One of the most stirring Irish documentaries this year will be getting a wide cinema release across the island early next month. Innovative and illiuminating, How to Tell A Secret has shown throughout the year at the Galway Film Fleadh, GAZE and more, and on 1st December, even more audiences can see its vital message regarding disclosure.
A powerful examination of the experiences of people who are living with HIV in Ireland today, How to Tell A Secret is a hybrid documentary film that looks at social stigma and the art of telling your story. The highly anticipated film will open on limited release in select Irish cinemas from Thursday 1st December, coinciding with World AIDS Day 2022.
Robbie Lawlor was diagnosed with HIV at 21 and became one of the youngest people to come out on Irish television. Enda McGrattan, also known as Veda, promised to keep their HIV status a secret for a decade but eventually broke free by releasing a song. And a group of Irish and migrant women, who cannot show their faces, found creative ways to have their voices heard…
In this compelling film, directors Anna Rodgers and Shaun Dunne use documentary, performance and genre-blurring storytelling techniques to communicate a powerful message. The stories in this film move between bodies of young men, migrant women, drag artists and activists. Featuring a cast of actors as well as ordinary people coming out on screen for the first time, the film also includes a dramatic tribute to Thom McGinty, aka The Diceman with a reenactment of his historic appearance on The Late Late Show in the 1990s.
Based on a theatre show, director Anna Rodgers saw a performance of ‘Rapids ’by Shaun Dunne, and approached him to work together on an artistic collaboration for the screen. Together they expanded on the world of the original play by working with new contributors and a stellar cast of Irish actors including Lauren Larkin, Jade Jordan, and Eva Jane Gaffney who take on the hidden stories of women who are living with HIV.
How To Tell A Secret was directed by Anna Rodgers & Shaun Dunne and produced by Zlata Filipovic for Invisible Thread Productions. Music for the film was scored by Michael Fleming and Hugh Rodgers, Eleanor Bowman was the director of photography and it was edited by Paul Mullen. This film was made as part of the Reel Arts award with The Arts Council of Ireland / An Comhairle Ealaíon.
With a refreshingly innovative approach, the interplay between actors performing the stories of people living with HIV, to us hearing from those people themselves works very well and builds to an emotion and
well-told climax in this doc. We’re looking forward to seeing it again in December.