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March 2007

First Look:


Directed by Nelson George
Producer: Mark A. Baker
Executive Producers: Jamie Foxx, Marcus King, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone, and Jamie Rucker King
Screenwriters: Nelson George, Jim McKay, Hannah Weyer
Cast: Queen Latifah, Wendell Pierce, Rachel Nicks, Anna Deavere Smith, Evan Ross, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gloria Reuben

Inspired by a true story, LIFE SUPPORT uses a mix of actors and real people from the HIV/AIDS community to tell the story of an HIV-positive Brooklyn woman named Ana (Queen Latifah), who channels her energy and regret over past drug addiction into working for Life Support, an AIDS outreach group. Ana, who contracted the virus by sharing drugs with her husband Slick (Wendell Pierce), displays an admirable though obsessive passion for her job that puts her health at risk, and her stubbornness threatens to drive her already fractured family away. Ana's teenage daughter Kelly (Rachel Nicks) is particularly at odds with Ana; she lives with her grandmother Lucille (Anna Deavere Smith), and isn't interested in moving back in with Ana when Lucille announces she's moving to Virginia. When Kelly's HIV-infected gay friend Amare (Evan Ross) disappears, Ana, looking to connect with her daughter while helping a lost soul, throws herself into searching for him. She embarks on a dangerous but necessary journey, and as she seeks to save one life and heal another, Ana learns a poignant lesson about loving and letting go.

Director and co-writer Nelson George got the idea to make a film inspired by his family - and more specifically, his sister Andrea's life - about five years ago. "I was following Andrea around for a month or two to different AIDS events. At one event in Bed-Stuy for World AIDS Day they were giving testimonials at a support group. When they finished, everyone went to the rooftop carrying red balloons, and they released them one by one in the name of someone who had died. It was very emotional. I knew right then and there that I would work some of that into the film, and it later became the ending of LIFE SUPPORT."

Says Queen Latifah, "What appealed to me about the project is that I could relate to the story. I spent a lot of time in Brooklyn during my teenage years, and I was very fortunate to come through that time period healthy, and to change my life and get back on course. I can relate to the character of Ana in that respect."

Executive producer Shelby Stone points out that "this is not a 'hood' movie. It's a working-class poor movie, and that's a very important distinction. These are people who are building families and working and having a life. Maybe not in the best neighborhoods, but with a lot of dignity."

Adds Nelson George, "The most important message to take away is that we need to reconnect with HIV right here in the States. It's killing a lot of people, it's altering the lives of the people it hasn't killed, and it's totally preventable. If this film reopens that dialogue, we've done good."

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