More Reviews – Still Around

“‘Still Around’ demonstrates that although HIV/AIDS has been thriving for over 30 years now, the creative spirit and communal resilience that characterizes San Francisco’s response to AIDS is still around too. The 15 short films–each in their own distinct style and tone—together forge a unified collective that showcases the role that the arts must continue to play as we fight against AIDS. From paying tribute to the extraordinary work of San Francisco General Hospital WARD 86, the country’s oldest HIV/AIDS care unit, to inviting us into an intimate subcultural ritual of love and healing commemorating one person’s HIV-positive anniversary, to reminding us of the simple beauty in pronouncing oneself gay and alive amidst a history of death and dying, these bold and beautiful short films merit our viewing.

This is a film for all people interested in how the arts make a difference in our lives, and how people, in this case the expansive and diverse people of the great city of San Francisco, work together to keep their communities alive and empowered. This wonderful collection deserves to be housed in our campus libraries, screened at our film festivals, and circulated among our own various communities.” David Román, Professor of English and American Studies, University of Southern California, author of ACTS of INTERVENTION: Performance, Gay Culture and AIDS, and O SOLO HOMO: The New Queer Performance.

“While it is imperative for us to know our history, it is almost more vital that we see our now, given how AIDS has become so devastatingly absent in our images and politics but not our communities and bodies. ‘Still Around’ insists that AIDS is here and now: with creativity, insight, urgency, and poetry. Over thirty years into this epidemic, this films is a much needed political and artistic intervention that connects us to our past while picturing our complex and ever changing present.

Given the spate of new films focusing upon the history of ACTUP/AIDS activism circa and a new-found fascination for the now old new queer cinema that was borne from AIDS’ sorrow, anger, and community, it is a pleasure to get to also see a new film, ‘Still Around,’ that both looks at the legacy of AIDS without the safety and nostalgia of distance. A beautiful cultural production with sharp political commentary and profound personal expression ‘Still Around’ links fifteen original, diverse shorts together and reminds us that AIDS is a living, breathing phenomenon of our now.” Alexandra Juhasz, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, Pitzer College, or AIDS TV: Identity, Communtiy and Alternative Video (Duke 1995)

“The shorts collection ‘Still Around’ admonishes us that despite improved treatment AIDS and its social effects have not gone away, but also that those living with the disease continue to live vital and complicated lives–they are ‘still around’. Ranging from abstract dance and poetry to tours of the clinical and social spaces, ‘Still Around’ provides glimpses into the everyday challenges and hopeful solutions crafted by the diverse people engaged in the epidemic. The shorts have uniformly high production values and the editors provide thoughtful and visually unified transitions that create an arc through the many different ways filmmakers and subjects chose to represent their points of view. The individual pieces stand alone as learning texts, and the whole collection works well as a kaleidoscope of historical and contemporary viewpoints on the social costs of an epidemic.” Cindy Patton, Professor of Sociology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Canada

“In an era when HIV/AIDS is so often marginalized from public discourse or considered a matter of a historical crisis now past, ‘Still Around’ presents a powerful collection of testimonies about living with HIV/AIDS in the fourth decade of the pandemic. Through their frank honesty and clear-sighted courage, the film’s diverse witnesses share remarkable stories of hope, survival and community. Some of the most powerful moments in the film occur when people living with HIV/AIDS come together with family members, friends and their community to forge genuine opportunities to bear witness to the complex challenges and struggles of their lives. In particular, the film attends to the imperative to speak across the generations impacted by the pandemic. The impressive diversity of perspectives in this short film collection makes Still Around a perfect teaching tool for a wide range of courses, from public health to psychology to communication.” Roger Hallas, Associate Professor of English, Co-Director of LGBT Studies, Syracuse University, Author of Reframing Bodies: AIDS, Bearing Witness and the Queer Moving Image

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