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A beautiful and healthy man, woman or child living a full life is not the image of HIV in Africa. But can it be?
227 backers pledged $16,945 to help bring this project to life.
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Positively Beautiful, a feature documentary, is a personal story about five unlikely friends brought together by their HIV status as they navigate the challenges of life and love in current day South Africa.  They've overcome rejection, near death and ongoing stigma to defy expectations and live successfully with HIV for over 15 years. This is their story. 

FILM CREDITS TEASER

A short teaser of how the film credits will likely unfold. Enjoy. We look forward to seeing your name on the big screen.

LATEST NEWS: GRAMMY WINNER SUPPORTS POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL

POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL is excited to announce that four time Grammy Nominee and two time Grammy Winner, Soweto Gospel Choir is supporting our project and is generously contributing the use of their music in the film.

The group also won a Sports Emmy for their collaboration with U2 and ESPN during the 2010 World Cup. They became the first South African artist to perform at the Academy Awards when they sang Peter Gabriel’s Oscar nominated “Down to Earth”, from the movie Wall-E, with singer John Legend in 2009.

We are thrilled to have their support and to include their incredible music in POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL. For more information about Soweto Gospel Choir visit their website.

Soweto Gospel Choir
Soweto Gospel Choir

EXTRA: BEHIND THE SCENES FOOTAGE

A short clip of some fun behind the scenes. The cast didn't know we were still rolling during our break.

FUNDING GOAL: $15,000 OR NOTHING

We're almost there and need funds to finish the film. We've set a minimum goal of $15,000. We could do with more but we want to set a realistic target. If we don't reach $15,000 we receive NONE of the money that has been pledged. $0.  It's an ALL or NOTHING fundraising campaign.

HOW WILL WE USE THE FUNDS?

We are in post-production and will use the $15,000 to finalize the rough cut. The funds will help cover the costs of a talented editor, editing software, narration and allow us to include music, animation and archival footage.  The more we raise the sooner we'll be able to get Positively Beautiful to the affected communities who will benefit from this real-life story. We're a NON-PROFIT project. 

Khaya at a village HIV campaign
Khaya at a village HIV campaign

WHY IS THIS DOCUMENTARY IMPORTANT?

The pervasive images of AIDS in Africa are of death and hopelessness, but with regular treatment and a healthy lifestyle, HIV can be a manageable disease. Many around the world are living full lives and planning for their future.

Yet, AIDS continues to be a major cause of death, particularly in South Africa, which has the largest epidemic in the world (5.6 million people infected and 310,000 AIDS deaths in a year). The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS is a large part of the problem. The disease is still associated with death, punishment and promiscuity.

Positively Beautiful challenges this stigma by following the journeys of five HIV positive friends who lead full and healthy lives. Our goal is to present an uplifting but authentic insiders perspective, that will encourage people to talk about HIV and fight the discrimination and stigma that prevents people from getting tested and taking treatment. 

Zanana with her husband and sons
Zanana with her husband and sons

MEET THE FRIENDS

Through the prism of friendship, the film explores the struggle of living with HIV in an ever-changing South Africa.  The cast hopes their stories will show that people living with HIV are no different from anyone else.

Zanana works at a health non-profit and is also a sangoma (traditional healer). She has a baby boy and is undergoing the agonizing process of HIV testing to determine if he also has HIV. 

Nomfundo is openly lesbian in a homophobic community and confronts the dual stigmas of HIV and her sexuality. Her family does not approve of her lifestyle. She lives in constant fear of "corrective rape", a hate crime that targets lesbian women in an attempt to "rectify" their sexual orientation. 

Khaya is the man amongst the ladies. He is a father, friend and an activist. At 41 he describes himself as a rehabilitated "player" who is trying to be a better man. 

Ntuthu works at an AIDS center. She dreams of one day hosting her own radio show. Her first love knowingly infected her with HIV. He recently died of AIDS after stopping his medication, leaving Ntuthu angry and confused at her grief. 

Thembi, the glue of the group, is from a poor rural family. She was orphaned at 13. Now in her 40s she is a Director at a health non-profit. Thembi is trying to navigate the challenges of a sero-discordant marriage, as her husband is HIV-negative.

Khaya mountain biking in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Khaya mountain biking in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

MEET THE CREW

Producer/Co-Director Diveena Cooppan is a native South African and resident HIV expert on the Positively Beautiful team having worked in public health care for the past 13 years.

Co-Director Ian Cheney is an award-winning documentary film-maker based in Brooklyn, NY. His past films include King Corn, The Greening of Southie and City Dark. 

Director of Photography, Lee Jackson is also a native South African who has shot a number of award-winning features, shorts, music videos and commercials. 

We work closely with Wicked Delicate, a successful documentary film and advocacy project co-founded and run by Ian Cheney. Their vast experience in both documentary filmmaking and innovative outreach programs provides invaluable support to the production of Positively Beautiful

Please visit our websites for more on the talented team of filmmakers bringing this film to life! 

Wicked Delicate websitehttp://www.wickedelicate.com/

Positively Beautiful websitehttp://positivelybeautifulthemovie.com/

Zanana (extreme right) traditional dancing at a PLHIV Conference
Zanana (extreme right) traditional dancing at a PLHIV Conference

WHY WE'RE MAKING THIS DOCUMENTARY?

I am from South Africa and while working with South African communities on HIV prevention, treatment and care,  we found that success was always hindered by stigma.  I worked closely with the cast members on these HIV projects. Their approach to life inspired me and I knew that their stories could inspire others to view HIV differently.

During a late night conversation, some of the cast members emphasized the need to share stories of real people living with HIV, but in a way that was captivating and authentic. The stories should give real insight into what it means to live with HIV. 

There is no easy way to challenge stigma and discrimination. But human stories, to which we can relate, can open our minds to different perspectives on how to live, how to love and how to be. Film has the power to change how we see the world and live within it. 

So I asked my friends if they would share their life stories on film, and they agreed. Three years later we are still committed to this goal, are close to completing the film we envisioned, and we are confident it will help challenge the stigma of HIV and AIDS in communities around the world. 

HELP US COMPLETE THIS STORY AND SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD.

For More Information: 

Website: http://positivelybeautifulthemovie.com

Wicked Delicate: http://www.wickedelicate.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/positivelybeautifulthemovie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbthemovie

Ntuthu and the Bishop at the Candlelight Memorial in Grahamstown
Ntuthu and the Bishop at the Candlelight Memorial in Grahamstown

Positively Beautiful gives an insider’s perspective of HIV in South Africa and presents a universal story of triumph and of friendship’s powerful ability to help overcome life’s greatest challenges. 

Risks and challenges

We're 3 years into the project and have faced many challenges but were able to adapt and make a plan. The post-production challenges are also tough but we're handling them with the same perseverance. We hope to have the rough cut by February but it could take longer if there are editing difficulties. We'll keep you informed as we go along.

We work closely with Wicked Delicate, a successful film company who have guided the project at each step. We also have a team of advisors to help with challenges of distribution and outreach:

- Mpho Tutu (The Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage)
- Jonathan Simon (Center of Global Health and Development at Boston
University)
- Thembi Ngubane Zungu (South African HIV activist and lead character)
- Tabisa Bata (Program Director at Letsemea Circle)

We have world screenings planned thanks to our extensive international network who have already committed support to host events, however it is possible that a screening may not be near your city and you may not be able to claim a VIP ticket reward. In this case we'd like to discuss an alternate reward.

With your help we are confident that we can overcome any challenges and achieve our goal of tackling HIV and AIDS related stigma.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    SHOSHOLOZA (Keep Going) PLEDGE: You receive our sincere gratitude for your support and encouragement.

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    UBUNTU (Spirit of humanity) PLEDGE: In thanks, you will get a SHOUT OUT on our website and our ETERNAL GRATITUDE! You've just helped us cover the cost to keep our website up and running.

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    FRIEND PLEDGE:
    You get a SHOUT OUT on our website and a set of Positively Beautiful CARDS with images from the film. You’ve helped us buy hard drives to store the rough cut.

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    THABISO (Bringer of Joy) PLEDGE: A set of Positively Beautiful CARDS with images from the film, a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the film, a thank you on our WEBSITE, and our sincere gratitude. You’ve also helped us buy hard drives! Did we mention how important duplicate copies are?

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THEMBA (Hope) PLEDGE: A DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the film, a Positively Beautiful movie POSTER, a thank you on our WEBSITE, and a set of Positively Beautiful CARDS. Our cast moves from English to Xhosa to Zulu, a dash of Afrikaans and South African slang. You helped fund a translator.

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    NEW PLEDGE LEVEL: IN MEMORY OF someone you care about and whose name you would like to have listed in the FILM CREDITS. We will contact you for details at the end of the campaign.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    ENGEL (Angel) PLEDGE: Thanks in the FILM CREDITS, a limited edition DVD of the film, a set of Positively Beautiful CARDS, a movie POSTER and a shout out on our WEBSITE,. You're helping us get editing software, we couldn’t finish the film without it!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    LESEDI (Light) PLEDGE: SPECIAL THANKS in the FILM CREDITS and our WEBSITE. A limited edition DVD of the film and 2 VIP TICKETS to a Positively Beautiful screening. We'll be screening the film around the world. Your pledge helps create animation and graphics to tell the story.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    MAANDA (Strength) PLEDGE: Listed as a KEY CONTRIBUTOR in the FILM CREDITS. You will receive 4 VIP TICKETS to the film screening and PRIVATE AFTER PARTY with the Director and Producer. Listed on the WEBSITE and in the events PROGRAM of the screenings of our film around the world. Music is important to our film. You’ve helped us get music to build the perfect soundtrack.

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    SIBONGILE (We give Thanks) PLEDGE: Credit as an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER on the film. You'll receive 6 VIP TICKETS to the screening and PRIVATE AFTER PARTY. Your name will be on the WEBSITE and in event PROGRAMS of our screenings around the world. You just hired us Morgan Freeman! OK, maybe not but you helped us hire a talented narrator who has the same powerful timbre.

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    ORGANIZATION OR BUSINESS PLEDGE:
    If you're an organization or business and would like to pledge $1000 or more to the film you can receive FILM CREDIT as a PARTNER.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    MASAKHANE (Let us Build Together) PLEDGE: CO-PRODUCER credit in the FILM. You will receive 8 VIP TICKETS to the screening and PRIVATE AFTER PARTY. We'd like to host a PRIVATE DINNER with you, the Director and Producer. Listed on the WEBSITE and events PROGRAM of our screenings around the world. Your generous contribution bought us time with a talented editor. The film will be finished in no time!

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    Pledge $8,000 or more About $8,000

    LEBONA (The one who Sees) PLEDGE: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit in the FILM. If you agree, we'll INTRODUCE you to the audience at the screening and host a PRIVATE DINNER with you, the Cast, Director and Producer. You will receive 10 VIP TICKETS to the screening and PRIVATE AFTER PARTY. Listed on the WEBSITE and events PROGRAM. You have just helped with…. well, everything! Your contribution is driving us towards the final cut and release of the film!

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Funding period

- (32 days)