The moving HIV documentary, How To Tell A Secret, will begin its full-scale Irish cinema release on December 1, in honour of World AIDS Day 2022.
Described as a hybrid documentary, the film incorporates performance and genre-blurring storytelling techniques to expose the social stigma around what it is like to live with HIV in modern Ireland. The unmissable film centres the stories of several people living with the virus, including Robbie Lawlor who was diagnosed at the young age of 21, and Enda McGrattan, who quietly hid their HIV status until finally sharing their secret with a song.
When asked about the power of telling your story, Director Anna Rodgers shared that the film covers, “…one of those topics that needs… conversation and storytelling behind it to create a shift in society. We really want to help dispel some of the stigma that surrounds HIV so people can live shame free.”
Director Shaun Dunne emphasises that although the documentary examines HIV stigma, it is also an empowering film that “…represents all that the community has to celebrate” in terms of the effective medications available.
The film gives a platform to several people who had not spoken publicly about about their HIV status before participating in the documentary, including some migrant women who find creative ways to share their experiences. Rodgers encourages others to tell their stories, “Not everyone has to go on the radio or be in a documentary, but even telling a close friend or family member can sometimes help to break down fear and educate people around you.”
After reflecting on the journey of making the film, drag icon Veda Lady said, “I think once you start to let go of that shame, that release–it inspires you and in turn can inspire the whole community.”
AWARDED BEST DOCUMENTARY- How To Tell A Secret (@ASecretFilm)
Collected by co-director Shaun Dunne (@SeanieLove) the moving doc which explores the act of HIV disclosure will be released in select cinemas from Dec 1st to coincide with World AIDS day. @AnnaRodgersDocs pic.twitter.com/lEzt56lnoL
— Irish Film London (@irishfilmlondon) November 23, 2022
One of the actors, Eva Jane Gaffney, shared the impact that the film has on women, saying, “My heterosexual female friends in particular have completely had their eyes opened through this film. They never would have thought this related to them. Now they see that his conversation needs to be everywhere, that testing needs to be everywhere and that we all have a role in taking down the stigma associated with living with HIV.”
Robbie Lawlor, who was one of the youngest people to come out on Irish television reflected on how society has silenced people with HIV. He said, “This movie is a great way to showcase the effect of that stigma. After watching, you understand our fears about coming out and through watching it, hopefully, you want to get involved in helping us push forward.”
Kicking off on World AIDS Day, the documentary will show in cinemas across Ireland from December 1-8, 2022.
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|IRISH FILM INSTITUTE, DUBLIN||TUE DEC 6||13:10||BOOK|
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|IRISH FILM INSTITUTE, DUBLIN||WED DEC 7||18:20||BOOK|
|IRISH FILM INSTITUTE, DUBLIN||THU DEC 8||16:45||BOOK|
How To Tell A Secret was directed by Anna Rodgers and Shaun Dunne, produced by Zlata Filipovic for Invisible Thread Productions, and created as part of the Reel Arts award with The Arts Council of Ireland. Don’t miss out on seeing this groundbreaking production on the big screen, get your tickets now!
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