Positive Hell is a 2014 UK / Spain documentary by Andi Reiss.
POSITIVE HELL is the story of five individuals who have
defied their doctors and lived on for nearly thirty years with a diagnosis of death. The film , a network of people diagnosed HIV positive in the province of Galicia, Northern Spain. How can this be? Haven't we been told that everyone who tests positive
is sure to die? Do these people have a special magic gene that protects them against HIV? Or could it be that this death sentence has been mistaken all along? The five protagonists describe their struggle to survive when faced with a death sentence,
their experiences as social pariahs, their battles with doctors and the medical orthodoxy and their absolute conviction that the science behind AIDS is cruelly wrong.
LIFF, the London Independent Film Festival has axed its screening
of the film Positive Hell, scheduled for April 17, in a move described by the film's writer and narrator, Joan Shenton, as blatant censorship and the latest case of 'no platforming' .
Shenton said that she had been contacted
by LIFF director, Erich Schultz, to say that he had pulled the film after four HIV/AIDS campaign groups had threatened protests at the screening venue and at festival sponsors' premises if we [LIFF] don't comply . Schultz also said he had
received over twenty protest letters .
Positive Hell was successfully screened at the Frontline Club in Paddington, London, last year after similar threats, though no protest actually materialised at that screening.
Positive Hell, the right to free speech and the HIV-positive people honestly depicted in the film are the victims of barefaced censorship. The film presents a view of HIV and AIDS which is not shared by
the giant pharmaceutical companies, their lobby groups and some activists, but it is an evidence-based view nonetheless and has just as much right to be aired and debated as any other.
I am flabbergasted by LIFF's censorship in
response to a handful of emails that were clearly designed to shut down this debate by intimidating the festival and its sponsors. It questions just how 'independent' the London Independent Film Festival really is.
Diary: Now showing on Sunday 17th April 2016
14th April 2016. See
press release from pressdispensary.co.uk
Following its controversial no
platform banning by the London Independent Film Festival (LIFF), announced on Monday , the HIV & AIDs film Positive Hell is to be screened in London this coming Sunday, the day originally scheduled by LIFF, but independently of the supposedly independent
festival. The film's writer, narrator and co-producer, Joan Shenton, announced this afternoon:
We do not accept that London's so-called 'independent' film festival should censor our film in this high-handed way,
nor that it has the right to tell London film-goers what they can and cannot watch, just because it was 'got at' by four charities who have a vested interest in not challenging the AIDS status quo.
So the screening of Positive
Hell will go ahead, irrespective of LIFF, at noon on Sunday April 17, at the Soho Screening Rooms in D'Arblay Street, W1, followed by a Q&A. And this time tickets are available at no charge. This is Britain, not some totalitarian regime.
Other quite mainstream film festivals are very happy to screen Positive Hell. It was even nominated for best documentary at the Marbella International Film Festival, as well as being selected for LA Cinefest, the Digital Griffix
online festival and the Indie Festival 01. And the previous time we screened Positive Hell in London, we received similar threats but nothing ever came of them.
I believe this decision by Mr Shultz and his student selection panel
is timid and incredibly short-sighted, as well as being blatant censorship and yet another denial of free speech through the practice of 'no platforming'. But we will not be censored. Sunday's screening will go ahead from noon in its new venue, and will
be followed by a Q&A which may well touch on censorship as well as debating, rather than silencing, the issues raised by the film.
The screening of Positive Hell will take place at Soho Screening Rooms, 14 D'Arblay St, London W1F
8DY. Doors will open at noon for a 12.30 showing, followed by a Q&A.
Offsite Comment: Positive Hell: silencing the HIV heretics
15th April 2016. See article from
spiked-online.com by Ella Whelan