SAN FRANCISCO, June 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The HIV Story Project, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization focused on bridging HIV/AIDS with film, media and storytelling to fight global stigma associated with the disease, today launched GenerationsHIV.org -- a new online video archive that will feature 1,000+ testimonials about HIV/AIDS by people from all walks of life.
Five years in the making, GENERATIONS HIV is a "Digital Media AIDS Quilt for the 21st Century," and it is poised to become the most comprehensive video platform on the Internet about HIV/AIDS.
"As we enter the 35th year of the global HIV/AIDS Pandemic, people are now living longer, and our stories are becoming more nuanced, complex, and challenging," said Marc Smolowitz, executive producer and co-founder of The HIV Story Project. "Now more than ever, the need for powerful storytelling programs remains paramount to any HIV/AIDS community building strategy. Our hope is that the GenerationsHIV.org will emerge as a gathering place for all of us to recall, remember and look ahead to the future."
The launch of the GENERATIONS HIV archive and GenerationsHIV.org was made with community leaders, project partners and HIV/AIDS activists on the steps of San Francisco City Hall symbolically on June 5th, the day thirty four years ago in 1981, when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported the first case of AIDS in the United States and National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day.
The GENERATIONS HIV archive is co-presented by the Office of San Francisco Supervisor Wiener, National AIDS Memorial Grove, and Let's Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome) and involves many supporters, including partnering with 30+ HIV/AIDS funders and nonprofits to bring the storytelling booth into places and spaces that serve diverse and underserved communities.
"Four decades into the global AIDS pandemic, HIV/AIDS still affects millions of people every day, particularly the LGBT community here in San Francisco," said Scott Wiener, San Francisco District 8 Supervisor, who attended the launch event. "The Generations HIV Archive provides a unique interactive platform for experiencing the history, impact of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic and the countless stories that need to continue being told."
The HIV Story Project developed the concept in 2010 by creating an interactive Generations HIV Video Storytelling Booth at Under One Roof in San Francisco to record video testimonials about people's experiences with HIV/AIDS. It functioned like a photo booth but instead of taking pictures, it recorded video testimonials about people's experiences with HIV/AIDS. The project grew from there, staging ten storytelling film events in San Francisco and Oakland and in Washington DC at the International AIDS Conference.
Through the online interactive platform, GenerationsHIV.org seeks to voice the stories of communities that are underrepresented and focuses on how people from different generations have been impacted and affected by HIV/AIDS, encouraging communication between them. For that purpose, participants of the storytelling booth are asked to identify with one of four age brackets: the generation that grew up before AIDS in the Seventies; when AIDS first appeared in the Eighties; during the epidemic's peak in the US in the Nineties; and since the disease has become more manageable, but not cured, in the 21st Century. From there participants are offered three video choices: To record a question geared towards a specific generation based on the 4 decade demographics; Listen to questions posed by other booth users, and record their answer in response; or Record their story for preservation in the Archive.
More than 500+ video stories are currently archived on the GenerationsHIV.org website where users can explore, share and reflect. Over the next several months, leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1st, the archive will grow to more than 1000+ stories and testimonials.
"Throughout this project, what we found is that people are actually quite hungry to speak and be heard when it comes to HIV/AIDS," added Smolowitz. "In many instances, people entered our booth pretty confident that they did not have a story to share about HIV/AIDS only to exit the experience transformed, inspired, even grateful."
The HIV Story Project is working with its supporters and partners for a permanent home for the Generations HIV Video Storytelling Booth in San Francisco so people who want to share their HIV/AIDS stories can do so and the online archive and continue to grow and evolve in the years to come. For more information about The HIV Story Project and the GENERATIONS HIV archive visit TheHIVStoryProject.org or GenerationsHIV.org.
ABOUT THE HIV STORY PROJECT:
Founded in 2009 by filmmakers Jorg Fockele and Marc Smolowitz, The HIV Story Project is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization focused on bridging HIV/AIDS with film, media and storytelling to fight global stigma associated with the disease. The organization has produced two highly regarded documentaries — the award-winning STILL AROUND (2011) and KEEP THE PROMISE: THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST AIDS (2013) — both films have screened widely around the world. Its latest film — DESERT MIGRATION — will world premiere at Frameline39 on June 25th, 2015. Since 2010, the agency has staged its interactive video storytelling booth — GENERATIONS HIV — 10+ times at various locations around San Francisco, Oakland and at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. The online video archive featuring this content goes live on June 5th, 2015. The HIV Story Project also offers media production services, consultation, and training to HIV/AIDS nonprofits in San Francisco and beyond.
Marc Smolowitz, HIV Story Project 415-370-0434 Email
Kevin Herglotz, National AIDS Memorial Grove 415-963-2601 Email