Tag Archives: film

Positive Hell: Silencing The HIV Heretics


A controversial documentary has been censored by the London Independent Film Festival.

A screening of a documentary aimed at ‘exposing the myths of HIV and AIDS’ has been cancelled after threats of protest. Positive Hell, which features five individuals who have refused antiviral drugs for HIV and lived to tell the tale, was due to be screened at the London Independent Film Festival (LIFF). But it’s now been pulled from the programme.

Story via Spiked, a free speech website.

Producer and narrator of Positive Hell, Joan Shenton, tells me she is ‘flabbergasted’ by the move, adding that LIFF caved in to a ‘handful of emails’ designed to ‘shut down debate’ about HIV treatment. The email Shenton received from LIFF festival director, Erich Schultz, stated that ‘major HIV/AIDS organisations contacted me today, urging me not to screen Positive Hell, and warning of protests [against] LIFF, my screening venue and our sponsors if we don’t comply’. Shenton suggested the event should go ahead as planned despite the protests, but Schultz said he would not reconsider. Shenton says she had previously suggested a Q&A session to accompany the film screening, because she knew the film was ‘likely to provoke a heated discussion’. This suggestion was overlooked.

Shenton is known for her controversial views on what she calls the ‘HIV orthodoxy’, whereby, she claims, unnecessary antiviral treatment is being foisted on patients due to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. However, she says she has never before experienced such blatant censorship: ‘We have had these kinds of protests in the past and just ignored them. What does it matter if, in a free society, some people demonstrate outside?’

According to some students in particular, it matters a lot. In Schultz’s email to Shenton he said he had received ‘20 protest letters, including one from the LGBT society of the university [University of London] where I teach (and where all of my selection committee comes from)’. As the University of London includes Birkbeck, King’s College, Queen Mary, UCL, Royal Holloway and Goldsmiths (all of which received a Red ranking in spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings), it’s unsurprising they wanted to block Shenton’s film.

You can watch the film in it’s entirety below, and visit their website www.positivehell.com

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Free Training: Equality & Film Making

Equality Film

Midlands based videographer and former LASS employee Rhys Davis with 10 years experience of delivering corporate and SME online and training videos, live events, short films and feature length movies is delivering a 10 week training programme in Equality & Film Making.  Rhys has a background in directing, producing, production management and camera operation.

In addition, he has taught videography to adults and children at De Montfort University, Leicester College, Phoenix Square, Regent College London and various schools. He has  two years experience writing for US television and his feature films have received cinema release and worldwide distribution.

Join us for this course and learn about digital media and story telling which will include workshops and discussions.

The course commences from Wednesday, 27th January 2016 and will run weekly for 10 weeks. (Between 10:00am and 1:00pm).  The course is limited to job seekers only.


Please contact training@lass.org.uk or call us on 0116 2559995 to book a space.

Free Training: HIV in the Spotlight: TV and Film


  • When: Wednesday 14th October 2015: 5:30-8pm

  • Where: The Michael Wood Centre (LE1 6YF MAP)

  • Light refreshments will be available from 5-6pm

HIV is portrayed in many different ways in the news, TV soaps, documentaries and on film.  We will look at the different portrayals and discuss the different information, perspectives, and messages they provide to the viewing audience.

Since HIV first emerged, it’s never really been out of the news.  It is still one of the most pressing health challenges we face in our world.  In the early days, little was known about the virus. There was a great deal of fear about how it was spread and many people died from HIV-related illnesses.  That’s a legacy which AIDS has left behind and in part, fuels ignorance, stigma and prejudice today.

Today, treatment has revolutionised what it means to live with HIV.  Having HIV is no longer a death sentence and if someone is diagnosed early and is treated, they will not go on to develop AIDS.  Instead, they can live a long life, work, exercise, even have children if they choose.

Despite rapid advances in treatment, social attitudes are changing much more slowly. Evidence shows public knowledge of HIV in the UK is declining and there is a worrying lack of understanding about HIV.

The media play an important role in communicating to the public what exactly it means to live with HIV today.  Understanding the advances in knowledge and treatment around HIV is vital to portraying and reporting accurately about HIV.  An accurate view will provide benefits in public health, dispells myths, undermines prejudice, increase understanding and make for a better story line if adopted correctly.  The media should contribute realistically in the way that HIV is addressed around the world.

We know that an accurate depiction of HIV has always been – and still is – a challenge. HIV and its ramifications are complex to portray withinh scrips, fiction and the news.  This session will be of benefit to anyone who is interested in film, HIV or an interesting social discussion.

CALL US: 0116 2559995 or email: training@lass.org.uk to reserve your space!

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Who do you think we are? An insight into the lives of sex workers.


A short season of six films offering insights into the lives of sex workers.

Delivered in partnership with Firefly Leicester Community Interest Company and supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the season aims to raise awareness amongst care professionals and the public of how stigmatised representations of sex workers can have a life-threatening impact upon them.

Following each of the films – three of them Italian, three British – there will be Q&A sessions for the audience to explore stereotypes and prejudices with guest speakers including activists, researchers and former sex workers.

Please see individual films for more details. All films are free and seats allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Personal services

Thurs 12 Feb 7pm FREE
1987, Terry Jones, UK


Waitress and single mother, Christine struggles to make ends meet. She thus decides first to prostitutes herself and then, with a business-like, practical turn of mind, opens what will become a successful brothel. Inspired by a true story.

Guest speakers: – Stand-up Comedian and former sex worker Miranda Kane  and Professor of British Cinema Steve Chibnell (DMU)


Thurs 19 Feb 7pm FREE
1960, Luchino Visconti, Italy (subtitled)


A controversial masterpiece. A sterile sense of male honour leads to violence and death. Recently immigrated to Milan from southern Italy, Rocco and his brothers seek a better future when a young disenchanted woman enters their lives.

Guest speaker: Sharon Wood (University of Leicester)


Thurs 26 Feb 7pm FREE
2007, Sam Garbarski, UK, Belgium, France.


Middle-aged Maggie must find a way to get enough money for her grandson’s lifesaving medical treatment. When a ‘Hostess Wanted’ sign catches her eye, Maggie naively stumbles into a city sex club. Shy Maggie has a rough start at ‘Sexy World’, more than just a train ride from her conservative suburb.

Guest speaker: Director of Services at Ugly Mugs and a member of the National Police Working Group on Prostitution Alex Bryce


Thurs 5 March 7pm FREE
1964, Vittorio De Sica, Italy (subtitled)


In Naples, in the Second World War, the businessman Domenico Soriano meets the seventeen years old prostitute Filumena Marturano (Sophia Loren) in a brothel during an allied bombing. Flash forward to the post-war years, and the two meet again, sparking a passionate affair that spans two decades.

Guest speaker: Pia Covre, vice-president  of the Committee for Prostitutes Civil Rights, Italy.


Thurs 12 Mar 7pm FREE
2012, Nick Mai, UK.


Normal is creative documentary based on original anthropological research on the relationship between migration, the sex industry and sex trafficking. The film brings the real life stories of male, female and transgender migrants working in the sex industry to the screen.

Guest speaker: To be confirmed.


Thur 19 Mar 7pm FREE
2009, Pietro Marcello, Italy (subtitled)


Multi-award winning Pietro Marcello’s feature documentary unfolds a beautiful love story between Mary and Enzo who have been waiting and wanting each other since they first met behind bars. Set in the Italian port town of Genoa, the film is a tribute to love and to the city.

Guest speaker: Porpora Marcasciano, president of the MIT (Transsexual Identity Movement), and director of Divergenti – Festival Internazionale di Cinema Transessuale, Bologna, Italy

Information via Phoenix & Leicester Red Project

The Leicester Red Project is a six week season that aims to raise awareness around the stereotypical and stigmatizing representations of sex workers.  For more information, please visit their website: http://www.leicesterredproject.co.uk/


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