written and directed by

Aline Allegra

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the film

1989.  We were young in New York City.

We were coming out of the closet.  Our friends were dying.

We hit the streets in protest.  We didn't have a choice.

​I followed with my camera because neither did I.

Meet the womxn, artists, and activists who defied the status quo during a vital time in queer hxstory. 

When you were queer in the eighties  America didn't do the right thing.

So we had to.




It is Fall 2020 and we’ve been sheltered-in-place for 6 months. In the United States, almost 200,000 are dead from COVID-19 and as we write this there is no end in sight. We watch the death count rise as President Trump’s failure to lead, his apathy and his greed remind us of Ronald Reagan’s criminal failure to address the AIDS crisis until 4 years in. Citizen activists make masks for healthcare workers and we rely on State and Local leadership, peer education and mutual aid for our survival.

We are making a documentary from footage we shot 30 years ago during the AIDS epidemic. We intend to use this time of social distancing and staying home to reach out to people who appear in this material.

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I just heard the great Orator Barack Obama say: "This country was founded on protest. It is called the American Revolution."

It is June 3, nearly Summer 2020 and I’ve been streaming CNN and MSNBC non stop since George Floyd was murdered by the knee of a cop. The protests erupted 7 or 8 days ago. I am riveted by live streaming nationwide coverage and the media breathlessly narrating along in complete support and validation. It’s a seminal moment, long overdue. All 4 officers involved in the killing have been charged. It remains to be seen what will happen next. People are afraid that the moment will pass and nothing will change.


We shall see...


We’ll be foolish if we leave this unchanged.

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Aline Allegra

Aline Allegra is a journalist and nonfiction filmmaker with producing/directing experience from MTV,  camera/editing experience from Channel One News, and digital experience  from Current TV and the Oprah Winfrey Network.  Aline's work has been seen by millions of young people in schools nationwide, at international film festivals , on TV and the web. Awards include 2 Digital Emmy Awards and the George Foster Peabody Award for Channel One’s: A Decade of AIDS.  

After 30 years in the news and entertainment business, Aline is focused on a series of memory and history projects using her own personal video and photo library.

Free Radicals of NY draws from more than 100 hours of interviews and never before seen footage that Aline shot herself over five years from 1989-94 and the 2019 World Pride Week in NYC.  

Aline is the principal and creative director of Homespun Entertainment in Venice, CA.




Emily Nahmanson

Emily was a member of ACT UP New York in the 80s and 90s.


Up until April 2020, she was with the Technology Department at the Burning Man Project.


Since shelter-in-place began, she has become a Zoom expert and has been working as a technical advisor to teachers, creators and performers.

Her films have been shown at MIX New York Queer Experimental Film Festival and the Hella Gay Short Film Festival in Oakland. 


She lives in a rent controlled apartment in San Francisco.

Emily is a co-producer on this film.


we must tell our own stories

Free Radicals of NY also examines the role the camcorder played in the emergence of activism, the lesbian community, as chronicled thru the personal vanguard participation of the filmmaker in these social movements both personally and professional. Coming of age in the late 80's where the confluence of music television, the camcorder and the rise of AIDS activism created a social movement that launched the first generation of queer powerful women true to themselves - out and active -personal and professional lives. 

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homespun entertainment

 In 2002, Aline formed HOMESPUN ENTERTAINMENT, a boutique production company in Venice Beach and Joshua Tree, CA . With Aline's expertise in interview and original storytelling, Homespun created unique branded content  for UCLA Children's Hospital, Oprah Winfrey Network, Current TV, Sony Pictures and many others.


At Homespun, Aline launched her passion project begun in 1987,  to record and collect stories from people and movements historically left out of the conversation,  marginalized and invisible.

Over decades Aline captured video, photos, audio and interviews from pivotal moments in history. The library includes unseen footage and personal narratives from the front line of HIV and AIDS, gang violence, woman's right to choose, transgender rights, anti-war, school killings, conversion therapy, gay marriage, Cuba, and queer liberation.

The SVHS Tapes: Free Radicals of NY is Homespun Entertainment feature length documentary using the SVHS tapes Aline shot in and around NY and Washington DC between 1989-94.




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