Media drive gives boost to AIDS film

NEW YORK: Two filmmakers are promoting their new documentary, "Please Talk to Kids About AIDS," as a helpful tool for parents to learn how to talk to their children about the virus.

NEW YORK: Two filmmakers are promoting their new documentary, "Please Talk to Kids About AIDS," as a helpful tool for parents to learn how to talk to their children about the virus. The filmmakers' media relations and PR efforts have helped the film become a hot topic in the health world this month.

Radia Daoussi and Brian Hennessey's short film stars the couple's two daughters, who travel to the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto to interview the world's foremost experts on the disease. The filmmakers believe their film can help parents speak to their children about complex health topics such as HIV/AIDS. "We want this film to start a conversation," Daoussi said.

Without the help of a PR agency, Daoussi managed the film's PR and marketing efforts, and began by reaching out to important beat reporters who cover AIDS and healthcare, she said. Without initial success, she said her persistence, and her willingness to develop a relationship with reporters began to pay dividends.

"It was really about developing a relationship with some of these reporters and encouraging them to come down to a screening," she said. "But once they did, they were really compelled, and that was a breakthrough for us."

Her media relations effort eventually earned a story from the AP, a segment on the radio station Voice of America, and eventually a long feature in the New York Times.

Since the Times story appeared, Daoussi said they've received a flood of screening requests, and that the Departments of Education in Maryland, Florida, and Colorado have been in touch. They've even had a request from South Africa, a country ravaged by the virus.

"We haven't even had a chance to put schedules together," said Daoussi. "But we want as many people to see this film as possible."

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