Directed by Anne Lewis
Color, 29:30 minutes, 1992
A native of eastern Kentucky, Belinda Mason was, as she says, “a small town journalist, a young mother, a reliable Tupperware party guest” until she became infected with the HIV virus in 1987. She decided to go public with her condition and spent the rest of her life as a powerful advocate for AIDS prevention, education, treatment, and human rights.
In this program, Belinda talks about her own experiences dealing with AIDS and the support she found within her rural community: “AIDS is less about dying than about choosing how to live.” Included is a presentation she made with her pastor to members of the Southern Baptist Convention: “People ask me if I think AIDS is a punishment from God. I can’t pretend to fathom what God is thinking, but maybe we should look at AIDS as a test, not for the people who are infected, but for the rest of us.” Belinda also comments on her role and responsibilties as a national spokesperson for people with AIDS, saying “One Bush Administration insider, when asked to explain the President’s decision to bestow a coveted seat on the National Commission on AIDS on me, observed that I was ‘palatable’ like mashed potatoes and gravy.” Funny, down to earth, and never self pitying, Belinda speaks with a moving eloquence of our need for a collective response to AIDS which is not crippled by racism, homophobia, fear or ignorance.
“Belinda Mason’s warmth, wisdom, and determination has provided us with a legacy that should inspire us for decades to come. One of the many powerful insights she left us was that, in contrast to excessive and unreasonable fear of HIV, we should all be worried about losing our humanity by failing to respond, for, as Belinda said, ‘In all of human history, there has never been a cure for that.'” Dr. June Osborn, Chairperson, National Commission on AIDS
“Belinda the AIDS activist, Belinda the healer, Belinda the talker, Belinda the narrator of this program, invites people to be open and unafraid and then demands, in her undemanding way, that they do the right thing.” Kate Black, AIDS activist, Lexington, Kentucky
“…indelibly portrays an inspiring role model whose priorities influenced how she lived and helped others…” Booklist
“Belinda” is a film of extraordinary grace…not about persons with AIDS, it is fundamentally about what it means to be human and what it takes for a society and a church to remain human.” Malcolm Warford, President/Bangor Theological Seminary
“…Anne Lewis has produced her most powerful and important documentary yet. “Belinda” speaks eloquently for a generation of HIV infected people. We teach listening to the patient’s perspective, but this film teaches us much more about the life choices we all face and make. It is wonderfully sensitizing to the human condition.” John Standridge, M.D.
“This remarkable woman’s witness…challenges all of us who would live a faith that counts for something.” The Religious Public Relations Council/Wilbur Awards