100 minutes – Documentary, AIDS,
Festival release date: April 26, 2019 (Hot Docs – Toronto)
Release date: July 26, 2019 (Toronto)
Production company:Fadoo Productions
Canadian distributor: Kew Media Distribution
Killing Patient Zero tells the story of Québec-born flight attendant Gaetan Dugas who was notoriously (and erroneously) known as ‘patient zero.” One of the first 57 AIDS cases reported to the Center for Disease Control (the CDC) in Atlanta, Dugas was able to provide the names of 72 of his former sex partners – and in so doing, landed in the middle of the CDC’s famous Cluster Study, where, he was identified as Patient O (as in the letter, ‘O’). In 1987, author Randy Shilts’ book on the AIDS epidemic, And The Band Played On, mis-identified Dugas, referring to him as ‘Patient Zero” and portraying him as a psychopath, willfully infecting other gay men. Based on Richard McKay’s groundbreaking book, Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic, this documentary sets out to clear the name of Gaetan Dugas and kill the idea that he was responsible for starting the terrifying and tragic epidemic in the 1980s.
Killing Patient Zero was an Official Selection and had its World Premiere at the 2019 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.