‘Open’: A Provocative and Moving Tale of a Gay Relationship and HIV

A scene from "Open."
A scene from “Open.”

Impulse Group’s latest video presents a provocative story about a serodiscordant gay couple who bring another person into their relationship.

The video, “Open,” will be released on Thursday after a screening that evening at West Hollywood’s Eleven Lounge. It comes barely three months after Impulse Group’s “Knowing,” which portrayed an HIV negative gay man’s transition from a break-up into a new relationship with an HIV positive co-worker. That video already has attracted almost 145,000 views on YouTube.

“Open” continues the story of that couple, with “Parker,” the HIV negative partner, again played by Kyle Heinen and his lover, “Billy,” again played by Namir Nasir. “Open,” however, adds Peter Rothbard to their relationship in a five-minute story that is both sexy and moving.

The video was directed by Nino Mancuso and produced by Chris Rallo and John Saint-Denis, producers of “Knowing.” It was written by Saint-Denis and Ian Klein.

“Several of the people who worked on this were in serodiscordent relationships,” said Saint-Denis, a designer whose Advisorie Group provides branding and marketing services for the design industry. “We wanted to show the complexities of that … We wanted to show a real situation and maybe an ideal situation blended in with that.”

Klein, who also has a brief appearance in the video, is a senior producer at Column Five, which provides print, digital and video design services to a wide array of businesses. He said he was inspired to work with Saint-Denis after seeing “Knowing.” “I saw ‘Knowing’,” he said. “I knew that you had to do more.” Klein said he sees the video as “exploring the responsibility of communicating one’s (HIV) status. It’s complicated, he noted, with a gay serodiscordant couple entering into what may be a one-night stand with another man and thinking “hey, we are into you. But here’s this information that is personal.”

Impulse Group is an organization of young gay men committed to educating their peers about the risk of HIV transmission. The group is sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and has operations in Mexico City and Fort Lauderdale as well as West Hollywood and is expanding into Atlanta, Dallas and New Delhi.

Tomorrow night’s screening of “Open,” timed to coincide with International Condom Day, will be at Eleven, on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Larrabee. Admission is free but space is limited, so advance registration is requested. That can be done online.