Best Picture Oscar nominee has ties to University of North Texas

Monday, January 27, 2014 - 11:37

DENTON (UNT), Texas — When the creators of the Oscar-nominated movie “Dallas Buyers Club” needed to better understand the AIDS crisis among the city’s gay community during the 1980s, they only had to contact the University of North Texas Libraries.

Since August 2012, the UNT Libraries’ Special Collections department, formerly known as Archives and Rare Books, has housed a letter from Ron Woodroof, who started the Dallas Buyers Club to obtain non FDA-approved drugs for AIDS after being diagnosed with the disease; 10 Dallas Buyers Club newsletters, which were read by AIDS patients around the world who received the drugs from Woodroof; and a photograph of the medication, which is featured in the film.

They are just some of the approximately 100 items from Woodroof that were originally part of the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library at Dallas’ Resource Center, which is one of the largest LGBT community centers in the U.S. In August 2012, the Resource Center donated the archives to the UNT Libraries. The collection is now known as the Resource Center LGBT Collection and includes approximately 100,000 items.

Some of the items connected to Woodroof can now be viewed anytime online through the UNT Digital Library.

Morgan Gieringer, head of Special Collections, said producers for the movie contacted the department in October 2012, and three student employees in Special Collections were assigned to send the requested information to the producers. The students spent about two weeks putting the material together. 

Gieringer and Dreanna Belden, the UNT Libraries’ assistant dean for external relations, are both listed in the film’s closing credits, along with the three students — Bijan Zadeh, a senior radio/ television/ film major; Marissa Posada, a master’s student in library science; and Zachary Richardson, who graduated in August 2013 with a master’s degree in library science.

“Dallas Buyers Club” is among eight nominees for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year. Matthew McConaughey is also nominated for Best Actor for his role as Woodroof, and Jared Leto nominated for Best Supporting Actor for playing Rayon, a transgender woman who becomes Woodroof’s business partner. Both actors have already won Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards for their performances. The Academy Awards will be presented March 2.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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