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Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story (Presented by the GLO Center)

Ric Weiland was a brilliant programmer, queer pioneer, and one of the earliest employees of Microsoft. He dedicated his life and fortune to philanthropy and activism, but personal struggles eventually became too much to bear. This is the story of his life and legacy. (NR, 62 min.)


Sunday, July 23, 2023

6:00 PM

This special screening is presented by the GLO Center. There will be a panel discussion following the film with director Aaron Bear & producer Julie Sandler. This event is Free and open to the public. Tickets will be available to reserve at the Moxie box office.

Narrated by Zachary Quinto and featuring Bill Gates, Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story chronicles the life story of a queer pioneer and one of the founders of Microsoft. Ric helped to organize Microsoft’s early successes, which made him a significantly wealthy and influential individual at an early age. However, Weiland never felt comfortable with his wealth because he felt he didn’t deserve it. To quiet the nagging doubt in his mind, he turned to philanthropy. Out and proud since the 70s, Ric was also a champion of gay rights. During his life, he donated more than 200 million dollars to fund more than 60 non-profit organizations. He also lived through the AIDS epidemic. Painful losses tempered his social life, and focused his resolve to give back to his community during a time when they desperately needed hope. Like so many of his friends, he was diagnosed with HIV. As his wealth and influence grew, Ric seemed to slip further into self-doubt, depression, and a kind of impostor syndrome that seemingly no one could talk him out of.
Starring: Bill Gates, Zachary Quinto, Gil Bar-Sela
Director: Aaron Bear
Genre: Documentary

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"With a mix of reenactments, old photographs & home movies, and talks with those who were closest to him, this documentary doesn’t pander or preach. Ric was a brilliant technical mind who wanted to give back to the community that accepted him at a time when we were being condemned for our “debaucherous lifestyle”. Even after his death, Ric’s work is widely remembered by those who loved him and will be talked about by those future generations he indirectly helped. Director Aaron Bear brings back to life the story of a man few people might never have known."

— Dave Sarrafian, Into Screens

"What makes the film so poignantly effective are the remembrances of colleagues (including Bill Gates) and friends (activist Urvashi Vaid), many of whom remain haunted and bereft by his death and unjustified public anonymity. The movie is a stinging reminder that no amount of money and fame can shield one from the deleterious impact of discrimination and mental illness. Weiland deserves to be included in the pantheon of LGBTQ heroes, as indirectly much of the equality we enjoy today is a result of his supportive vision for a brighter future during a time of prejudice and mass communal suffering."

— Brian Bromberger, The Bay Area Reporter

"In Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story, filmmaker Aaron Bear sets out to right this wrong, establishing Weiland as a humanitarian and pivotal LGBTQ activist. The film uses a montage of archival footage, mostly news clips, to illustrate the socio-political climate during the AIDS crises and the barrage of misinformation contaminating the airwaves about the virus and the LGBTQ community. The film’s structure hints at the juxtaposition between the beginning of the information age with the mass production and dissemination of misinformation. Through the use of Weiland’s journal entries and testimony from those dearest to him, the film avoids framing a portrait of the plights of an exorbitantly rich man, to focusing on a story of human suffering and triumph."

— Allegra Moyle, POV Magazine