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Matthew McConaughey stars in Dallas Buyers Club as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ron, now shunned and ostracized by many of his old friends, and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, the entrepreneurial Woodroof joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts — who he once would have shunned — and established a hugely successful “buyers club.” Their shared struggle for dignity and acceptance is an American story of the transformative power of resilience. Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from an original screenplay by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack, also stars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto.
Director Alex Gibney’s documentary feature We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks details the creation of Julian Assange’s controversial website, which facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history. Hailed by some as a free-speech hero while others call him a traitor and terrorist, the enigmatic Assange’s rise and fall are paralleled with that of PFC Bradley Manning, the brilliant, troubled young soldier who downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from classified U.S. military and diplomatic servers, revealing the behind-the-scenes workings of the government’s international diplomacy and military strategy. While Assange remains free in exile, Manning has since been given a 35 year prison sentence for his deeds. In seeking to expose abuse in the corridors of power, Assange and Manning were undermined by forces within and without, as well as by their own human failings. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is about transparency in today’s information age and our ever-elusive search for the truth.