Walking with pride, support and strength

Documentary shows how paraplegic, HIV-positive man overcomes obstacles to complete AIDS Walk Los Angeles

April 27, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Joseph Kibler walks with Alfred Molina during the AIDS Walk Los Angeles last year. Kibler is the protagonist of "Walk On," a documentary premiering at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
Joseph Kibler walks with Alfred Molina during the AIDS… (Daily Pilot )

Alfred Molina accompanied Joseph Kibler at the AIDS Walk Los Angeles last year.

This was no ordinary partnership.

The actor, with roles in "Frida," "Spider-Man 2," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Chocolat" to his name, offered support to Kibler, who is HIV-positive and paraplegic, but was determined to successfully complete the feat.

"There's no event or way greater to show that not only am I proud of what it's taken to get to where I'm at, but what it's taken to get an entire community of HIV/AIDS survivors to that day," said the 24-year-old Glendale resident. "You can openly be HIV-positive and feel instant support, walking with 30,000 people — there's nothing that compares."

Kibler is the protagonist of "Walk On" — an 82-minute documentary on the verge of its world premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Molina will be part of the audience.

The film, which was fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society, includes vignettes of Kibler at public speaking events and reveals the extent of public information and bias about the disease.


The cameras followed Kibler as he prepared by stretching and walking between one and three hours daily to protect his legs from atrophy. Regina Hall, of "Law & Order: LA," the "Scary Movie" series and "Think Like A Man" fame, walked in a training session with Kibler.

Paralympic amputee sprinter Katy Sullivan, quadriplegic comedian Jay Cramer and Purple Heart veteran Lyvell Gipson — all Kibler's friends — also star prominently in the movie, which editor, producer and director Mark Bashian ensured is uplifting and informative, not depressing.

"Joe and I have to make sure the information we are sharing is accurate," said Bashian, who consulted with physicians and representatives of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and AIDS Project Los Angeles. "If five people can be saved from getting HIV, we've done our job. That's a huge amount of pressure and responsibility."

Kibler discovered his status at a doctor's appointment when he was 10 — a time when pediatric drugs for HIV/AIDS were few and far between. That was when his mother revealed that she had been infected by Kibler's father and given birth to twins, both HIV-positive. Her other son, John, passed away shortly after his birth.

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