Amy was a fairly well known person in the Buffalo community. She had a very visible job as one of Buffalo's ArtVoice photographers. What most people didn't know was that Amy found out at the age of 19 that she had AIDS. Once more, she found this out while learning that she was pregnant. Based on the 1/3 chance that her child would be born healthy she became the mother of a little boy named Dylan. Unfortunately, Dylan did not beat the odds and his time with us was only a few short years.
Amy kept this disease a secret from almost everyone who knew her until she decided to make this film, 5 years after originally being diagnosed with HIV.
She initially disclosed to a close group of her friends who were all filmmakers of one kind or another and we talked about making a feature length film about Amy and the many aspects of how she lives with this disease. The idea was to shoot a bunch of preliminary scenes and tie together a 5min promotional piece to see if we could attract any real sponsorship.
We set about gathering the necesary footage between Oct. and Dec. of '94. The film was primarily shot on 16mm color negative, some B&W, and a little Super-8. We put everything on ice until there was some money to process the stuff.
Unfortunately Amy's health started to decline at the end of January '95, and as is with the nature of this disease, eventually took Amy's life 3 months later.
In the summer of '95 Jodi decided to make a film from whatever footage we had shot. We processed the film and transferred everything to Beta-SP. The film was edited together in about a week.
"Because I am" premiered at Network in Buffalo to an audience of about 1,500, where it was received very well. It later won two Golds at the Buffalo Professional Communicators Awards.
We are currently seeking distribution for the film.