“I’ve been HIV-positive for 31 years, so I wanted to share a little bit of that journey,” Pushing Dead writer/director, Tom E. Brown, told Borrowing Tape. “Life is just funny to me. The most interesting stuff in the world is the stuff that’s sad and funny at the same time. If life with a life-threatening illness was just sad, I’m sure that I would have keeled over a long time ago.”
Drawing on his own life experience for his feature film directorial debut, Tom E. Brown finds humour where few have before him, digging for laughs where others would find only tragedy. Pushing Dead follows Dan (James Roday), who, even after 22 years HIV positive, is still figuring out how to be open with his illness and all the sadness that it has brought him.
When Dan finds himself in a race against the clock to get his medication, the American medical system, insurance companies, and all the coffee in the world don’t seem capable of helping him. But throughout the battle, Dan’s wry humour never fails, and he’s far more concerned with buying toys from garage sales, trying to out-miserable his old BFF Bob (Danny Glover) and roommate Paula (Robin Weigert), while finally getting some writing done, and perhaps even finding love. Despite the subject matter, this is a film perfectly balanced between light silliness and cynicism, which never loses its sense of humour…even in the face of unavoidable anguish.
“Whatever crap you’re dealing with in life, I think you can almost remove HIV from the movie and insert your stuff there,” Tom E. Brown, told Borrowing Tape. “It’s a story about coping. And living. It’s a story about relationships and support systems. I really, really wanted this movie to be accessible.”
Pushing Dead is screening at The Mardi Gras Film Festival, which runs from February 15-March 2. For all venue and ticketing information, head to the official website.