It has been 25 years since Philadelphia, which told the story of a young gay man suffering from AIDS, was released.
The film’s cast, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Mary Steenburgen, have appeared in the trailer for The Last Mile, a short film which will detail the impact that the film had on attitudes towards AIDS, how things have changed, and the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic still present across Africa.
“Wise human beings wrote down, in the city of Philadelphia, a code from which we can all live by, and it’s ‘all men are created equal’,” says Tom Hanks in the opening few seconds of the video.
Speaking about attitudes towards AIDS around the time of the film’s release, Steenburgen said, “There was a tremendous amount of fear and a lack of knowledge.”
“I remember the different scared faces, people with scars on their faces. I remember the sadness,” says Washington.
Hanks portrayed Andrew Beckett in the film, who was fired from his job at a powerful Philadelphia law firm after his colleagues discover his HIV status by spotting his lesions.
The featurette then moves on to focus on the AIDS crisis in Africa and shows a woman travelling for two hours to source HIV medication.
The short film was produced as part of Coca Cola’s social initiative Project Last Mile, which aims to establish more healthcare across Africa.
“The strides, they’re extraordinary. But there is still a massive amount of need for attention that something like the pandemic of AIDS is going to require,” says Hanks.
“We have come a long way. I think it’s time to continue to be inspired,” adds Steenburgen.
Each year, over one million people in Africa die because of HIV/AIDS, with nearly 20 million people currently living with it.
“If you can find a Coca-Cola anywhere in the world, why not life-saving medicines?” the campaign asks.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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