The cast and crew of "5B" appeared Sunday at the Castro Theatre at the premiere of the documentary about the famed San Francisco General Hospital ward where AIDS patients were cared for. (Leslie Katz/S.F. Examiner)

The cast and crew of "5B" appeared Sunday at the Castro Theatre at the premiere of the documentary about the famed San Francisco General Hospital ward where AIDS patients were cared for. (Leslie Katz/S.F. Examiner)

Doc Stories premieres AIDS ward movie ‘5B’

Filmmaker Dan Krauss and a dozen members of his compassionate cast of “5B” were on hand at the Castro Theatre Sunday for the world premiere of “5B,” a moving documentary about the one-of-a-kind San Francisco General Hospital ward where patients were treated during the AIDS crisis.

“We found it crucial, and indispensable, to have every voice present,” said Krauss, surrounded by nurses, doctors, volunteers, health workers, family members and a journalist (Hank Plante) who appeared in the film, which closed SFFILM’s four-day Doc Stories series with a capacity crowd in attendance.

Unusually, Krauss, an Oscar nominee, said he couldn’t cut any of the interviewees from the movie, which details how everyday caretakers — professionals and non-professionals — rallied to support gay patients dying of AIDS in the 1980s, a time of uncertainty, upheaval and panic.

“The timing for it is perfect,” said Cliff Morrison, one of the nurses in the movie, pointing to today increasingly intolerant social and political climate.

Rita Rockett, a dynamo blond volunteer who routinely supplied entertainment and meals for patients on the ward — her scenes are perhaps the film’s most fun moments — said, “I was just a regular girl. I did what I had to do. If you love San Francisco, San Francisco loves you back.”

Alison Moed Paolercio, the nurse manager on the ward, pointed to the many people who didn’t appear in the film — social workers, chaplains, hospice workers, counselors, other patients — who contributed to the ward’s success in holistically treating dying patients.

5BAIDS wardDan KraussMovies and TVSan Francisco General

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Jill Bonny, owner of Studio Kazoku tattoo parlor in the Haight, tattoos client Lam Vo on Friday, March 5, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
No one was fighting for tattoo artists, so they started advocating for themselves

Jill Bonny has been tattooing in the Bay Area since 2000. Four… Continue reading

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted changes to The City's streets including Slow Streets closures to increase open space access and the Shared Spaces program, which allows businesses to use public right-of-ways for dining, retail and services. (Examiner illustration)
COVID is reshaping the streets of San Francisco

Walk down Page Street, which is closed to thru-traffic, and you might… Continue reading

At a rally in February, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, left, and Eric Lawson remember Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai man who died after he was pushed to the pavement in San Francisco. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Examiner file photo)
The criminal justice system can’t fix what’s wrong in our community

My 87-year-old mother walks gingerly, slowly, deliberately, one step in front of… Continue reading

Superintendent Vincent Matthews said some students and families who want to return will not be able to do so at this time. “We truly wish we could reopen schools for everyone,” he said. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD sets April reopening date after reaching tentative agreement with teachers union

San Francisco Unified School District has set April 12 as its reopening… Continue reading

José Victor Luna and Maria Anabella Ochoa, who cite health reasons for continuing distance learning, say they have been enjoying walking in Golden Gate Park with their daughters Jazmin, a first grader, and Jessica, a third grader. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Some SFUSD families prefer distance learning

Health issues, classroom uncertainties among reasons for staying home

Most Read