POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—In honor of World AIDS Day, Vassar College will screen the Cannes award-winning short documentary film Still Here by Vassar alumnus Alex Camilleri on Wednesday, December 1, at 5:30 pm in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film’s Rosenwald Film Theater (room 109). The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and his subject, AIDS awareness advocate Randy Baron. Free and open to the public, this event is sponsored by the Office of Health Education, Counseling Service, Health Services, ProHealth, the Film Department, Alumnae/i Affairs and Development, and the Campus Life Office.
Alex Camilleri's film Still Here was selected as the best student documentary at this year’s American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival. This 20-minute film profiles New York City native Randy Baron, who has been infected with HIV for 30 years, and, through a rare genetic mutation, has had the gift of continued health, making him an inadvertent witness to the AIDS epidemic.Still Here captures how Baron has given his life new meaning by working to help to prevent the spread of the disease that has devastated his life and the lives of his friends.
Dr. Baron explained that: “I’ve outlived my partner and friends by decades. I feel absolutely compelled to use this gift of continued health to give something back to the world. I can’t bring any of my friends back, but maybe I can use my story and experiences to help stop the spread of this horror. I also like to think that in some small way, by doing this work, my friends did not die in vain, and for a brief moment they can speak again through me.”
Camilleri, a 2010 Vassar graduate, first heard Baron speak to a small group at Vassar during the 2008 World’s AIDS Day commemoration, and was immediately affected. “His words rattled me," said Camilleri. "In my past experiences as a young filmmaker, I had really only felt a drive to tell the stories that were important to me and me alone. After hearing Randy’s story, I felt that other people needed to hear it, too.”
In addition to recognition at Cannes, the documentary Still Here has been selected and commended by a number of other film festivals, including:
- New York City Downtown Short Film Festival (Winner, Best Gay/Lesbian Film, 2010)
- SENE Film Music Arts Festival (Winner, Best LGBT Film, 2010)
- Ivy Film Festival (Winner, Audience Choice Award, 2010)
- Accolade Competition (Winner, Award of Excellence in Film, 2010)
- Connecticut Film Festival (Official Selection, 2010)
- Breckenridge Festival (Official Selection, 2010)
- Los Angeles International Film Festival (Honorable Mention, 2010)
- Angelus Student Film Festival (Official Selection, 2010)
- Big Bear Lake International Film Festival (Official Selection, 2010)
- Starz Denver Film Festival (Official Selection, 2010)
- Vassar FilmFest (“Featured Short Film,” 2010)
For additional information about the film and for a limited time to view it online, visit http://www.randyisstillhere.com/. The creative team of Still Here includes: Alex Camilleri ’10 (director), David Viste ’10 (cinematographer), Kyle Porter ’10 (sound), Amrita Kundu ’10 and Camilleri (editors).
About Randy Baron
Dr. Randolph (Randy) Baron was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BS degree from SUNY and his OD degree from SUNY College of Optometry. He has practiced in a variety of settings, including HMOs and private practice. Baron has also taught in a clinical setting at SUNY. He has served as a docent at the American Museum of Natural History, a peer facilitator for long-term HIV survivors at the Gay and Lesbian Center in New York City, and a volunteer for Pride for Youth, which runs a coffee house for gay, lesbian, and transgendered teens on Long Island. Baron also has given HIV presentations in a variety of settings that include colleges, high schools, PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and Planned Parenthood.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.