“All of my friends and colleagues who have contracted HIV are dying. How can I help?”

High school friends, Ric Weiland, Bill Gates, and Paul Allen took their collective love of computers and technology and went on to work together at Microsoft. By day, Ric was a programmer and developer who took pride in what he was creating and by night he was as gay as the day is long. Everyone knew, but no one cared. Everything was going great, until the AIDS crisis changed everything.

After being diagnosed as positive, Ric decided to use his massive wealth for good and gave as much away as he could while he was still alive. He didn’t do it for the fame or recognition, he did it because he could. Battling a deadly disease and chronic depression, Ric wasn’t able to do everything he set out to, but made sure his legacy would continue on and do the best they could to do good in this world.

With a mix of reenactments, old photographs & home movies, and talks with those who were closest to him, this documentary doesn’t pander or preach. Ric was a brilliant technical mind who wanted to give back to the community that accepted him at a time when we were being condemned for our “debaucherous lifestyle”. Even after his death, Ric’s work is widely remembered by those who loved him and will be talked about by those future generations he indirectly helped.

Director Aaron Bear brings back to life the story of a man few people might never have known. Ric, while a personable man, didn’t ask for recognition for his charitable contributions, he just wanted to help. His legacy as a philanthropist will live on and hopefully generations will be able to watch this and learn that there are some people out there who want to do good for those who are in trouble. He looked at a world that was changing and wanted to make sure that everyone got a fair shake.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival will screen YES I AM: THE RIC WEILAND STORY online and in cinemas. Tickets and more info can be found HERE

Reviewed online (screener provided by Melbourne Documentary Film Festival), July 14, 2021. Rating: TBC. Running time: 62 min.

PRODUCTION: Producers: Amber Bear, Matty Brown, Wes Hurley. Executive producers: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Aaron Bear.

CREW: Director: Aaron Bear. Writer: Wade Laurels. Editing: Celia Beasley, Matty Brown, Stephen Michael Simon. Cinematography: Gabriel Bienczycki, Brian Liepe.

CAST: (voice) Zachary Quinto.

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