Still Around

Still Around

82′, color, USA, 2011
A feature length compilation of 15 short films
DVD includes: Closed Captions and Chapter Markers

Executive Producers: Marc Smolowitz and Jörg Fockele

File under: All Films, Health, HIV/AIDS, Home Video, LGBT Studies, Women Studies

Synopsis

Commemorating the 30-year anniversary of the epidemic in 2011, The HIV Story Project, a San Francisco based film collective, commissioned and produced 15 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 is “Still Around,” a feature length compilation that weaves a diverse slate of stories into one powerful video AIDS quilt of our times. From straight forward vérité documentary, to spoken words piece, dance film or experimental short anything goes. Each piece is 4-5 minutes in length and tells a personal story in a truthful and forthright manner.

Connecting 16 of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most established as well as emerging directors with 15 individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS, the voices of women, men, transgender, gay and straight, young and old, and of many ethnic backgrounds come together to paint an unmatched portrait of how people thrive and survive in the face of long term illness.

Featuring 15 Short Films

Hoping Wishing Praying directed by Sade Huron
An experimental short illuminating the intensely personal poem “What’s Inside of Me” by spoken word artist Roxanne Hanna Ware.

Blur directed by Amir Jaffer
Dr. Richard Jones, a retired optometrist, recalls homophobia and being shunned by friends soon after the AIDS epidemic began.

Instant Dad directed by Rick Osmon
“Instant Dad” reveals the filmmaker’s struggle and determination to live through the height of the AIDS epidemic when he unexpectedly became the legal guardian for his 10 year‐old nephew.

Ward 86 directed by Debra A. Wilson
After an unknown virus hits the San Francisco gay community in the 80’s Ali, a social worker and activist, was impelled to devote her life’s work to HIV/AIDS.

Secrets of a Sister directed by Anne Siegel
Sister Vicious Power Hungry Bitch of the Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence spills the beans.

Paws directed by Tim Kulikowski & Ian Wolfley
“Paws” explores the relationship between Richard, a spirited long‐term AIDS survivor and his best friend—a playful dog named Dexter.

Full Circle directed by Stuart Gaffney
While living in a sleepy Northern California town, Elaine is shocked to learn of her unexpected HIV diagnosis with her fiancé by her side.

Ours directed by Robert Dekkers
“Ours” intimately examines the universality of our need to touch and be touched‐ both physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Ritual directed by Jörg Fockele
One man’s journey to coping with his HIV infection through a hooking ritual.

Construct directed by Daniel Cardone
A former meth addict reconstructs his life and physical self after a bacterial infection destroyed his face.

To Live directed by Emmanuelle Antolin
From the roots of injustice to the seeds of disease, “To Live” is the journey of one man’s life struggle on the flipside of the American dream.

Tita directed by S. Leo Chiang
Tita Aida, HIV/AIDS‐educator‐activist‐superstar for the queer Asian & Pacific Islander community, is still fabulous, and still kicking ass.

I’m Gonna Be Here directed by Deborah Craig
An HIV-positive mother and grandmother who now works with other HIV positive women to help guide them through the ups and downs of their journey living with the virus.

Tell Me directed by Véronica Duport Deliz
Through the lens of his camera, a man discovers a path to discussing his HIV status with an unexpected face‐to‐face encounter.

Sorrow & Joy directed by Marc Smolowitz
“Sorrow & Joy” tells the story of Alic Shook ‐‐ a 30 year‐old trans, gay man who is a writer, competitive swimmer, and health educator.

Reviews

“Gay or straight, HIV-positive or -negative, man or woman or trans-man or trans-woman, two things are true: we are all human beings, and we all have a story to tell.  ‘Still Around’  is a collection of fifteen stories told in short films about HIV/AIDS and hope, produced by the HIV Story Project.

Other films have tackled the HIV/AIDS crisis in various ways, including the standard documentary format which can be very informative. However, there is something special about seeing individuals whose lives, and the lives of their friends and loved ones, have been affected by the disease. The films in ‘Still Around’ are filled with the ghosts of those who are not still around, but the survivors fill us with hope, even as we feel their sorrow and joy. Congratulations to the filmmakers of this project, and thank you to the people who put their lives on film.

Level/Use: Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, anthropology of sex and gender, and American studies, as well as for general audiences.” Jack David Eller, Review of “Still Around”, A Short Film Compilation. Anthropology Review Database

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Gut Renovation

Gut Renovation

A film by Su Friedrich
81 minutes, color, USA, 2012

DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Bonus Scenes

File under: All Films, Civil Rights, Environment, Film Studies, Home Video, LGBT Studies, Su Friedrich, Sustainability, Urban Studies

Synopsis

A documentary of small changes evolves into an historical record of New York. The resulting film is a melancholy, essayistic requiem for a neighborhood and an entire way of life; it also provides a case study of the rapid gentrification of our cities.

In 1989, together with a group of female friends, Su Friedrich rented and renovated an old loft in Williamsburg, an unassuming working-class district of Brooklyn. In 2005 this former industrial zone was designated a residential area and the factories, manufacturers and artists’ lofts were priced out by property speculators lured by tax breaks. Friedrich spent five years documenting with her camera the changes in the area between East River and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. She shows the demolition of industrial buildings and the construction of trendy new apartments for wealthy clients, watching old tenants leave and new inhabitants arrive. As she keeps meticulous record of developments, the extent and speed of the upheaval becomes clear. Her own tenancy agreement expires too and so her documentary images and trenchant commentary become the tools of her growing anger.

Reviews

“Recommended. Combining archival photographs with personal video footage, Friedrich chronicles the rate and degree of fast-paced change. Gentrification is a story known in nearly every large U.S. urban area, but this time it is told from a more personal perspective. The filmmaker communicates her sadness and anger at the changes that occur around her, using both ambush and undercover interviews with real estate developers and buyers.” EMRO Read the full review here

“Su Friedrich’s film is both a love letter to Williamsburg as it formerly was and an exercise in controlled anger about what it has become. She balances her personal emotions and her sharp documentarian eye on the head of a pin. Her portrait of the real estate crowd scarfing down hors d’oeuvres as they saunter around the openings of the latest buildings is particularly devastating. The questions she raises go to the heart of what we want our urban existence to be.” Joan Ockman, Distinguished Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania School of Design

“‘Gut Renovation’ ignites and engages college audiences. Like Jane Jacobs, Friedrich surveys her neighborhood from her apartment window, except that in Friedrich’s case, what she sees from her Williamsburg, Brooklyn window makes her “crazy angry.” While watching the film, student audiences are torn. Young people recognize the injustices of gentrification, and want to better understand and address its specific causes, yet they also feel the pull of the hip condominium world that has pushed out artists and homegrown business. Friedrich’s personal approach frames the problem with humor, outrage, and panic. Ultimately, students experience the facelessness of Friedrich’s enemy. They leave wanting to know more.” Alison Isenberg, Professor of History and Co-Director of the Urban Studies Program at Princeton University; Past President, Society for American City and Regional Planning History

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Shored Up

Shored Up

A film by Ben Kalina
84 minutes, color, USA, 2013
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Subject Selections

File under: File under: All Films, Environment, Home Video, Homepage, Sustainability

Synopsis

When Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast, it was a wake up call to a new reality. “Shored Up” takes us to the heart of this climate change controversy, following communities in New Jersey and North Carolina where politics, economics and science collide. Beginning 3 years before Sandy hit and following the debates over beach replenishment and other attempts to hold back the sea, “Shored Up” is a convincing call for action along our coasts. As the oceans rise and storms flood our towns and cities, we have a choice to make: do we continue to develop as we have in the past, ignoring clear risks and danger? Or, do we allow science to guide our policies for the future…before it’s too late?

Reviews

“Highly Recommended.  ‘Shored Up’ excels at showing the conflicting interests at play. It provides a great overview of the effects that climate change is having on coastal communities and provides a disturbing portrait of how those who have economic interests in these areas have their heads in the sand, so to speak.”

EMRO  Read the full review here

“Recommended. ‘Shored Up’ features an impressive array of interviewees on all sides of the issue, but clearly represents the view that this problem—exacerbated by climate change—will only worsen, and that serious fact-based discussion should become an urgent priority among decision-makers and the general public.”

Frank Swietek, Video Librarian Read the full review here

“Efforts to restore beaches with costly sand-reclamation projects are wiped out when devastating storms hit the region. Experts debate questions of who should finance beach-replenishment projects and the wisdom of continuing to develop and build houses on endangered coastal regions. This thought-provoking video sparks discussion for environmentalists and those directly affected by beach erosion.”

Booklist Review  Read the full review here

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