Positive Youth documentary

The film follows four HIV positive youth as they confront the challenges of life, love, dating and the pursuit of happiness in the face of the virus.

 

HIV POSITIVE YOUTH DOCUMENTARY REVEALS A SHOCKING NEW REALITY

The film follows four HIV positive youth as they confront the challenges of life, love, dating and the pursuit of happiness in the face of the virus. First identified in the United States in 1981, HIV has become one of the world’s most widespread pandemics. Wrongly labeled a “gay plague” in its early days, this non-discriminating virus affects more than 41 million people across the globe, regardless of their sex, orientation or socio-economic status. But what is it like to be a millennial HIV Positive Youth of today?

 

Positive Youth gay film

 

With huge leaps being made in vaccine research and the development of drugs that significantly reduce transmission, there is now new hope for those living with HIV. However, public and political complacency, as well as a lack of education, still foster an environment shaped by the fears and stigmas born in the AIDS panic of the 1980s.

 

In an effort to change these perceptions, LOGO TV’s documentary “Positive Youth” shines a light on the new reality of living HIV+. The film follows four dynamic youth, ages 18 to 27 who are either infected or affected by HIV. Proving that the next generation is not backing down, the subjects offer an uncensored look into the challenges of dating, living and loving with HIV.

 

“I felt there was a huge disconnect in the public with the advancements in HIV medicine and the affliction by the general population,” said the film’s director, Charlie David. “We made this documentary to educate those who know little of HIV, to shed light on the rise of HIV infection among today’s youth and to give inspiration to people living with HIV that they are not alone, nor should be seen as a danger to society.”

 

Each of the four subjects feature a dynamic perspective on the reality of living positive today: a straight 18-year-old First Nations woman living in an impoverished rural town, a gay 25-year-old white urbanite, a 23-year-old African American YouTube figure and a 27-year-old club kid jet-setter.  Medical and psychological experts also weigh in to provide up-to-date facts and a historical context to the reality of living positively.

 

“Thirty years after the discovery of HIV, we now have the tools to turn this pandemic around. It is important to understand that medication is a key part of prevention,” said film subject and Arizona native Austin Head. “In my case, the medication I take, made by Gilead, has reduced the virus in my system to undetectable levels and eliminated nearly all possibility of transmission to a loved one. There are still a lot of people who don’t know they have options and participating in the film provided me a great chance to share that story.”

 

Whoopi Goldberg (The View),This is a very important documentary, this isn’t over and it’s affecting our youth.

 

Sir Elton JohnBy all means, take a look at this film.”

 

WATCH POSITIVE YOUTH on your favorite platform.

   

 

 

 

Positive Youth is a one hour documentary which follows four HIV positive youth (late teens to 27) in four different N. American cities in cinéma vérité style.

 

Growing up in the 1980s and 90s we were hammered with terrifying statistics of HIV/AIDS. Thirty years in, we are still learning. What education do youth receive now and why is the youth infection rate still the highest?

 

We have seen retrospective documentaries on the AIDS crisis and interviews with survivors but what about the positive youth of today? We aim to feature accessible and inspirational individuals and the often-rocky road that they’ve traveled to get here.

 

Each of the four subjects have been selected to create a dynamic perspective on the reality of living positive today. Medical and psychological experts weigh in to provide up-to-date facts and a historical context to the reality of living positively.

 

In life we are inherently afraid of the unknown: of death. Positive Youth shows this in action by exploring the social stigma these young people must rise above each day.

 

The main conflict will lie with our audience. We intend to have our subjects, and our audience answer difficult questions about their own level of discrimination when it comes to HIV/AIDS. Ultimately we want the audience to feel educated with a new sense of empathy and understanding for positive people.

 

Vancouver, Toronto, Orlando, Phoenix, New York, Victoria – a straight 18-year-old economically challenged Indigenous woman, a gay 25-year-old white urbanite, a 27-year-old club kid jet-setter, and a black 23-year-old young man.  HIV does not discriminate.

 

For the first time, HIV Positive Youth open their homes and hearts to us – offering a no holds barred access into their lives.

 

WATCH POSITIVE YOUTH on your favorite platform.

       

 

 

HIV Positive Youth - Rakiya Larkin

Following in her mom’s footsteps: 18-year-old Rakiya Larkin

 

“Without her strength I would not be who I am today; I cannot imagine life without her. Her strength and love radiates off of her,” says Rakiya Larkin of her mother, Kecia. Although Rakiya has grown up HIV-negative she has become a strong community activist, encouraged by her mother, friends and family.

 

For the past eleven summers, she has attended Camp Moomba, a camp for kids affected by or living with HIV. This summer Rakiya took on the role of a counselor – a leadership position that she takes very seriously. “I have realized, overall, I cannot save everyone at camp nor can I make sure that everyone is taking their medication. What I can do is support everyone to the best of my ability – and hope that they are loving life and enjoying themselves to the best of their ability.”

 

“We should have a voice in making the world a better place: we have the knowledge and the skills to change the outcome for future generations,” she says. This message is echoed through Larkin’s own life path and choices: in July 2010, she was crowned Miss Victoria Island. Being an inspiration to future generations is a gift she learned from her mother.

 

When asked what message she would like to give HIV+ teens of today, Rakiya says, “Take advantage of the one life you have; you not only hurt yourself when you don’t take your medications and take care of yourself, you hurt everyone around you who loves you. All I have to say is that I love you, never give-up on yourself and trust that at the end of the day everything will be all right. Have faith.”

 

HIV Positive Youth - Austin Head

Club Kid Extraordinaire – Austin Head

 

Austin Head has achieved distinction by succeeding in his performance art at every step of development with a mission to bring something unique and innovative to entertainment. Beginning in Phoenix, Arizona, Austin quickly became popular with his song Label Whore which manifested into a four day music video release event drawing 3000+ people to the largest bars in Phoenix.

 

Austin Head has been featured in countless publications and newspapers, heard performing live over the air-waves, and seen performing at the biggest nightclubs in the country.

 

Austin Head has now relocated to New York City to build upon everything Phoenix has given him. After only a brief time in NYC, Austin Head has now become a bi-coastal entertainer, musician and DJ working along side NYC’s top talent. Upon discovering he is HIV+ Austin began the dating website PositivelyFrisky.com as a safe and confidential place for positive people to meet.

 HIV Positive Youth - Christopher Brooks

 23, Black & Positive – Christopher Brooks

I am HIV positive, and I don’t blame anybody for it — not myself or anybody else.

 

We are encouraged to think about prevention and transmission in terms of responsibility. Someone must be at fault. Culturally, we hunt for secret villains. Today’s “down low” black man is but the latest boogeyman at which we’ve pointed our fingers — the latest of the so-often racialized monsters at which we can direct HIV blame rather than have honest conversations about sex and relationships.

 

HIV disproportionately affects African Americans, regardless of sexuality. They account for half of the people living with HIV/AIDS, but just 13 percent of the overall U.S. population. Studies also suggest African Americans are least likely to know their HIV status, with the youth being less aware. Similar patterns exist among men who have sex with men, of all races. No talking and no testing, just finger pointing.

 

Christopher is not one to point fingers – he is an outspoken advocate with his own Youtube channel called TheRedLife where he publicly discusses his journey of living positive and answers questions from his followers.

 

EXPERT WEIGH-IN

HIV Positive Youth - Dr. Frank Spinelli

 

Dr. Frank Spinelli is the former Clinical Director of HIV Services at New York City’s Cabrini Medical Center. Today, he serves the community in a more comprehensive capacity as a board certified internist, with a large HIV Positive Youth and gay men’s health private practice in Manhattan.

 

Dr. Spinelli is also an Associate Clinical Professor of New York Medical College.

Dr. Spinelli is the monthly healthcare columnist for The Advocate, the oldest continuing gay publication in the United States and the host of Ask the Doctor on Advocate.com. He appears regularly on Sirius radio’s top-rated Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Dr. Spinelli maintains a full lecture schedule where he is able to speak on gay men’s health and HIV Positive Youth.

 

HIV Positive Youth - Dr. Silvia Guillemi

 

Dr. Silvia Guillemi is the Director of the Clinical Education and Training program at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. She also works as the Clinical Coordinator in the John Ruedy Immunodeficiency Clinic (IDC), a collaboration between the BC Centre for Excellence and Providence Health Care.

 

 

 HIV Positive Youth - Neil Giuliano Photo by Tom Tingle|The Republic

 

Former GLAAD President and CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Neil Guiliano.

“Hope is important, and one has to see, feel and communicate it well to be an effective leader of any cause or movement. Every day, I have the privilege of being inspired by our HIV Positive Youth clients who are responding to HIV/AIDS with honesty, integrity and grace. That gives me enormous hope. Thinking beyond our clients, we live in an age where the line between prevention and care has blurred, and scientific advances in testing and treatment have the promise to accelerate prevention efforts. That presents great hope. It also seems to me that the biomedical interventions cannot happen in a vacuum—they will require practical application to be effective. That opportunity presents great hope.

 

And we must eliminate the stigma that stands in the way of effective HIV prevention, testing and care without regard to age, race, sexual orientation, gender or socio-economic status. That is both a challenge and an opportunity to which I believe we will rise. I am hopeful our culture is evolving in ways that we can be more effective in this regard. So yes, I choose hope over despair, advancement over apathy, determination over defeat. I see it, I feel it, and will communicate it as best I am able. And I am confident that our mutual capacities and work together will defeat HIV/AIDS.”

 

CAMERA

 HIV Positive Youth Nico Stagias - Director of Photography

 

Positive Youth was filmed on location in Vancouver, Victoria, Phoenix, New York City, Orlando and Toronto with the use of High-Definition cameras to maximize the visual impact of the film.   The film is void of a host or narrator instead opting for the subjects telling their own stories in a cinéma vérité style.  The director of photography is Nico Stagias, pictured above.

 

TARGET AUDIENCE

Our target audience is primarily viewers aged 16 to 49. Our mandate is to show HIV/AIDS as a disease that ripples through every human community – including HIV Positive Youth. Certain populations are disproportionately affected – namely gay men, economically depressed communities, and in N. America our First Nations, Black and Latino populations. We have focused our story on youth 25 years and younger and believe our story will resonate specifically with mothers.

 

The success of Border2Border Entertainment’s other films on VOD & SVOD digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon Video On Demand, Vimeo, Vudu, Hulu, Google Play and Netflix has proven that online distribution can provide a significant source of revenue for both narrative and documentary films. Our narrative and documentary features have played at both LGBT and mainstream film festivals around the world. They have also played on an array of TV networks as diverse as Out TV Canada and LOGO to Showtime, HBO Canada, Movie Central, The Movie Network and Sundance Channel.  Positive Youth has likewise crossed over into mainstream media.

EDUCATIONAL

POSITIVE YOUTH is an excellent springboard tool for panel discussion with local youth groups and HIV/AIDS resource and support centers.

 

Positive Youth is distributed for universities, libraries and educational institutions in the USA through Films Media Group.

 

2012 – University screenings at Brown (Providence, R.I.) and Concordia (Montreal, Quebec)

2012 – Saskatchewan Provincial high school tour with Sunrise Health Region

2015 Witts University, Johannesburg South Africa

2013  Wolfsonian Museum  Miami, USA

 

FILM FESTIVALS

  • United States Mar 30, 2012 (Phoenix International Film Festival)
  • United States May 10, 2012 (Sacramento, California)
  • United States May 19, 2012
  • Canada May 20, 2012 (Toronto Inside Out Film Festival)
  • United States May 31, 2012 (FilmOut San Diego)
  • United States Jun 1, 2012 (Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival)
  • United States Jun 2, 2012 (Q Cinema Fort Worth Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival)
  • United States Jun 8, 2012 (Wolfsonian Museum)
  • United States Jun 16, 2012 (FRAMELINE San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival)
  • United States Jun 20, 2012 (DVD premiere)
  • United States Jul 10, 2012 (San Diego FilmOut)
  • United States Jul 14, 2012 (Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival)
  • United States Jul 21, 2012 (Cincinnati GLBT Film Festival)
  • United States Jul 25, 2012 (CNKY Scene Film Festival)
  • United States Jul 29, 2012 (Houston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival)
  • United States Aug 17, 2012 (Louisville LGBT Film Festival)
  • Canada Aug 25, 2012 (Out On Screen Vancouver International Film Festival)
  • United States Sep 8, 2012 (North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival)
  • United States Sep 12, 2012 (Outflix International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival)
  • United States Sep 28, 2012 (Portland LGBT Film Festival)
  • United States Oct 8, 2012 (Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival)
  • Canada Oct 10, 2012 (Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival)
  • United States Oct 10, 2012 (Atlanta Out On Film Gay and Lesbian Film Festival)
  • United States Oct 11, 2012 (Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – Three Dollar Bill Cinema)
  • Canada Oct 12, 2012 (Reel Pride Film Festival)
  • United States Oct 18, 2012 (Brown University)
  • United States Oct 18, 2012 (Seattle International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival)
  • Spain Nov 1, 2012 (LesGaiCineMad)
  • United States Nov 11, 2012 (Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival)
  • China Nov 17, 2012 (Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival)
  • Canada Dec 1, 2012 (Fredericton, New Brunswick)
  • Canada Dec 1, 2012 (Hamilton)
  • Canada Dec 1, 2012 (Image+Nation Montreal Gay and Lesbian Film Festival)
  • Serbia Dec 8, 2012 (Belgrade Queer Film Festival)
  • United States Jan 25, 2013 (Out in the Desert LGBT Festival)
  • Canada Feb 8, 2013 (Kingston ReelOut Queer Film and Video Festival)
  • India Feb 24, 2013 (Bangalore Queer Film Festival)
  • Canada Feb 26, 2013
  • Israel Jun 15, 2013 (Tel Aviv GLBT Film Festival)
  • Bolivia Nov 22, 2013 (Santa Cruz Festival Iberoamericano de Cine)
  • Ecuador Nov 24, 2013 (El Lugar sin Limites)
  • Spain Nov 24, 2013 (Seville European Film Festival)
  • Italy Dec 12, 2013 (Festival di Napoli)
  • Belgium Mar 6, 2014 (Tel Quels International Film Festival)
  • Canada May 1, 2014 (Ottawa LGBT Film Festival)
  • India May 23, 2014 (Kashish Mumbai Gay & Lesbian Film Festival)
  • Taiwan Sep 26, 2014 (Taipei International Documentary Festival)

MEDIA QUOTES & AWARDS

 

Whoopi Goldberg (The View) recently stated, “This is a very important documentary, this isn’t over and it’s affecting our youth.

 

Sir Elton John “By all means, take a look at this film.”

 

BEST DOC – Film Out San Diego
BEST SHORT DOC – Scene CNKY Film Festival

 

POSITIVE YOUTH is an excellent springboard tool for panel discussion with local youth groups and HIV/AIDS resource and support centers.

 

READ THE INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR CHARLIE DAVID to discover the most challenging parts of making this documentary.

 

WATCH HIV POSITIVE YOUTH on your favorite platform.

   

 

 

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