In honor of World AIDS Day (which was last December 1), It’s Not Over, a feature length documentary film made possible by the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund, the charitable arm of M∙A∙C Cosmetics, offers a global audience an inspiring look at how young people today are facing the challenges of HIV. Viewed from the perspective of renowned filmmaker Andrew Jenks, It’s Not Over tells the story of three young people from different parts of the world who are living with or affected by HIV in vastly different, yet astonishingly inter-connected ways. Jenks visits India, South Africa and the United States to experience the epidemic first hand. The result is a deeply personal and uplifting story that is rarely represented in popular culture.
“Young people can end this epidemic, but to engage and motivate them toward this goal, we need to recognize that the era of PSAs and finger-wagging messages is gone. We’ve got to make them part of the solution, which we set out to do with this film,” said Nancy Mahon, Global Executive Director, the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund. “It’s Not Over represents the latest bold, creative strategy from the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund as we look to engage young people in impactful, meaningful, action- oriented ways to end the AIDS epidemic.”
The film will be available for viewing on Netflix, the world’s largest global streaming platform, and SnagFilms, a leader in high-quality free film content, making it available through its applications on Roku®, XboxTM, Sony® and more.
Viewers will be taken on a journey, traveling all over the world with Andrew Jenks, to put a face on the AIDS epidemic. Partnering with three courageous young people, Andrew works to humanize the issue as they show us an inside look at how their lives are affected by HIV as well as the lives of those around them. In America, Jenks meets Paige Rawl, a college freshman in Indiana who has been living with HIV her entire life. After years of battling the harsh stigma and depression she turned everything around to become a powerful advocate for fighting the disease from dance marathons at her university to supporting other children impacted by the disease. In India, Jenks meets Sarang Bhakre, a Mumbai playwright who is openly gay in a country that outlaws homosexuality. Sarang’s current play addresses gay marriage, and filmmaker Jenks is along for the ride, from rehearsal to debut, witnessing the courage and bravery it takes Sarang to face these issues. In South Africa, Jenks meets Lucky Mfundisi, a Soccer Coach and educator with Grassroot Soccer, an AIDS organization that teaches youth prevention through soccer. Lucky acts as a tour guide around Khayelitsha, the largest and fasted growing township in South Africa, with some of the highest rates of HIV in the world. Lucky shows Jenks how he is working to transcend the poverty with a message of hope and perseverance.
UNAIDS welcomes the film and calls upon young people around the world to mobilize around its vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Globally, an estimated 5 million adolescents and young people (ages 10-24) were living with HIV in 2013. Millions of young people living with HIV do not know they have the virus. Every day approximately 1,800 adolescents and young people become infected with HIV, accounting for nearly 31 percent of all new HIV infections.
The subjects in the film are active with M∙A∙C AIDS Fund grantees including Humsafar, Grassroot Soccer and Camp Kindle. These partners have received grants to help fight HIV/AIDS through the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund, which raises funds exclusively through the sale of M∙A∙C’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass. M∙A∙C donates 100 percent of the sale price to fight the AIDS epidemic and has raised more than $340 million to date.
For more information on the film, including cast biographies, grantee overviews, exclusive clips and ways to get involved, please visit www.itsnotoverfilm.com.
The M∙A∙C AIDS Fund, the heart and soul of M∙A∙C Cosmetics, was established in 1994 to support men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. MAF is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support to organizations working with underserved regions and populations. Recently recognized by Funders Concerned About AIDS as the top corporate giver in the arena, MAF is committed to addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS by supporting diverse organizations around the world that provide a wide range of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. To date, MAF has raised more than $340 million (U.S.) exclusively through the sale of M∙A∙C’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.macaidsfund.org.
After the movie screening, M∙A∙C invited representatives from the AIDS Society of the Philippines (ASP) and Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Inc. (PAFPI) to speak about AIDS and how it affects the Philippines. The current situation is quite alarming.
The Philippines is one of nine countries that has increasing cases of HIV/AIDS, with an annual growth of 50 percent increase in cases annually. Data from the Philippine HIV/AIDS Registry showed in January this year alone, 118 of the new HIV patients belong to the 15 to 24 age bracket. They were among the 448 fresh HIV cases reported for the first month of 2014.
Half of the 448 victims, or 224 patients, are from Metro Manila, while 16 percent come from the Calabarzon region, seven percent from Davao region, and four percent from Western Visayas. The rest of the regions recorded less than one to two percent of HIV cases this year. From 1984 to January 2014, 36 people below 15 years old were infected with HIV. For the same period, 429 people aged 15 to 19 acquired the virus, as well as 3,467 in the 20 to 24 age bracket.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has also noticed this disturbing trend, saying new HIV infections “now occur at a younger age.” The agency noted in some areas, one in three persons most at risk are in the 15-17 age group.
No doubt, there’s a call to action on our part. We need to help raise awareness in order to prevent AIDS from spreading–knowledge truly is power. M∙A∙C is at the forefront of this campaign, thru M∙A∙C AIDS Fund–they were able to raise P5-million pesos for the cause, which they donated to ASP and PAFPI.