"That's the place. Right over there.
That's where Eric used to live." - MIMI STERN-WOLFE
||In an apartment in New York's East Village, an elderly woman sits in a cluttered room of sheet music that very few people remember. She tinkles occassionally at the piano as she speaks - any interview with the mischievous Mimi Stern-Wolfe is always punctuated by music. The Benson salons, as Mimi calls them, were a regular meeting of artists and composers in a downtown Manhattan loft owned by Eric Benson, her dear friend and musical collaborator. At this loft, writers and composers showcased new classical and populist musical works and an artistic community thrived. Amongst them were Chris DeBlasio, composer; Robert Chesley, critic and composer and Kevin Oldham, concert pianist and composer.
When the HIV/AIDS epidemic swept through New York, and indeed the world, in the early 1980s, each were infected and were dead by the early 1990s. After these deaths, Mimi devoted much of her life to The Benson AIDS Series, an annual concert of works by composers who were lost to HIV/AIDS, which she performs on World AIDS Day (December 1st).
Directed by Rohan Spong (whose first feature documentary, T IS FOR TEACHER was acclaimed by two Australian film reviewers as amongst "the best films of 2009"), ALL THE WAY THROUGH EVENING will follow Mimi as she prepares for one such concert - a small but proud figure, gallantly rousing a remembrance in the shadow of bustling Manhattan. Her interviews recount the glory days at the Benson Salons, the initial awareness of HIV/AIDS and provide a character portrait of some of the original composers. The film also includes touching interviews with some of the surviving family members and musical collaborators of these men and much of the moving music from this period is presented from Mimi's concert as part of the documentary. Kevin Oldham's Not Even If I Try sees a tenor lamenting his lost lover amongst a bittersweet piano arrangment. Robert Chesley's Autumn is based on a De La Mare poem (of the same name) and features a counter tenor who notes that there is now "silence where hope was". Perhaps the most evocative and well known of these art songs is Walt Whitman in 1989, a collaboration by poet Perry Brass and emerging composer Chris DeBlasio, in which the famed historical poet Walt Whitman arrives in the AIDS ward of a New York hospital in 1989, nurses a dying man, and transports his body away on a boat which sails "...all the way through evening."
A short synopsis and a logline can be found in the PRESSKIT