A vintage film photograph of a smiling person seated on a couch in front of a window with vertical blinds, with their arm draped over the back cushions

Killing Patient Zero

Hot Docs Film Festival

1981: A mere seven years since homosexuality had been de-classified as a mental illness in North America. There was progress and a feeling of gay liberation in the air—and then, suddenly, a new disease was killing gay men. Initially called the “gay plague,” AIDS became a shocking illustration of the entrenched homophobia of the time, with thousands of gay men dying before media attention and medical resources were brought to bear. At the centre of this storm stood Patient Zero, the man accused of spreading AIDS in North America, vilified as the embodiment of gay hedonism and promiscuity. Director Laurie Lynd peels back the layers of homophobia and misinformation to reveal the person behind the epithet, Québécois flight attendant Gaétan Dugas. Based on Richard McKay’s groundbreaking book Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic, this is a fascinating portrait not only of a man, but of a crisis that shocked a community into action.

More information and tickets

April 26, 8:30 PM (closed captions)
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

SAT, APR 27, 12:30 PM (closed captions)
Scotiabank Theatre Toronto 4

FRI, MAY 3, 2:45 PM (open captions)
Hart House Theatre