Former Prisoner star Glenda Linscott (pictured), who played inmate Rita Connors in the show’s final year, has utilised the program’s loyal fan base to make a short film dealing with the issue of women unknowingly infected with HIV by their partners.

The soon-to-be-finished film, A Fairytale Life, was born of Linscott’s involvement with the Positive Women organisation.

“Whenever Prisoner fans get together, they raise money for the charity Positive Women, which helps women and families living with HIV,” Linscott told the Star Observer.

Several years ago, Prisoner co-star and Positive Women patron Anne Phelan asked her to perform the monologue Joy’s Story, taken from the real-life story of HIV-positive woman Sandy Porter, as part of a Positive Women event at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre.

“The audience was moved to tears, and so galvanised to want to do something. I thought to myself, I’ve never been involved in anything as powerful as this.

“I think it resonates because [Sandy’s] just such a great girl — a Gippsland mum with two kids whose partner, for whatever reason, didn’t feel that he could be truthful about his sexuality.

“The question that’s asked is ‘Why?’ What’s holding our beloved fathers and brothers and husbands back, with such devastating consequences?”

Her passion ignited by the response to the monologue, Linscott approached filmmaker Rohan Scott and suggested they work together in adapting it as a short film.

With a rough cut of the film now in the can, the pair have screened their work-in-progress at several Prisoner events, and even received Sandy’s blessing.

“Because it is such a fantastic piece of film, it’s transformed from simply being a film we could offer at places like Family Planning. We’re now going to enter it in film festivals in seven places around the world where HIV is on the increase.”

As their ambition has grown, so have associated costs. Linscott is now on a quest to raise more than $10,000 — via the not-for-profit HIV organisation Audacious Dreaming — to get the film finished to a professional standard and seen by as wide an audience as possible.

“The Prisoner fans are getting behind it — they’ve donated about $4000 dollars already to help it get seen. They seem excited and empowered by it, saying, ‘You know what? This isn’t just about being fanatical about a TV show. We can mobilise and be campaigners for a great cause here’. ”

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