Thrive by Jamie Dispirito is competing for the top prize at the 2020 Iris Film Festival
Written and directed by Jamie Dispirito, Thrive stars Taofique Folarin and Ben Aldridge.
The story of the film focuses on a hook-up between two young men – they make a connection, but it quickly becomes apparent they’re looking for different things.
Thrive has been selected in competition for the Iris Prize in 2020.
Thrive has already won the Grand Jury Prize for Best International Short Film at the 2019 OutFest queer film festival in Los Angeles.
Over 240 films screened at the festival, which ran for 12 days.
We caught up with Jamie Dispirito following the film’s win at OutFest.
This is your debut as a director, how does it feel to have your work recognised in this way?
As a first-time writer/director, it feels unexpected but brilliant. More importantly, getting recognition that the film has been understood is what feels so great.
The film tackles HIV stigma – why was this a story that you wanted to tell?
The reality of living with HIV today is very different to what is predominantly portrayed in film. We wanted to make a film that updates the narrative.
How do you hope that people feel when they’re watching Thrive?
I wrote Thrive as a love letter to the HIV+ community. I hope that when a person living with HIV watches it, they can relate, and see themselves portrayed accurately on screen – for example, living and thriving and not dying!
For the audience at large, I hope it’s a film that encourages empathy and understanding for the characters – just like any good film.