The 2016 Heartland Film Festival will be screening the film short Michael, produced by C. Thomas Lewis. Lewis, a lecturer in the Media Arts and Science (MAS) program at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, shot the narrative film in Kenya during the summer of 2015 as part of a series of four films.
Each film focuses on a Kenyan adolescent struggling with the social stigma of HIV. In Michael, a young boy suffers harsh treatment at home and is faced with caring for his own health.
Funded by a New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities grant from Indiana University, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Lewis and the film’s co-producer—anthropologist Dr. Jeanette Dickerson-Putman from the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI—partnered with Dr. Rachel Vreeman, director of research for the IU Center of Global Health at the IU School of Medicine.
With the help of students at Moi University in Kenya, and Christopher Odhiambo—head of the Department of Theater and Film Studies at Moi—Lewis and Dickerson-Putman developed film scripts focusing on HIV-infected adolescents who are dealing with the HIV stigma. After the completion of shooting in July 2015, MAS program students played an integral part of the post-production on all four films.
The film series will be used by AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare), which is based in Eldoret, Kenya. It will be used to raise community understanding about stigma and to counsel those infected with HIV throughout the Kenyan community. AMPATH is a partnership between Moi University, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and a consortium of North American academic health centers led by Indiana University.
Michael will be screened on Friday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Castleton Square 14 and again on Wednesday, October 26 at 7:45 p.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12.