MTV, mtvU, LOGO and MTV Tr3s, with subtitles in Spanish, will present the world television premiere of Pedro, a movie based on the remarkable life of The Real World’s Pedro Zamora, on Wednesday, April 1 at 8:00 PM ET/PT. BMP Films, in association with MTV, produced this biopic written by Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”). For more information and to view the movie trailer, please visit www.pedro.mtv.com.
In 1994, Zamora captured the hearts of millions as the first-ever openly gay, HIV-positive main character on TV — on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco. Zamora’s time in the house on Lombard Street brought a face to the AIDS crisis. President Bill Clinton has long credited Zamora with personalizing and humanizing the epidemic, and he will introduce Pedro when it makes its world television premiere April 1st.
“To this day, Pedro Zamora remains an extraordinary example of what a huge impact one young person can make in our world,” President Clinton said. “I’m glad to have known him, and I’m grateful his life has been able to inspire and enrich so many others.”
Told through the eyes of his friends and family, the film Pedro celebrates the extraordinary life a young man who found out he was HIV positive at 17, then made the courageous decision to dedicate his life to speaking out about the disease. Zamora testified before the United States Congress to argue for more explicit HIV/AIDS educational programs aimed at youth of color before auditioning for The Real World in 1993.
Zamora’s appearance on The Real World brought his story and message to a national audience; and when his health began to deteriorate in late 1994 (after he left the show), his condition quickly became front page news nationwide. His death at age 22, following the final episode of “The Real World,” provoked a worldwide outpouring of grief.
“Our historic, simultaneous premiere of the film across multiple networks demonstrates the power of Pedro’s journey to reach a vast array of audiences, just as it did 15 years ago,” said Brian Graden, President of Entertainment, MTV Networks Music Channels and President of Logo. “His story originally ignited a national dialogue, permanently impacted our consciousness around the challenges of HIV, and gave untold millions the courage to open up about their sexual orientation. For those of us who remember him as a treasured television friend, and for a new generation coming to his story for the first time, we remain grateful for the gift of his story.”
“Pedro made us promise to tell his story to his very last breath; this film delivers on that promise by telling his entire life story in a scripted film – including his early life in Cuba, his teen years in Miami and the final months of his life as he fought to stay alive,” said BMP Films President, Jon Murray. “For the first time viewers will see all the forces that made Pedro the man he was and gave him the courage to take his message of AIDS education to a nationwide audience.”
Nearly 15 years since Pedro heightened national awareness of HIV/AIDS, the epidemic in the U.S. remains a serious concern, especially among younger Americans (under 30) who account for a larger share of new infections than any other age group. Other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – such as chlamydia and gonorrhea – are even more common, with one in two sexually active Americans being infected by age 25 – and most not knowing it. Since 1997, MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation have partnered to inform millions of young adults about HIV, other STDs and related sexual health issues. Beginning in April (STD Awareness Month), MTV and Kaiser will partner with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its nearly 880 affiliate health centers to make an aggressive push to inform America’s young people about STDs, as well as help normalize and drive increased testing. Full details on the rest of the campaign will be unveiled soon.
Planned Parenthood is also developing an educational discussion guide for teens, young adults, and parents to use when they watch the Pedro premiere on MTV. It will be available for download on MTV’s www.ItsYourSexLife.com and on Planned Parenthood’s website at www.plannedparenthood.org.
Pedro was Produced by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, Chris Panizzon and Anne Clements (“Quinceanera”). Jon Murray, Gil Goldschein and Scott Freeman of Bunim-Murray Productions served as Executive Producers along with Paris Barclay. Pedro was directed by Nick Oceano and written by Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) with story by Paris Barclay and Dustin Lance Black. Pedro stars Alex Loynaz as Pedro, Justina Machado (“Six Feet Under”) as Pedro’s sister Mily, and Hale Appleman (“Teeth”) as Pedro’s roommate from The Real World, Judd. Maggie Malina is executive producer for MTV.