Saturday, November 24, 2007

"How Do I Look" documentary to be featured in the 2007 New York AIDS Film Festival

Although only in its fifth year, the New York AIDS Film Festival has developed a high standard of acknowledging the importance of education and empowerment in the arts. In 2004, Meryl Streep presented the Festival’s highest honor to HBO’s Angels in America director, Mike Nichols, in recognition for his film about the heartbreak of HIV/AIDS. In 2006, the New York AIDS Film Festival commemorated the 25th Anniversary of the first diagnosed case of AIDS.

Now, in connection with the Fifth Annual New York AIDS Film Festival, New York University is hosting a special World AIDS Day screening of How Do I Look directed by Wolfgang Busch, on Saturday, December 1, 2007. A Q&A session with the documentary’s director will follow the screening.

How Do I Look is an award-winning documentary about the Harlem “Ball” community. This documentary feature originated as a community empowerment project for dancers and artists in the Ball community; it was directed by Wolfgang Busch in collaboration with assistant directors from the “Ball” community: Kevin Omni and Luna Khan. Since its early production, How Do I Look has been screened as a work-in-progress film at many prestigious American universities, such as Yale University, New York University, and Sarah Lawrence College, as part of academic curricula and student-run programs. Because the “Ball” community has been hit hard by the AIDS pandemic, from the outset Mr. Busch included in the final version of How Do I Look important messages from dancers and artists about HIV/AIDS prevention and care. As part of the New York AIDS Film Festival, a special 10-minute segment will be screened from How Do I Look, addressing HIV/AIDS. Featured in the HIV excerpt from the How Do I Look documentary are: Octavia St. Laurent, Kevin Omni, Jose Xtravaganza, Carmen Xtravaganza, Harmonica Sunbeam, Luna Khan, Kevin Aviance, Kenny Ebony, Darryck LaBeija, and Marcel Christian. Unfortunately, the “Ball” community has been devastated by the AIDS pandemic, resulting in the loss of the community’s leadership. As a community, the dancers and artists from the “Ball” scene continue to fight an uphill battle for artistic and social empowerment.

The free screening of How Do I Look will take place on Saturday, December 1, 2007, from 11 am to 12 pm at New York University at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, 53 Washington Square South, New York City. Admission to attend this special screening is free. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

For more information, please contact the director Wolfgang Busch at: Art From The Heart Films, 718-726-0831 or,

Founded in 2003 by Suzanne Engo, the New York AIDS Film Festival (NYAFF) provides a series of HIV- and AIDS-related film screenings, panel discussions, and special events. At the time of its launch, Ms. Engo said, “I know that the media can be used as a tool for social change.” Its mission is to provide the public with information about the disease by sponsoring the screenings of visual media. The New York AIDS Film Festival features diverse works, which serve as educational material about HIV/AIDS. These programs aim to promote social action in the fight against the global AIDS pandemic. Besides featuring noteworthy visual media by filmmakers and AIDS activists, the Festival also creates events to raise money for organizations whose missions include education and social activism through film.