Saturday, February 25, 2012

brought attention to prejudices

LA Times: Across that span of 21 seasons, Pedro Zamora -- of "The Real World: San Francisco" in 1994, during its third season -- has been by far the most successful user of the show. He hasn't had that much competition in recent years, to be fair: As the show aged, producers were more likely to emphasize drunken swimming pool hookups than socially mindful agendas. Zamora was an HIV-positive, Cuban American gay man who died of AIDS the day after the "San Francisco" season finale aired. The young HIV educator -- he was 22 when he died -- was always on message. He brought a scrapbook of his education work to show his cast mates, immediately lectured them on HIV transmission and took them along on his speaking gigs. And he and his boyfriend, Sean Sasser, had a tear-jerking commitment ceremony before the cameras. That anyone who saw that season's "Real World" cannot get Zamora's story out of their minds has led us to "Pedro," a biopic by MTV and "Real World" creators Bunim-Murray, directed by Nick Oceano -- and written by Dustin Lance Black of Oscar-winning "Milk" fame. It airs on MTV Wednesday at 8 p.m., although some members of Congress are getting a sneak-peek screening earlier in the day. That is how big Zamora was -- the film also includes a reenactment of then-President Clinton's phone call of appreciation to Zamora and his family. (On MTV, Clinton will introduce the film.) "Real World" producers own the story rights to cast members' lives during their period of filming, even beyond, apparently, death. But Bunim-Murray bought Zamora's life rights as well, and so the film spans events from Zamora's family's departure from Cuba to his sudden decline and death (Pedro Zamora: from 'Real World' to real legend).

Pedro Pablo Zamora (born Pedro Pablo Zamora y Díaz, February 29, 1972–November 11, 1994) was a Cuban-American AIDS educator and television personality. Zamora, who was openly gay and publicly discussed being HIV-positive, brought international attention to HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues and prejudices through his appearance on MTV's reality television series, The Real World: San Francisco. U.S. President Bill Clinton credited Zamora with personalizing and humanizing those living with HIV—especially to Latino communities—with his activism, including his testimony before Congress. His romantic relationship with Sean Sasser was also documented on the show with the two getting married on air; their relationship was later nominated by MTV viewers for "Favorite Love Story" award (Wikipedia: Pedro Zamora).


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