Ron Sylvester’s professional career is impressive.

For more than 25 years, he has been producing/directing a wide range of video projects. RS/tv Inc. – the publicity and production company he started in 2004 and leads as president and CEO – has worked with every major Hollywood film studio. The company produces online entertainment content for at major events such as Comic Con, Sundance Film Festival and The Toronto International Film Festival, as well as Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe coverage. RS/tv Inc. has managed the logistics of the Primetime Emmy’s Red Carpet and backstage press center for the last eight years.

Equally impressive is his extensive history working with nonprofits.

Ron Sylvester '85

Most notably, he was president and chairman of the board of the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach from 2009 to 2016. During this time, he also served as executive producer for QFILMS and The Long Beach LGBTQ Film Festival, and he is one of the founders of the Long Beach AIDS Ride and the LGBTQ Center’s annual fundraising gala, The Black and White Ball. He served a six-year term on the APLA Health Board of Directors and for three years chaired the Committee on Advancement, Government Affairs and Communications. Sylvester has held a board position with the Historical Society of Long Beach and The Entertainment AIDS Alliance, which raised funds for AIDS charities nationwide. He currently serves on the Long Beach Harvey Milk Park/Equality Plaza Selection Committee.

His recent project – the feature-length documentary “Commitment to Life”– combines the two.

While Sylvester was serving on the board of APLA Health, which started as AIDS Project Los Angeles in 1981 as a response to the AIDS crisis, he and other board members were discussing how the organization would commemorate its 40th anniversary. There was a thought to make a short film about the early days and the star-studded fundraising Commitment to Life Dinners that APLA produced at that time. 

“We thought we would show it during an event celebrating the anniversary. Since I was one of the only ones with production and entertainment experience, I volunteered to supervise the project,” Sylvester said. “As we got more into the planning, we realized that we had a much bigger story to tell. So many of the films in the early days of the AIDS crisis profiled New York City’s or San Francisco's efforts, but no one had done the LA/Hollywood story.”

They decided it was time to tell that story.

“Because of my experience with running a film festival, I knew documentary filmmakers and began to interview them for the gig,” he said. “APLA was happy to fund the project, and I took on the role of executive producer. During the production, I was the liaison between APLA and the production team.”

Sylvester helped to raise money for the film, which premiered in January at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.The film has been played at more than 40 film festivals in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Now, thanks to a streaming deal Sylvester brokered with Peacock, “Commitment to Life” is currently streaming on Peacock and will have its broadcast premier at 9 p.m. April 28 on MSNBC.

Directed by Emmy Award-winning documentarian Jeffrey Schwarz (“Vito”), “Commitment to Life” gives a historical account of the intrepid group of Angelenos, including doctors, bar owners, activists, studio moguls and celebrities, who changed the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The documentary intertwines historical archives and new interviews with Alison Arngrim, Karamo Brown, Dr. Michael Gottlieb, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jonathan Murray, Melissa Rivers and Bruce Vilanch, as well as HIV/AIDS activists Stephen Bennett, Robert Contreras, Bill Misenhimer, Torie Osborn, Rev. Steve Pieters, Jewel Thais-Williams, Bamby Salcedo and Phill Wilson.

“I was excited to help tell this story, because I realized that our LGBTQ history is dying every day,” Sylvester said. “It was so important to be able to document these stories from people who were on the front lines of the early fight while they were still around to tell their stories.”

Sylvester noted that because of the advancements in HIV treatments, much has been forgotten about the early days of the AIDS crisis.

“Today’s generation has no idea of what even occurred in the 80s and 90s; especially for LGBTQ youth today, it is so important for them to learn and understand their community’s history,” he said. “I’m thrilled for ‘Commitment to Life’ to be seen by as many people as possible. We hope the film educates and inspires a new generation of leaders, while reminding us all of what we went through, in order that we never repeat it.”

More information about the film is available at

After graduating in 1985 from Clarion University with a Bachelor of Science in communications, Sylvester produced segments and special reports for a video trade publishing company in New York City. From there, he entered the public relations field, heading Edelman PR's broadcast division in New York City for seven years as senior vice president of production. During this time, he created various video projects for clients including video news releases and B-roll packages, live events, and longer format shows including a one-hour infomercial, sales videos, informational music video, instructional videos and PSAs.

Sylvester then moved to LA to continue his career in PR broadcast video. During a 10-year period, he has held various senior-level positions with production companies and PR firms producing and directing additional live and taped productions.

His awards and distinctions include: 2012 Community Grand Marshal Long Beach Pride, 2013 Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club Man of the Year, 2015 Community Advocate Award from Get Out LB Magazine, 2017 Honoree in Harvey Milk Park, Equality Plaza, and 2018 Clarion University Distinguished Alumnus Award.