Set in Manhattan and on Fire Island, the film Longtime Companion follows the lives of a small circle of friends from the first mention of AIDS in 1981. As the story progresses, the disease devastates the characters’ lives, touching each one in a different way. The title of the film refers to the New York Times' refusal to acknowledge homosexual relationships in its obituary section, instead using "longtime companion" to refer to the surviving life partner of the deceased.
“Even at the beginning, even when families were involved . . . there was a real need to change the [funeral] ritual . . . to stamp it in a different way, how important it became when AIDS got mentioned one way or another, that the person was gay—those things became so important. The whole issue of what to put in the obit, the cause of death—how important it was to those who survived, friends and lover, that attention be paid not to write this off.”
Interview with Judy Pollatsek, bereavement expert and therapist, 1995
John-Manuel Andriote Victory Deferred Collection, 1901-2008