Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Coinciding with the 45th Anniversary of the Up Stairs Lounge Arson, one of the most significant and deadliest events in LGBT History, Camina Entertainment announces the highly anticipated WORLDWIDE digital release of the critically acclaimed feature length documentary, UPSTAIRS INFERNO on streaming platforms.
A film by award winning director, Robert L. Camina and Executive Producers behind “Back on Board: Greg Louganis”, “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” and “Southern Baptist Sissies”, UPSTAIRS INFERNO chronicles the deadly 1973 New Orleans gay bar arson: a tragedy that for over 40 years, was considered the“Largest Gay Mass Murder in U.S. History.”
UPSTAIRS INFERNO is the story of the UpStairs Lounge Arson as you’ve never seen or heard it before. This award-winning documentary takes audiences to an unforgettable emotional space unparalleled by secondhand accounts or the written word alone.
On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. The fire ultimately killed 32 people and severely injured countless others. 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. Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the tragedy.
With unique access (EXCLUSIVE on-camera interviews from survivors, witnesses and friends/families of victims) and a fresh perspective (incorporating long lost artifacts, newsreel footage and photographs that haven’t been seen in decades),UPSTAIRS INFERNO vividly examines this oft-forgotten story and is considered the most COMPREHENSIVE, COMPASSIONATE and AUTHORITATIVE film about the tragedy and its aftermath.
Narrated by New Orleans native and New York Times best-selling author Christopher Rice, UPSTAIRS INFERNO (96 min) is a mesmerizing mix of crime drama and human connections that captures the heartbreaking feelings of unconditional love and overwhelming loss. An unsettling snapshot of what was, until the early hours of June 12, 2016, the deadliest single event to affect the gay community in American history, UPSTAIRS INFERNO gets inside the hearts and minds of a handful of vibrant people who experienced one of the most important and underreported moments in LGBT History.
“While UPSTAIRS INFERNO recounts a historic event that occurred in the U.S., its underlying message crosses cultural boundaries”, Director Robert L. Camina emphasizes. “It’s easier for people to hate and fear things they don’t understand. No matter your background or how you identify, in the end, we are more alike than we are different. I think UPSTAIRS INFERNO reminds of us that.”
“We made the film hoping audiences would walk away from it with a renewed call for compassion: Compassion for those unlike us. Compassion for those who are hurting. Compassion for those in need. Because there definitely wasn’t a lot of compassion when the deadly arson occurred.”
“Sadly, a lot has happened in the world since the film premiered and we began spreading the message of compassion and the impact of hate”, Camina continues. “It sickens me that mass murders have become so common. I think UPSTAIRS INFERNO‘s message is as timely as ever: the power of family, friends and forgiveness in the shadow of immense pain. Hopefully, by the UpStairs Lounge Arson survivors sharing their stories, it can provide strength to others in need.”
“Over five years ago, when I decided to tell this long overdue story, I didn’t want to make a film that was simply a stagnant exposition of facts. I wanted to humanize the story and put faces on the tragedy. I wanted to honor the victims and all those impacted by the tragedy, giving them the respect and dignity they were denied so many years ago”, Camina continues.
“As we observe the 45th Anniversary of the deadly arson, I’m grateful that UPSTAIRS INFERNO is now accessible to audiences around the world via streaming platforms, because the victims, their loved ones and their stories should never be forgotten again.”
UPSTAIRS INFERNO was an Official Selection of 40 esteemed film festivals around the world, winning 20 awards, including 12 Jury Awards and 4 Audience Awards. This includes Frameline: the San Francisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which awarded UPSTAIRS INFERNO with the Jury Award: Honorable Mention, citing its “Special Contribution to Queer History”. In addition, UPSTAIRS INFERNO received a prestigious invitation to screen at the Library of Congress in 2017.
UPSTAIRS INFERNO has been featured in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Advocate Magazine, CNN and more. Some of the images in UPSTAIRS INFERNO are graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
SCREENER AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.
UPSTAIRS INFERNO is now available to stream (rent or buy) through Amazon Prime Video!
For more information:
Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/UpstairsInferno
Cover Photo: Screen capture from UPSTAIRS INFERNO Photo credit: Camina Entertainment