90 Days at the 25th Pan African Film Festival
15 Feb 2017
A Film Review
Along With Q & A Coverage
90 Days, starring Teyonah Parris, Nic Few and Pauletta Washington is a reality check. We are in a days of complacency when it comes to HIV and AIDS and the film 90 Days brings this crucial conversation back to the forefront in the African American community.
A beautiful myriad of blues and greens in every scene envelopes us with a false sense of security that leaves us unprepared for the news that Jessica is about to hit Taylor with. Taylor has waited 90 days to be intimate with his dream woman and now that this day has come, he wants her in his life until happily ever after. Jessica wants nothing more than to build a life with Taylor, but she has to give him the 100% truth about what he is getting into.
What an amazing film! The acting was flawless and the set design was eye candy. The comedy was sharp and witty and the dialogue was engaging. Pauletta Washington’s character, Gayle, hit the audience with a line that caused the audience to erupt into a boisterous laughter. In this short film we experience such a wide array of emotions and are forced to ask ourselves so many questions. For one, is love greater than your secrets?
There was Q and A session that followed the screening of 90 Days at the 25th Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles California on February 12, 2017. The theater was packed and the discussion was lively. Nathaniel Hale Williams is the writer and co director of 90 Days. He revealed that he got the idea for this film after a close friend who struggled with his HIV positive diagnoses committed suicide. Williams said he wanted to change the stigma associated with HIV and present a project that was focused on love instead of the fear that is typically attached with this diagnoses. Although Williams is an openly gay male, he chose to use a male-female relationship because he wanted the black community to acknowledge that this disease is not a “their” problem, it’s an “our” problem.
Teyonah Parris agreed to do this project because “Art speaks louder than we ever could”. She talked about the new numbers for African American women in the South infected with HIV as staggering. It was her idea to have the script rewritten so her character contracted the HIV virus as a freshman in college as opposed to being born with it. She felt that having the character being born HIV positive would marginalize the character. It was important to her that the audience understood that none of us are safe and we could all get caught out there.
Bridget Gordon, an L.A. County commissioner and the founder of the Women’s Caucus in the Commission on HIV also sat on the panel and spoke about her experience with being diagnosed as HIV positive six weeks after her honeymoon. She explained that she brought her six-year-old daughter to the forum because she wants her daughter to be a part of this very important discussion at a very young age.
Pauletta Washington spoke about her work in HIV and AIDS at The Gathering Place starting from back in the 1980s. Money flowed in for treatment back in the 1980s, but the money never trickled down into the African American community to benefit African American women and their children. Pauletta gave details on how she and other activists raised the funds necessary to bring medicine and vital resources that were necessary to combat the disease in the poor black communities. Since then, the funding has dried up because HIV/AIDS are no longer seen as the priority it was decades ago. So, the rate of infection is much higher now, but we are no longer talking about it as a nation because black and Hispanic women and gay men of color are dis-proportionally affected.
The Q and A sessions were filled with information on HIV/AIDS statistics, juicy revelations be explored in the upcoming feature version of this narrative film and calls to action for the community. Nathan Hale Williams closed out the Q and A session with tearful words of gratitude to his cast and crew “It was such a pleasure to work with you. You are diva talents. But not diva people.”