Finalists Are Announced For Rap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Subject Film Competition

Culminating an extensive national call for submissions, BET, the Black AIDS Institute (The Institute), the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the YWCA are proud to announce the finalists in the 2nd Annual Rap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Subject Film Competition (RIU/BASS). Ten finalists are now eligible for the next level of competition from which the winning entry will be selected.

The RIU/BASS film competition seeks to highlight the issue of HIV prevention, testing, treatment and the effect of HIV/AIDS on individuals and families in the African American, Afro-Caribbean, and/or Afro-Latin communities in the United States. In particular, the competition helps to raise awareness about the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities; encourages the public to know their status; and seeks to inspire people to take action to stop the spread of the disease. Screenwriters were encouraged to use their creativity to evoke a ‘fresh’ and culturally unique angle on these issues in a way that will resonate with African Americans.

Numerous entries were received and reviewed by a select group of judges from across the country. The finalists are: Drew Anderson, Justin Follin, Charneice Fox and Michelle Sewell (Washington, DC), Multitude of Mercies; Michelle Lynne Coons (California), Let’s Talk; Marquita Edwards (Illinois), Chances; Marcus F. Eubanks & Brandon Joseph (Arkansas), Conscious Cafe; Andrea Greer & Simone Murray (New York), Once; Charmain Johnson (Florida), Victims; Joie Lee (New York), Positive; Gregory Roberts (Illinois), The Edge Of The Looking Glass; Yasin Shabazz (Georgia), The Release Of Jackie Davis; and Lanette Ware Bushfield (New York), Gisele and Me.

“Given recent data released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is clear that AIDS has reached a level that we can no longer ignore,” commented Phill Wilson, Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute. “The RIU/BASS film competition is another attempt to sound the alarm and mobilize the troops in an effort to finally put an end to this tragedy.”

“BET is extremely proud of both the success and impact the RIU/BASS film competition has had in depicting the extent of HIV/AIDS within the African- American community,” said Kelli Lawson, BET’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Marketing. “We look forward to continuing to promote HIV/AIDS awareness while also extending the unique opportunity for talented filmmakers to showcase their amazing work.”

“The impressive mix of powerful stories illustrates the magnitude and depth of the impact HIV/AIDS is having on African Americans throughout the U.S.,” said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director of Entertainment Media Partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“HIV/AIDS clearly creates yet another hurdle for African American women in their struggle to improve the socioeconomic outlook for themselves and their families,” said Debra Roth, Director of Communication and Marketing for the YWCA USA. “As the YWCA USA works to eliminate racism and empower women, we are very conscious of any influence that stands between these women and their full potential. We hope that our sponsorship of this film contest raises awareness, detection and treatment of this disease.”

The winner will be announced on August 8, 2005, and the winning film will televise on the BET network around World AIDS Day (December 1, 2005). This year’s RIU/BASS film competition follows a successful first year of notable awards and accolades for its two winning films, “Walking on Sunshine” and “Tangy’s Song!”, including the 2005 Cable Positive Award for Outstanding Film/Movie and a 2005 NAACP Image Award nomination for “Walking on Sunshine”; and a Bronze Telly Award for “Tangy’s Song!”.

HIV/AIDS continues to devastate Black communities across the globe. It is a leading cause of death for African Americans between the ages of 25 and 44 and is the top cause of death for African-American women between the ages of 25 – 34. Although African Americans represent only 13% of the U.S. population, they accounted for approximately half (49%) of AIDS diagnosis in 2003.

Via PRNewswire

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