounge, trapping patrons and killing 32. Until the tragic events in Orlando earlier this year, it was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. Yet, few people inside the community – let alone the mainstream public – know about the tragedy. Due to shame, some of the victims were never identified, and the prime suspect was never charged with the crime. Police indifference to a “gay crime” led them to refuse consideration of foul play, despite evidence of a can of lighter fluid left at the scene. The community at large – government officials, the media, religious leaders, and the public – also chose to ignore what was clearly a hate crime. Robert L. Camina’s heart wrenching film features never-before-seen photographs, news footage, and evidence as well as interviews with witnesses and survivors – many of who haven’t discussed the fire until now. Narrated by NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author Christopher Rice, a longtime New Orleans resident and prominent member of their gay community, the story of this lesser-known historic tragedy, that took place four years after Stonewall, is finally being given its place in gay history.