Meet Moon. She is HIV+ and she wants the world to know her story in an award-winning video entitled My Life, My Story: Moon.
Directed by Ineza Roussille, My Life, My Story: Moon is a winning entry in the recent Indivior Red Ribbon Short Film Competition that was organised by the Malaysian AIDS Council and Malaysian AIDS Foundation. Ineza took home RM10,000 in cash as well as a trophy, certificate and other prizes for her work.
The budding filmmaker’s piece is part of an online video series called My Life, My Story that aims to let people living with HIV to tell their story in their own words. Although simple, Ineza’s video is powerful as it is an honest and raw, real-life account of a person living with HIV.
In this case, that person is Moon.
In the video, Moon recounts the time she was first told that she was HIV+. “The doctor told me that I had until the end of the year to live,” she shares. “I was preparing for death. Mentally trying to prepare for death.”
After getting referred to another hospital, Moon discovered what her diagnosis really meant and started to seek proper treatment and counselling. With better knowledge on HIV and AIDS, Moon decided to take control of her life again and began educating other people on what it means to live with HIV/AIDS.
“Some of my friends would warn other people against being with me because of my HIV … I understood that they were ignorant so I just decided to educate them,” she says.
The second prize winner of the Indivior Red Ribbon Short Film Competition was Sylvia Peh, who came up with a video called Love Positive; in third place was Riyadh Zuhdi Lokson with Anstigma. The directors, whose films challenged society’s negative perception of people living with HIV, won RM7,000 and RM5,000 in cash respectively.
Sponsored by Indivior, the competition started in July and was open to aspiring Malaysian filmmakers aged 18 to 40 who were asked to create films that represented HIV/AIDS issues in Malaysia, under the themes of “stigma and discrimination, harm reduction, Islam and HIV”. A total of 41 eligible entries were sent in.
The winning films were selected by a panel of judges that comprised folks from the entertainment industry, media, competition sponsors and partners, as well as people living with HIV. Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporter Fahrin Ahmad also sat on the panel.
Filmmaker Aidil Dulbahari’s entry, Bukan Hal Aku, won the “people’s choice award” – an award given to the film with the highest number of Facebook Likes on the competition page.
“We hope the winning films will be able to open minds and pave the way to a society that treats people living with HIV with compassion, dignity and respect,” said Subaharan Sridaran, business unit manager of Indivior in a statement.
The competition was supported by the Ministry of Health, Yayasan Sime Darby, Veedo, TV9, 8TV, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, Harm Reduction International, the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, Maybank, Miss Universe Malaysia Organization and Universiti Sains Malaysia.