The HIV Story Project is a non-profit, multi-platform story telling/media endeavor and short film compilation about living with HIV/AIDS at the beginning of the 21st Century. Almost 30 years into one of the world’s most substantial, long term health pandemics, this project brings together individuals living with HIV/AIDS, non-profit social service organizations addressing the disease, and top filmmakers to participate in one of the largest cross-agency and cross-disciplinary efforts around HIV/AIDS the world has ever seen. Based in San Francisco and interacting with online communities around the globe, The HIV Story Project is an unprecedented collaborative story telling venture for our times that so far has been endorsed by Logo/MTV and the Berlin International Film Festival.
The HIV Story Project creates a community website and user generated content portal that invites international participants into a dialogue regarding their local perspective on the state of HIV/AIDS. An online video competition invites communities to tell their own short format stories that help inform this creative experiment. Similar to other thriving online networks, The HIV Story Project portal serves as a social network and media hub for origination and aggregation, encouraging users to comment, exchange thoughts, share experiences, raise awareness and engage with calls to action.
In this time of slashed budgets for most non-profit organizations, The HIV Story Project provides free or low cost media training, consultation and strategy support as well as video production services. We have already begun working with a number of HIV/AIDS service agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area such as Shanti, STOP Aids, PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support), BAY Positives (Bay Area Young Positives) and ALRP (AIDS Legal Referral Panel) to help with their media-, educational-, outreach- and online content needs.
In collaboration with Bay Area HIV/AIDS prevention non-profit agencies and on time for Pride Month 2010, The HIV Story Project created and installed an AIDS story telling booth. The booth functions like a photo booth but instead of taking pictures tapes video testimonies about people’s experiences living with HIV/AIDS. The focus of the video booth, which will be traveling through various neighborhoods in the Bay Area over the course of 2010, will be on the communication between different generations of people dealing with HIV/AIDS: The generation growing up before AIDS (until the Seventies), when AIDS first appeared and in the early days (Eighties), during the peek of the epidemic in the US (in the Nineties) and in the beginning of the 21st Century. The content created with the booth will become part of the web portal.
The HIV Story Project has been commissioning and funding 16 short films that portray people living with HIV/AIDS from the San Francisco Bay Area – a region that has been deeply affected by the disease. The end result will be a feature length compilation, titled STILL AROUND, that bridges a diverse slate of stories into one powerful panorama of our times. The rules are simple: By connecting well known local filmmakers with individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS, the voices of women, men, gay and straight, transgender, young and old, and of myriad ethnic backgrounds will come together to paint an unmatched portrait of how people thrive and survive in the face of long term illness. Anything goes: From straight forward vérité documentary, to music video, dance film, narrative, experimental film or animation – each piece will be 3-5 minutes in length and will tell a personal story in a truthful and forthright manner. Just as the testimonials from the video booth, the short films will be part of the web portal.
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