Five years in the making, CURED illuminates a pivotal yet largely unknown chapter in the struggle for LGBTQ equality: the campaign that led the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its manual of mental illnesses. Before this momentous 1973 decision, the medical establishment viewed every gay and lesbian person as diseased and in need of a cure. Business and government used the mental-illness classification to justify discrimination and bigotry. As long as lesbians and gay men were “sick,” progress toward equality was nearly impossible.
Incorporating a trove of newly unearthed archival material — much of it unseen for decades — CURED takes audiences inside this riveting narrative to chronicle the strategy and tactics that led to a crucial turning point in the movement for LGBTQ rights. Indeed, following the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, the battle that culminated in the APA’s decision marked the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. CURED sheds new light on this victory — which was far from inevitable — while situating the APA story within the larger context of the modern movement for LGBTQ equality.
While CURED is indisputably about science, medicine, politics, and the process of social change, this film at its core is about a group of extraordinary activists with stubborn dedication and big personalities who came together at a crossroads in LGBTQ history. These unlikely heroes’ passion for justice — and their belief that they, and not psychiatrists, were the experts on their own lives — propels the story and forms the backbone of CURED.
CURED received co-production funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS). The film was one of seven documentaries chosen from among 270 proposals submitted to ITVS’ Open Call initiative. Open Call selects a new cohort of films twice a year. Established by Congress in 1988 to expand the diversity and innovativeness of programming available to public broadcasting, ITVS supports the production and distribution of independent documentaries, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Building on their track record with related films on the LGBTQ past, award-winning filmmakers Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer will leverage opportunities to reach millions of viewers in the U.S. and abroad through theatrical release, national and international broadcast, film festivals, workplace events, conference screenings, educational distribution, and dissemination on digital platforms as well as on Blu-ray and DVD. Sammon and Singer’s previous documentaries have reached more than five million viewers and have been shown at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including The Sundance Film Festival, The Kennedy Center, The National Archives, The United Nations, and The British Museum.