In 1992 the AIDS epidemic is raging uncontrolled in the US with almost 200,000 deaths to date. David Serko, age 32, is among those who tragically die that year. Peter, his older brother, is at David’s bedside the moment he takes his last breath. In their final conversation David makes one last request of Peter: “listen to your heart”. Devastated by David’s death yet inspired and challenged by his request, Peter vows to one day tell the story of David’s remarkable life and and even more remarkable death.
Twenty years pass before Peter is able to make good on that promise. In 2012 he starts The David Serko Project with the goal of learning more about David’s life by finding people who knew him. Using social media Peter locates and engages over 100 people who knew David, most he didn’t know. The Project ends up revealing hundreds of anecdotes, recollections and other stories about David, along with photographs, audio recordings, video and other memorabilia.
However, one discovery early in the life of the Project stands apart from all others. Almost by chance Peter finds a footnote in a Wikipedia article that leads to a previously unknown photograph of David being arrested by the New York City police at protest in 1988. The photograph takes on a life of its own prompting a series of other discoveries including finding and meeting the photographer who took that arrest photo.
With no theatrical background or experience Peter writes a solo performance play based on the Project and begins performing it in 2014. He then takes the play back to his hometown to a theater where David performed early in his career. Among those in the audience that night is the photographer who took the arrest photo in 1988, camera in hand.
“Footnote” traces the remarkable 26 year journey of a photograph, a final wish, and a promise, demonstrating the enduring power of love, and the capacity four simple words have to heal and inspire.
Release date: February 2017
Director: Peter Serko
Editor: Peter Serko
Writer: Peter Serko
Producer: Dancing Man Productions