More than two decades after the HIV/AIDS crisis began, the Millennial generation has its own stories to tell about what the disease has meant to them. The Red Hot+ video contest was a collaboration of Advocates for Youth and the Red Hot Organization to give young artists and filmmakers the opportunity to explore their generation's unique experiences growing up with and being impacted by HIV and AIDS. Love stories and elegies, tales of quiet defiance, stigma and public confrontation. Winners were chosen by public voting and by an independent jury comprised of Jerry Kupfer (producer, 30 Rock), David Mixner (longtime HIV activist and author) and Kathleen Adams (youth activist and founder of Momma's Hip Hop Kitchen).
Through short films and PSAs, the Red Hot+ films and PSAs provide a catalyst (and the soundtrack) for a new conversation about HIV and AIDS.
Held during the summer of 2011, the contest received more than 60 entries from all over the world. Some films were the work of individual artists, others were collaborations among groups of friends, and a few were created by organizations directly working on HIV and AIDS issues as a way to further their cause and perhaps win additional funding for their work in their communities.
"Be There for Each Other" by No Day But Today Project, a grassroots project in the Philippines that provides love, companionship and support for Filipinos living with and affected by HIV was a grand prize winner of the contest.
No Day But Today Project founder Jake writes:
I was diagnosed with HIV February, 2011. Being diagnosed with HIV is, without a doubt, one of the scariest things a person can live through. And if you're suffering with symptoms that are painful and often embarrassing, that fear is magnified 100 times. It's a terrible thing. I know - it happened to me. The weekend I arrived home, to my surprise, a friend who I've known for a long time confessed to me that he was also HIV+, that he knew where to take me, and would see that I was never alone and that I would be okay.
I'm still dealing with how my life has changed. It's so hard sometimes to face all of the medical tests, the fear, the uncertainty...what could happen tomorrow. But I'm doing it. I'm facing life with the most positive and hopeful outlook I can, and it takes friends who understand my situation, and who are there to support me when I need them. But the most important thing I've come to realize is that I can't control everything, and I can't become healthy instantly, and I can't solve tomorrow's problems right now. And that's why I face each day by holding onto four little words: NO DAY BUT TODAY.
There are still times when I'm terrified. But I NEVER feel like I'm alone anymore. And I'm going to LIVE.