This year marks 25-years since the release of Philadelphia.
The 1993 film, which portrays a young man dying of AIDS, remains an iconic piece of LGBTI cinema.
To mark the date, its cast will feature in a short film detailing the impact the film had on its release, and how things have changed since.
The short film also looks to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic which is still a major issue across Africa.
Set for release later this month, The Last Mile features interviews with the cast of Philidelphia, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Mary Steenburgen.
‘It’s hard for people now to realize how intense that moment in time was,’ Steenburgen says in the trailer. ‘There was a tremendous amount of fear and a lack of knowledge.’
‘I remember the different scared faces – people with scars on their faces. I remember the sadness,’ says Washington.
‘Going in and out of New York City, you ended up seeing it all over the place ― men were pushing other men around in wheelchairs,’ says Hanks.
The actor would go on to win the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a man diagnosed with AIDS.
Fighting AIDS in Africa
The film initially focuses on the film, though soon turns its focus to the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
The film has been produced by Coca-Cola, in partnership with the HIV/AIDS advocacy group (RED).
It is part of Coca Cola’s social initiative Project Last Mile, which was set up to bolster health care in African countries.
‘The strides, they’re extraordinary. But there is still a massive amount of need for attention that something like the pandemic of AIDS is going to require,’ says Hanks
‘We have come a long way. I think it’s time to continue to be inspired,’ Steenburgen adds.
19.6 million people in East and Southern Africa suffer from HIV/AIDS. Each year, this costs the lives of over one million adults and children in the continent.
The legacy of Philidephia
‘The anniversary provides us with an incredible opportunity to recognize the undeniable role the movie played in changing society’s perception of HIV/AIDS, as well as the extraordinary progress made over the last two decades,’ Carelli said.
‘While we see more understanding and less widespread fear of the disease, we want to make sure that people don’t become complacent because of the progress that’s been made,’ Carelli added.
However, not all have been so flattering of Philidephia and its legacy.
‘There’s this idea of a straight saviour,’ screeenwriter Abdi Nazemian wrote in 2014. ‘In both cases, the lead character is not only a straight man but a homophobic straight man that saves the day and saves gay men.’
‘The truth is that the gay community mobilized in an unprecedented way in response to the AIDS epidemic. They did not wait for a homophobic cowboy or a homophobic attorney to save them. They saved themselves,’ Nazemian added.
The Last Mile is due to be released on 15 November.