New Web Series “Unsure/Positive” deals with stigma and “coming out” as HIV-positive; gets recognition from Hollywood Caucus Foundation
Creator Christian Kiley describes the series as “semi-autobiographical,” and will release the show’s first season on World AIDS Day (December 1st, 2015)
“Unsure/Positive” tells the story of Kieran, a young man who has just learned that he is HIV-positive. The first season is about the stigma that plagues him in light of his diagnosis. Kieran’s personal journey towards self-acceptance is a difficult one – mostly because he cannot find the courage to tell anyone about his status.
The dramatic series manages to illustrate the comedic irony of self-perception being both the principal conflict and the only evident solution for its main character, played by Kiley. The excellent cast is rounded out by spot-on performances from Amy DePaola as Kieran’s best friend Allie, cameos from Tommy Derrah (known for his years of work with the American Repertory Theatre), Maureen Keiller (Spotlight, Fever Pitch) and veteran improv actor and comedian Ken Breese (Inventory, Nerdist Stage).
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“Most AIDS narratives in media traditionally tend to treat HIV positive people as the ‘other,’ and usually include the inevitable death of poz characters. My story is about what it is like to be diagnosed, what it is like to deal with that information today,” says Kiley. “Recently, celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Danny Pintuaro have come out of the HIV closet, but this story is different. It’s not about bravery and honesty in the limelight; but rather the phenomenal courage and confidence it takes to come out for the vast majority of HIV positive people. They deal with problems like getting a job, keeping a job, finding health coverage, dating, disclosure, and explaining what “undetectable” means to a friend or family member. It’s complicated.”
The producing team behind Unsure/Positive consists of Kiley, a Boston indie producer, Amy DePaola of Greenview Entertainment, and Rose Ellen McCaig of Pretty Strong Girl Productions. Other key players include Associate Producer Josh Robbins of imstilljosh.com. Their Kickstarter campaign raised $10,000 in August of 2014, with production beginning just days later. Unsure/Positive was produced in cooperation with the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, and a feature length version originally fulfilled the requirements of Kiley’s M.F.A. in Media Art at Emerson College. On December 8th, Kiley will attend the 33rd Annual Caucus Awards in Hollywood, where Unsure/Positive is nominated for the Golden Circle Award, which celebrates and supports underrepresented minority voices in the entertainment industry.