This Sunday, 25 To Life, a documentary by Mike Brown, will have its world premiere as part of the America Black Film Festival. The film focuses on the compelling true story of William Brawner, who contracted the HIV/AIDS virus from a blood transfusion as a toddler, following his hospitalization for severe burns.
Fearing that his diagnosis would alienate him from his peers, Brawner’s mother, grandmother and aunt came together to keep his HIV/AIDS status a secret and instead worked to give him the best life possible. However, without any strong male figures in his life, Brawner soon delved into risky behaviors including unsafe sex – that is, until a doctor warned him that he might have less than two years left to live.
Today, We Got This Covered is pleased to exclusively premiere a short clip from the film, in which Brawner recounts when he first learned that he had HIV. Check it out below:
Though we have yet to see 25 to Life, it looks like a forceful and fascinating documentary about HIV/AIDS and the social stigma that still surrounds the virus today. For more about the film, you can check out the official synopsis below:
25 TO LIFE is a retrospective of man coming of age while keeping his HIV/AIDS status a secret, and his struggle to carve out an honest future after living a secretive, reckless past. Through first-hand accounts, this film shows HIV’s ripple effect to an entire family and community.
25 TO LIFE is a startling look at HIV and AIDS in America through the real story of William Brawner, who contracted the HIV/AIDS virus from a blood transfusion when he was a toddler. Fearing stigma and discrimination, his young mother, grandmother and aunt agree to keep his HIV status a secret. Fearing his death year after year, William and his loved ones strive to cultivate an energetic and fun-loving family life. But growing up in west Philadelphia with an absent biological father and no male model figures to relate to, William learns how to “become a man” in the most reckless way.
Away from his mother’s care at Howard University, William further suppresses his HIV status and revels in risky sex, ignoring his medications and denying the realities of his illness. But when a doctor warns William that he may have only two years to live, his Superman exterior is broken. At age 26, William suddenly disclosed his HIV-status on a popular Philadelphia radio station, provoking an eruption of emotions from family, ex-girlfriends, friends, and strangers alike. In 25 TO LIFE, William confronts these questions, head on.
Seeking redemption, William confronts past girlfriends, quits his job to start an organization for HIV positive youth in Philadelphia; marries Bridgette, who is HIV-negative and expecting the couple’s first child.
25 TO LIFE presents a new look at the changing landscape of HIV and AIDS in this country. It tackles the tough social issues of sex, race, and manhood, while providing unprecedented access into a life and a family living with the HIV virus. Today, a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS is not necessarily a death sentence, but still relegates its carriers to lives shrouded in stigma and uncertainty as they battle to pursue normal lives. Exploring the pains and triumphs of William’s life and those around him, this story illuminates the ability of the human spirit to rise above devastating circumstances to discover why life is always worth fighting for.