Ximei (2019)

         AC Films producer

          Directed and written by Andy Cohen

          Co-Directed and written by Gaylen Ross

          Executive Producer Ai Weiwei

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Ximei is a young peasant woman who contracted AIDS during China’s "Black Blood Economy”, a 1990’s government-sponsored campaign that aimed to monetize the blood of its peasants. Impoverished residents of Henan Province lined up in droves to sell their blood for a month’s wages (5 USD), so that the government could manufacture blood products to sell back on the market for easy profits. Donors and recipients became infected with HIV due to contaminated medical equipment and blood, sparking a full-blown epidemic that spread among 300,000 people. In an ominous display of how China would later respond to Covid-19, a scandalous cover up and media blackout ensues. Ximei is sequestered to live out a desolate life in the AIDS Villages where, instead of succumbing to death, she becomes determined to fight for life.

She organises victims groups, reaches out to the press to uncover the true story, and petitions local officials to receive proper medical care and for the right to move freely beyond the AIDS Villages. Through incarceration and by withholding treatment, officials try to terrorise her into silence and close down her halfway house for HIV victims. In a tour de force, Ximei musters the strength to single-handedly battle the authorities to help her fellow victims, many dying along the way, to overcome social and legal discrimination and to receive medication vital to their existence. Her courageous actions and fiery character transform the tragedy of Henan's HIV-infected outcasts into lives of hope and dignity.