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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