Award Winning LGBT Short Film ‘Pick Up’ Tackles Stigma and HIV in the Modern Age


‘Pick Up’ Starring Travor Thompson (Switched at Birth), Louis Hunter (The Fosters) and Marque Richardson (Dear White People) released on Vimeo today, to coincide with National Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day – 9/27

‘Pick Up’ was an international hit on the film festival circuit, winning awards and sparking important social conversations across the globe – from Woodstock to Barcelona, from Austin to Australia – and now it is available on Vimeo.

The film’s producers wanted to make it available for free, in honor of Nat’l Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day.

‘Pick Up’ was written and directed by Joshua Alan Rogers. Produced by Michaela Starr and Joshua Alan Rogers. Executive Produced by Mike Schaefer and Michaela Starr. Cinematography by Verlon Allen. Edited by Johnny O’Neil. Cast includes Travor Thompson (Switched at Birth), Louis Hunter (The Fosters) and Marque Richardson (Dear White People).

‘Pick Up’ is the story of Jesse Ritter, a driver for a ride-sharing service in LA, who’s fallen for a handsome passenger until a secret threatens to steer them both off course. The film centers around the stigma still felt by HIV positive men in the gay community. In the film, Jesse must “come out” as HIV positive to a potential partner for the very first time. What begins as a quiet evening of driving for “Pick Up” (the latest car service to share the road with Uber and Lyft), turns into a life changing journey filled with conversations about life, sex, stigma, and guilt.

‘Pick Up’ is a unique coming out story, a coming of age story, and a story about acceptance. It’s awkwardly funny, romantic, relevant, realistic, heartbreaking, and hopeful. Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/135711400

“Pick Up was inspired by a close friend’s personal struggle to accept his HIV status and his experiences with the stigma surrounding it,” said Rogers. “He called it his ‘second coming out’ and I found this perspective not only moving and appealing as a storyteller, but also timely and relatable. It was a story that needed to be told.”

“I was immediately inspired to produce this short film,” said Starr. “Stories like Jesse’s are so socially relevant and culturally important these days. Even with advent of PrEP and antiretroviral therapy, many gay men still have a difficult time disclosing their status to a potential partner for fear of rejection and shame.”

“Pick Up was one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been a part of,” said Rogers. “It taught me the power of activism in film, the importance in giving a voice to the voiceless, of making diverse films that challenge the audience, and creating purposeful work that can start a conversation and create change.”

Rogers and Starr are hoping ‘Pick Up’ can serve as a centerpiece for a meaningful social dialogue. If your organization is interested in hosting a screening and Q&A please contact pickupscreeninginquiries@gmail.com.


About The Cast
Marque Richardson has recently gotten much critical acclaim for his role as Reggie on Netflix’s Dear White People (he also played Reggie in the 2014 film). He’s also had starring roles in HBO’s All The Way and True Blood.

Louis Hunter recently also starred in The Fosters and Troy: Fall Of A City (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3003678/)

Travor Thompson most recently could be seen on Switched At Birth and Jimmy Kimmel Live!


About The Producers
Joshua Alan Rogers is an award-winning producer, director and screenwriter from Atlanta, Georgia. For the last ten years, he’s lived in Los Angeles and produced trailers and marketing campaigns for studios and networks such as 20th Century Fox, Sony, Paramount, HBO, USA, TBS, TNT, and more. ‘Pick Up’ is his first short film.

Michaela Starr, the film’s producer and Executive Producer, is currently an associate producer on NBC’s Timeless, which was recently picked up for a second season.


“Pick Up” full short can be viewed here:

“Pick Up” short trailer can be viewed here:


“Pick Up” Facebook Page

“Pick Up” Instagram & Twitter handle

“Pick Up” IMDB Page:

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