During lockdown the CHIVA Youth Committee have been working on a short film they are making to raise awareness about growing up with HIV. This film will be subtitled and signed in British Sign Language (BSL) and made specifically for the deaf community. The CYC could not find any deaf youth friendly resources about HIV online, and had heard about incidences of discrimination towards young people living with HIV. They felt really strongly that perhaps the deaf community were missing out on some key education messages.
Working with 'My Life Productions' the group held a weekly virtual 'Film Club'. We started by talking about films, TV programmes and stories we all enjoyed, and Kris from My Life helped the group to learn about story structure and key story writing techniques such as the 'Hero's Quest'. We watched a short film about anxiety and young people which My Life made earlier on in 2020 and explored the use of surprise and 'twists' in story telling.
We came up with two lead characters, one of whom is deaf and also has HIV. The story follows one friend learning about the others' HIV, and, after some initial stigma and misunderstanding, being educated about HIV and being able to support their friend.
A key aim for the group was to keep the focus on the issues of communication for the deaf community. We talked about what it is like to have to rely on a BSL signer, to often be isolated and alone in spaces where young people are hanging out, and to have a lack of privacy when it comes to your healthcare information.
A script is now being written and the group hope to start filming later this year!