“Bumming Cigarettes” is a short film about a brief but intimate meeting between a young black lesbian and a middle-aged, HIV-positive, black gay man.
The woman, Vee, had just encountered a traumatic break-up with her girlfriend and is in the process of taking an HIV test at a local clinic to alleviate her greatest fear. There, she meets Jimmy. The film captures them sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings while also sharing a cigarette, as she’s waiting for her test results.
“‘Bumming Cigarettes’ is bringing HIV/AIDS awareness right to our doorstep,” Dejáy B. Duckett, the associate director of the Arthur Ross Gallery and event organizer, said. “Given that it’s Penn’s Year of Health andWorld AIDS Day, the timing is perfect to dispel the stigma, especially among minority groups, so that people who need help can get help.”
Directed by Philadelphia filmmaker Tiona.m, “Bumming Cigarettes” addresses HIV/AIDS and themes of relationship, love and loss.
In March, the Centers for Disease Control published a report on the transmission of HIV between two female intimate partners. Tiona.m says this development has added another dimension and increased creditability to his work and advocacy.
“I had personally heard of stories of lesbian and queer women who had acquired HIV from their partners, but without medical validity these cases remained as myths. With this CDC announcement, I now have a chance to not only engage the medical community but also push for the use of the film to encourage dialogue around the issue,” Tiona.m said. “I also now can align the film’s narrative with the facts that could aid in the advocacy for more targeted testing in a community that I greatly care about.”
There will be a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker and cast members, as well as a light reception, following the film screening.
Located at 220 South 34th St., inside the Fisher Fine Arts Library, the Arthur Ross Gallery is free and open to the public.