About the film

In 2008 Diveena was working with Thembi, Nomfundo, Khaya, Zanana, Ntuthu and the rest of the HIV network in South Africa. After a successful conference for people living with HIV, the team was celebrating. They talked about how far they had come yet, the concern was still – stigma.  They wished for a Michael Jordan – a healthy celebrity who would speak openly about HIV, could inspire South Africans and break the stigma. Diveena said that someone should make a movie about them as they were pretty inspiring. They said,” If someone wants to make a movie about us we’ll do it”. So Diveena did. Positively Beautiful – a film about life, love, and friendship in the age of HIV, was released in 2015.

Positively Beautiful Screenings

Africa World Documentary Festival (Nigeria, Barbados)

Langston Hughes Film Festival (Seattle, USA)

Black Film Festival (London)

UN Boston Screening

Louisville International Festival of Film

Cincinnati Film Festival

IREP Festival (Lagos, Nigeria)

Durban International Film Festival (South Africa)

Yanaya Gender and Film Dialogue Festival (touring film festival in rural South Africa)

Global Health Film Festival (London)

Toronto South African Film Festival

International AIDS Conference – 2016

Stephen Lewis Foundation – Grannies Campaign (Vancouver)

Boston University Global Storytelling Seminar and Screening

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Synopsis

At the height of the epidemic and amidst a controversial political response, Nomfundo meets Thembi, Khaya, Ntuthu, and Zanana. They form an empowering network for people living with HIV. As friends and family die from AIDS, they fight harder. Their friendship gives strength to their daily struggles: of having children, fighting cancer, and being lesbian in South Africa.

Life is never easy; HIV can make it far harder. Yet, these friends share a powerful optimism. Positively Beautiful shows the beauty of their lives, the strength of their friendship, and their hopes for the future. It challenges the image of AIDS in Africa and shows a country of nuance, courage, and wonder. Positively Beautiful is a story about life, love, and friendship in the age of HIV, one that is complex and inspiring.

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HIV is more of a chronic disease, now that there is Antiretroviral treatment, yet there are almost 1,000 AIDS deaths every day. Out of shame and fear of persecution many people delay starting treatment or stop taking their pills. These five friends share the intimacies of their lives to help break the stigma. Their story helps people understand what it means to live with HIV.

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