Berlinale: Programme

Film File

Panorama 40


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New York in the summer of 1985. What we now know to be the AIDS crisis is approaching its first peak. The realisation is a shock, albeit at this stage only for those affected. It demands a complete rethink in the gay scene, which for the first time in history is functioning with a sense of equality and autonomy; moving away from radical hedonism towards a stronger awareness of the need to care for one another. David is looking after Robert, who is seven years older than him and is dying of AIDS. The two men talk about their young lives; they discuss the irresponsible and discriminatory way in which the government and media are handling the AIDS epidemic, confront their fear of death, and grow closer in their vulnerability. When Robert’s case attracts the public’s attention, the intimate space that is their friendship suddenly becomes highly political.
Arthur J. Bressan Jr. is one of the pioneers of gay independent cinema. Buddies was the first feature film ever to be made about the AIDS crisis. Now, 33 years after its creation, the film with which Edition Salzgeber was founded can be seen in a restored, digitised version.

Arthur J. Bressan Jr.

USA 1985


81’ · Colour · 2K DCP


Geoff Edholm (Robert)
David Schachter (David)


Written and Directed by
Arthur J. Bressan Jr.
Carl Teitelbaum
Arthur J. Bressan Jr.
Jeffrey Olmsted
Steve Hirsch
Nina Port
Jeff Hochhauser
Executive Producer
Frederick Schminke
Arthur J. Bressan Jr.
Associate Producer
John Hartis


Arthur J. Bressan Jr.

Born in New York, USA in 1943, he studied at Iona College and New York University and worked as a high-school teacher and in the Department of Education. When he was 25, he began to make Super 8 films on the topics of sexual politics and the rights of minorities. In 1984, he won a Gay Producers Association Award. He died of AIDS in 1987.


1974 Passing Strangers 1977 Gay USA; documentary 1979 Forbidden Letters 1982 Abuse; Panorama 1983 Thank You, Mr. President; short documentary · Pleasure Beach; 1983-84 1984 Juice · Daddy Dearest 1985 Buddies; Panorama

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Produced by

Film and Video Workshop

World Sales

Frameline Distribution