An inspirational, emotionally-gripping story of one man's survival and transformation in the face of AIDS will soon hit the screen in Atlanta. The documentary film, "White Shadows," will make its Georgia premiere at the "In The Life Atlanta" film festival on September 2 at 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Colony Square in Midtown.
Shown in connection with Atlanta Black Gay Pride 2006, the film chronicles the life of Dalee Henderson, an African-American celebrity hairstylist who is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and must reconcile himself to the changes the disease affects upon his body and mind. The Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center in collaboration with the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and SisterLove, Inc. will present "White Shadows" at the film festival.
Mialyn Hanna, the film's producer and director, will attend the Atlanta premiere along with one of the film's cast members. The public will have an opportunity to meet the director and a cast member immediately following the premiere.
"White Shadows is a vehicle for Dalee's powerful message of hope in the face of challenge," Ms. Hanna says. "Immediately upon meeting Dalee, his exceptional spiritual willpower and his consummate love for life drew me close to him. He radiated a zest for life that I hope will awaken that hidden joy in everyone who sees the film."
"White Shadows" showcases Mr. Henderson's determination to lead a triumphant life despite his struggle with HIV/AIDS. Production for the film began in 2000 and was completed in October 2005, just weeks before Mr. Henderson died in his sleep on November 27, 2005.
Mr. Henderson was raised in the 1950s in Tifton, then a small, rural, segregated town in Georgia. In the late 1970s, he moved to the West Coast, where he began living an openly gay lifestyle and gained fame and popularity as a celebrity hairdresser. While in Los Angeles, Mr. Henderson amassed many friends and attained both personal and professional success before being diagnosed with AIDS at the peak of his career.
"He struggled to endure and finally make peace with his fate," according to the film's website, www.lemurianfilms.com. "His amazing warmth, magnetism and spiritual allure drew friends and strangers to him; seeking his advice, love and support."
"This film is a love letter to Delee, as his life was a love letter to everyone fortunate enough to have shared in his living," Ms. Hanna says. "I am delighted that the Hope Clinic and its partners have embraced the film and spearheaded efforts to showcase Dalee's message in his home state."
The Hope Clinic, the clinical core of the Emory Center for AIDS Research, offers an innovative, community-based, and scientifically grounded clinical trials program to address the need for safe and effective vaccines to prevent major global infectious diseases. The Emory CFAR also facilitates research in experimental microbicides, new antiretrovirals, and effective behavioral prevention interventions, as well as basic research to answer fundamental questions about the human immune system and HIV's effect on it. SisterLove, Inc. is the first and oldest non-profit organization in the state of Georgia established to provide education, prevention, support, sexual and human rights advocacy to women, by women, who are affected and infected with HIV or AIDS.
"Atlanta needs to see this film," says Hope Clinic community advisory board member Dewayne Mullis, "Dalee's spirit still moves many people – his legacy is of life and living. He serves as an inspiration to those of us working on the front lines to end HIV/AIDS."
For more information about "White Shadows" and screening times, visit the film's website at www.lemurianfilms.com or www.inthelifeatl.com. For more information about the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center, call (404) 377-3719 or 1-877-424-HOPE (4673), or log onto www.hopeclinic.emory.edu.