LOCAL NEWS: Isaiah Solomon Freeman’s White|Wash Wins Award

Plus: ActionAIDS has now transformed into ActionWellness.

A scene from White|Wash.

A scene from White|Wash.

Queer black filmmaker Isaiah Solomon Freeman won the top prize out of over 250 films competing in a regional youth filmmaker competition.

On Monday night, Isaiah Solomon Freeman’s thriller White|Wash won Best Picture at the 2016 Rough Cut Film Fest. The annual film festival for aspiring filmmakers under the age of 25 had more than 250 entries from across the region “It was an experience,” said Solomon, 24, after accepting the grand prize. “Only way to go from here is up — Golden Globes and Oscars, we’ll be seeing you in a few years.” G Philly interviewed Freeman earlier this year on his provocative short film, which explores skin bleaching and colorism within communities of color. Jessie Jordan, the lead in the film, won Best Actress for her performance, and said she was “seriously thankful to be apart of this story that desperately needs to be told. Bleaching is real and it’s killing brown people all over the world on so many levels.” Freeman plans to continue to submit the film to other film festivals and screenings.

After 30 years, ActionAIDS is changing its name to ActionWellness and plans to expand its services and outreach.

After a strategic rebranding process that began in 2014, ActionAIDS is now ActionWellness. “We spent a lot of time asking questions, listening and gathering data,” said executive director Kevin Burns during a press conference at their 12th and Arch headquarters. “What became clear at the end of that year was that, with AIDS becoming a manageable chronic disease, it is not likely to continue to be funded in a silo.” The nonprofit, which is has been in existence for three decades, now plans to also care for patients and seniors with other chronic illnesses. This expansion is partially based on the Affordable Care Act’s potential impact on Ryan White funding to HIV/AIDS nonprofits; for full funding to be given to groups like ActionWellness, they have to improve their service outreach beyond HIV/AIDS. Along with the new logo and mission, the organization expects to grow staff and projects, according to Burns.