This week I talked with filmmakers Daniel Cardone and Marc Smolowitz about their new documentary for the HIV Story Project, Desert Migration. Since HIV treatments have improved, many HIV-positive men over 50 from all over the U.S. have decided that Palm Springs seems like a viable place to retire, a place where health services are great, housing is affordable, and it's always sunny. Cardone and Smolowitz, who are both HIV-positive, are telling these men's stories in their film.
I talked to them about Desert Migration and their spin on LGBT issues. When asked about their personal commitment to LGBT civil rights, Cardone stated:
My personal commitment to LGBT civil rights is just to live an open and affirmative life where I'm not apologetic for who I am, and be proud and active and engaged and interested, and I think that is key. You don't necessarily have to be in a march or a rally or something like that, but you do have to be interested, and I do think you have to be engaged in your community and know and be informed. That's what I try and do; I just try to know what's going on. I don't want to be a clueless person and just say, "My little corner is just fine, so I'm fine." I think everything I do comes through. I can't hide under a bushel. I have to be out, and I have to be gay, and pride is something I had to earn. For a long time I was not proud to be gay. I didn't understand the concept of gay pride, and I think as I've gotten older, now I know why we do this.
When I think about my personal commitment, I feel like that it is a lifelong commitment. I think with each new phase of my life and my work, whether I'm talking about my work as a filmmaker or how I envision the world as an activist or as a person who is committed to social change, I'm consistently learning and relearning how to move through the world as an LGBT person. I feel very committed to making films about LGBT issues. The vast majority of my work touches the lives of LGBT communities and stories, and today we're talking about a film that has to do with HIV and AIDS. So when I talk about LGBT civil rights, when I talk about HIV and AIDS, I'm talking about the same thing, and that's how I bring those commitments together.
Director/producer Daniel Cardone was born in Australia and worked in production on critically acclaimed films such as The Home Song Stories and Animal Kingdom and the HBO miniseries The Pacific. He was also an associate producer on the groundbreaking Australian sitcom Outland. Marc Smolowitz is an Academy Award-nominated film, TV and new media producer. He's produced The Weather Underground and Trembling Before G-d, directed The Power of Two, and executive produced Still Around. He has over 20 years of experience across all aspects of the entertainment and media business.
For more information on Desert Migration, click here.
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