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Villanova Student-Produced Social Justice Documentary, “POSI+IVE,” to Premiere at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center

Film Examines a South African Woman’s Struggle to Overcome Poverty, Destroy the Stigma of HIV

Villanova Student-Produced Social Justice Documentary, “POSI+IVE,” to Premiere at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- A social justice documentary, “POSI+IVE”—produced by students at Villanova University—follows Mandisa Madikane, a black, lesbian, South African woman, as she uses her voice to inspire those battling against the stigmas of HIV, race, and gender. At the age of six, Madikane contracted HIV after being sexually assaulted by a family friend yet only learned of her disease nearly a decade later. Instead of viewing her diagnosis as a death sentence, Madikane became a motivated activist determined to remove the stigma attached to her identity. “POSI+IVE” will premiere at 7 p.m., May 5 at the Kimmel Center. The screening is free and open to the public.

The student-produced documentary was filmed last fall on location in South Africa by a social justice documentary class of 15 Villanova students and two staff members. It explores the topics of racism, sexism, HIV, and empowerment through the powerful voices of black women.

“Through Mandisa Madikane’s story, we hope to raise awareness and ignite conversation about the serious global issues that are often neglected,” said Line Producer and Multimedia Producer, Princess Garrett. “We want people to see our documentary and feel compelled to take action. Most importantly, we hope our documentary will amplify the voices of those who are often silenced.”

One Step Films, the student-run production company that created “Posi+ive,” seeks to share the stories of those who are facing injustices in their everyday lives. The group will sponsor a May 3 conference titled “NEGA+IVE: Understanding Our Ignorance” in conjunction with the upcoming premiere of “POSI+IVE.” The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 6 p.m. in Driscoll Hall Auditorium at Villanova University.

For more information about “POSI+IVE” and to view the film’s trailer visit

The Social Justice Documentary Film course is offered by the Department of Communication in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Science, and gives students an opportunity to create documentary films that spotlight a contemporary social justice issue. The class is made possible through the support of Villanova’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society.