The survivor


Jonathan Demme & Suellen Kehler

Director Jonathan Demme beams as Suellen Kehler testifies to the meaning of his movie Philadelphia in the lives of 53 HIV-positive extras who had roles in the Oscar-winning film from 1993. The bit players told each other that whoever among them survived must carry the torch, witnessing to the movie’s invigorating influence on them personally as well as its larger influence on society’s awareness of the epidemic. Kehler is the only survivor. The movie’s 15th anniversary was observed Thursday night in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania. The event in Philadelphia’s City Hall featured a panel discussion including Demme, writer and musician James McBride, Greater Philadelphia Film Office executive director Sharon Pinkerson, Angel L. Olmeda Jr. of Siloam Ministries, and Ronda B. Goldfein, executive director of the AIDS Law Project.


One Response to “The survivor”

  1. 1 Doug

    Inspiring — as was the movie. The back story is often more intriguing and satisfying as the main story. Thanks for sharing.

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