Queensland Positive People have launched a new series of short films addressing HIV stigma that will screen during the upcoming Brisbane Queer Film Festival.
The first instalment of QPP’s “Talking About HIV Stigma” series will screen prior to each film at the festival, which starts at New Farm Cinemas on March 10.
In the films, a number of Australians living with HIV share their stories of stigma, vulnerability and resilience, to shine a light on how the virus is often perceived and to call on the community to tackle that stigma and increase HIV testing.
Footballer Matt Hall, who was banned from the AFL in 1998 for being HIV positive, talks in the first film about how HIV stigma affected him and his fight to have the AFL’s decision overturned.
Mr Hall said we need to continue to educate society to eliminate HIV stigma, and encouraged people who are living with HIV to get support.
“With the advances in science and medication, HIV is a manageable chronic health condition and it’s no longer a death sentence. The messages I’d give is to stand up against ignorance and discrimination. Call it out for what it is,” he said.
“We need to provide strength and resilience to those that may have been on the receiving end of HIV stigma and discrimination, and let them know they’re not alone. Try and be resilient and deal with the facts.”
This year the Brisbane Queer Film Festival is newly independent, and festival directors Shanon King and Justin Marshman say they’re proud of the 2017 lineup’s calibre, diversity and inclusiveness.
“This year the festival celebrates its 18th birthday. Like all 18-year-olds BQFF has moved out of its childhood home, Brisbane Powerhouse, and is now ready to party as an independent festival,” Marshman said.
The eighteen sessions in the BQFF program include over a dozen features, including French film “Paris 05:59” (pictured) and football drama “The Pass”; two sessions of queer short films; five documentaries, including New York City vogueing doco Kiki; and a binge screening of Brazilian four-part serial The Nest.
The Brisbane Queer Film Festival runs from March 10 to 19 at New Farm Cinemas. For the full program and to buy tickets, visit the BQFF website.