Zero Patience (1993), director/writer/video artist John GREYSON's first theatrical release, is one of his most scathing and strangely hilarious indictments of systematic homophobia. This "AIDS musical," as it became known, is also one of his most provocative works - a bold critique of the authorities' handling of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Greyson fashioned an entertaining fiction and a powerful political statement from elements as diverse as philosophical musings, scientific facts, and crude and lewd musical numbers. In this engaging mix of sex and science, Greyson imagines an affair between Gaetan Dougas (Normand Fauteux), a French-Canadian flight attendant whose promiscuous lifestyle caused him to be labelled as the infamous "patient zero," mistakenly blamed for bringing the AIDS virus to North America, and Sir Richard Burton (John Robinson), the famous Victorian explorer and ethnographer. The film asserts that homophobic governments, greedy pharmaceutical companies and outdated Victorian prejudices in the public mind are to blame for the spread of AIDS.
Zero Patience is one of the most original and ambitious attempts to effect a change in public perception about the origins of HIV/AIDS. It won the Best Canadian Film Award and Best Ontario Feature at the 1993 Sudbury Cinéfest and was given a Special Jury Citation at the Toronto Festival of Festivals.