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World AIDS Day: A message from our Executive Director

Today is World AIDS Day. Every December 1, we remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses and to show our support for people living with and affected by HIV.

I was born in 1986 and my earliest understanding of HIV came through popular culture. My first memory of learning about it was actually through an episode of kids cartoon called Captain Planet from 1992. It actually did an okay job trying to de-stigmatize it than any other education I received in school. 

It really wasn’t until I joined Out On Screen that I got a deeper understanding. It was through the power of film that I got to bear witness to the historical and ongoing injustices of the HIV epidemic, the bravery and fire of AIDS activists and organizers past and present, and to the emotionally personal narratives of resilience. 

Some of the films I’ve watched over the years include 2012’s How to Survive a Plague, Kiki which was our closing gala film in 2016, BPM which I saw at VIFF in 2017, Life Goes On: John Dub’s story from our 2017 Troublemaker’s project; the film 1985 which opened our 2018 festival, and from this year, the films Thrive (from the Don’t keep your distance Shorts program) and our audience choice award for short film: HIV: Healing Inner Voices (Spirit, Heart, Land: two-spirit and Indigiqueer shorts program).

Today, coincidently is #GivingTuesday, and while Out On Screen is running its usual year-end campaign for the Out In Schools program, please also consider supporting organizations that support people living with and affected by HIV in BC.

Brandon Yan, Out On Screen Executive Director