Filmmaker Anthony Williams was all smiles at his North Carolina red carpet premiere of his independent film project “Thicker Than Blood” on Feb. 1 at The Cary Theatre, 122 E. Chatham St. In fact, the first screening was sold out in the two-screenings event.

Produced in North Carolina by Second Glance Productions and the North Carolina Health Equity Group (NCHEG), the film tells the story of Jordan, a gay man raised in a homophobic household, who returns home for the first time in three years to celebrate his older brother’s promotion to partnership in a prestigious law firm. Unfortunately, during the festivities “secrets are revealed, masks are uncovered and some things are said that just can’t be taken back,” Williams shared. The family is tasked with trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces and put them back together before losing each other forever.

Filmmaker Anthony Williams.
Photo Credit: Shelly Booker Photography, LLC

Williams shared that the premiere “went above and beyond our expectations. The audience laughed in all the right places, felt all the emotions and could relate or sympathize with what was happening on the screen. As a filmmaker, sitting back and watching the audience and feeling their energy and love was more than I could ever ask for.”

Audience members felt the film was compelling, relatable and made them laugh, cry and connect with the characters, from comments made to Williams afterward.

“Thicker Than Blood” stars Atlanta, Ga. natives Kevin Boles, Jr. as Jordan and Tony Bravado as brother Richard, Charlottean Thom McKinney as Richard, Sr. (the father), Christina Smith who hails from Spartanburg, S.C. as Marilyn (the mother), Raleigh, N.C. natives Destiny Diamond McNeill as Selena (Richard’s girlfriend) and Florencio Martinez as Cameron (Jordan’s boyfriend).

“Highlighting the stigma and challenges of living with HIV, as well as the often hidden intolerance of LGBTQ members in the Black/African-American community, ‘Thicker Than Blood’ raises thought in the mind and strikes an emotional chord in the heart,” he added.

Screenings are planned across the state from Feb. 6-8 and 19 as a way to celebrate National Black HIV Awareness Day. They are free and open to the public.

Locations and times are: Greensboro, N.C., Feb. 6,  11 a.m., Higher Ground, 210 E. Bessemer Ave.; Winston-Salem, N.C., Feb. 7, 5 p.m., Winston Salem State University, Thompson Center, 601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.; Charlotte, N.C., Feb.. 7, 6 p.m. social, 7 p.m. screening, BTAN Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, New Science Center, 100 Beatties Ford Rd.; Durham, N.C., Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m., ReCity Durham, 112 Broadway St.; Fayetteville, N.C., Feb. 7, 7 p.m., E.E. Smith Recreation Center, 1520 Slater Ave.; Raleigh, N.C., Feb. 7, 7 p.m., Wake County Commons Bldg., 4011 Carya Dr.; Winston-Salem, N.C., Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., Wake Forest University, Wingate Hall, Lower Auditorium, 1834 Wake Forest Rd.; and Greenville, N.C., Feb. 19, 3:15 p.m., East Carolina Hendrix Theater, Mendenhall Student Center, E. 5th St.

A few cast members will be in attendance at certain screenings to participate in a Q&A session and answer any questions from the audience. Free HIV testing will also be available on site at selected screening locations.

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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.