The Virginia Film Festival starts Thursday and it will bring film makers and movie lovers to Charlottesville for four days of screenings.
The festival will feature all types of movies from Hollywood hits, to classics, and documentaries. Many of them add more than just entertainment value- they explore important issues as well. One of the films is really hitting home with a Charlottesville nonprofit.
Charlottesville's AIDS/HIV Services Group is putting together a screening of the movie "The Other City." It talks about Washington D.C., the place in the U.S. with the highest rate of people infected with HIV and AIDS.
The director of ASG, Peter DeMartino, said that since D.C. is so close to our region, that rate has an impact in Charlottesville as well.
"In D.C. right now the infection rate is comparable to Sub-Saharan Africa, so it's really important to tell that story." He said. "Not just so we understand what's happening in our nation's capital, but also so we can understand how it impacts areas like Charlottesville since we're so geographically close to D.C. and so much of the epidemic really is influenced by what happens there."
Lois Spears contracted HIV in Washington D.C. in the early 1980s, and she agreed. "I still see the same things happening here in Charlottesville that I saw happening in D.C.," she said. "There are no changes and I'm afraid that it's going to spread like it did there."
Spears is one of the panelists who will be discussing The Other City after the showing. "I just want to be a voice. I want to be a voice for teenagers so they can have safe sex. I want to be a voice for adults. I want to be a voice for my friends that I lost the way, which I love very much and miss," Spears said.
Spears says organizations like ASG have helped her find her voice. "I hope that people who do have HIV come into ASG," she said. "You have friends here, you have a home here. You have counselors here who understand you. They care about you. These people here can give you the most love you've had from anybody and I just want people to know that."
The Other City will be screened on Saturday at 1 p.m. at NAU Auditorium at the University of Virginia. It will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and the director of ASG.
ASG to Hold Screening at Virginia Film FestivalMore>>