A documentary feature about what it means to be the first generation to age with HIV/AIDS, told through the stories of those living it.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our film!! I am so happy to be making it and to have the opportunity to tell you more about it!
Tell me about it!
By 2015, more than half of the 1.3 million HIV+ people in America will be over the age of 50. By 2020, that number is projected to rise to 75%. As the over 50/HIV+ population grows rapidly, researchers are now finding that they are also aging at a seemingly accelerated rate. People in their 50s and 60s are experiencing the physical and emotional ailments of those in their 70s and 80s.
POSI+IVELY AGING tells the story of how we got here, where we are now, where we are going, and most importantly, who these people are and what is happening to them. The over 50/HIV+ population is completely unique. They were among the first to contract HIV; they have survived an epidemic; they are aging with a virus of which the long-term effects are unknown; and due to the stigma surrounding the disease, they are too often hiding in plain sight.
We want to use POSI+IVELY AGING to highlight the urgent need for the greater public to be aware of this growing community and their needs, as seen through the eyes of these truly incredible individuals.
How we're making it
We are currently in the Production phase of the project, following seven people who are over 50 years old and HIV+, whose stories will be used to tell the greater narrative of what it means to be the first generation to age with HIV. In order to give a full representation of their lives, we are filming interviews with family and friends, along with their doctors and nurses. We also capture activities and events pertaining to any HIV/AIDS organizations they have affiliations with, in addition to any speaking engagements, activism, family events, a typical day-in-the-life, and anything else that successfully encapsulates what it means to age with HIV/AIDS. We will be supplementing the material about our subjects with interviews with researchers and HIV/AIDS organizations, as well as footage from symposiums, World AIDS Day services and conferences, and the International AIDS Conference held last summer in Washington, DC. This secondary material will serve the narrative by illustrating what the film’s subjects are describing, as well as supply a broader context for the issue at large.
Allow us to introduce ourselves!
Director/Co-Producer/DP - Katie Rotondi
Producer - Alessandra Bellizia
Editor - Daniel Hoffman (Assistant editor credits include Fading Gigolo, The Departed, Angels in America and The Godfather: Part III)
Subjects in trailer - Brenda Boone, Doug Mayfield, Scott Smith
Why it's SO important to me
We are independent filmmakers who saw a pressing and inspiring story and knew that we had to make a film about it. I met Brenda Boone on World AIDS Day 2010, knowing very little about the fascinating and largely ignored over 50/HIV+ population. Her incredible story, charismatic personality and frank openness made her the perfect person to be the first subject in the film. Now, 2½ years later, I have six more equally wonderful subjects who are entrusting me to tell the stories of their lives. I am so honored by this responsibility and humbled by their resiliency and wisdom that I want to do everything in my power to make this the best film that I can.
This is the first time that this story can and will be told on film! Since the end of the American epidemic, HIV/AIDS has been largely ignored by the media and greater public, and this film will serve to change that. Of the three documentaries that have come out in the last year and half about HIV/AIDS, all concentrate on the beginning of the epidemic in the 80s and 90s, and focus predominantly on white, gay men. While these films are wonderful and their stories important, POSI+IVELY AGING is centered on what is happening right now and reaches across the nation, representing different races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, geographies and experiences. Despite such varied sources, the aging and HIV narrative remains the same; this population is aging rapidly, dealing with illnesses far beyond their age, and no one seems to have timely answers. With this film, I hope to help provide these answers to a wider audience.
Where's all that money going?
The funds we raise will go directly towards the film under the umbrellas of post-production, hard drives, travel, stock footage, and equipment.
1. Post-production – This includes color correction and sound mixing. Post labs for both color and sound will do amazing work to help POSI+IVELY AGING look and sound great! But it comes at a high cost and a lot of the funds raised will go towards this. When I first started shooting POSI+IVELY AGING, I was shooting on a different camera than I am now. Brenda was the first subject I shot so you can see in the footage above that some of her scenes are not as sharp as the others. Also, I am filming in the subjects’ true environments–because where they live and how they live is a very important piece of the narrative–however, the light and sound conditions are typically not ideal. Post houses will help us to correct these issues as best they can and will give the film an overall polished and consistent look, without jeopardizing the authenticity of the actual shoots.
2. Hard drives – Following seven people over the course of what will be over three years by the film’s completion means A LOT of footage. While HD footage looks beautiful, it takes up A LOT of space. In order to keep following the newer subjects–getting all the footage we need of everyone and backing up all the footage–we need many more hard drives, which are unfortunately very costly. Right now we are at a point in the production process where we cannot continue shooting until we get more hard drives. A bulk of the funds raised will go towards hard drives, immediately.
3. Travel – We live in NYC, but the subjects live all over the U.S. I try to shoot as much as I can in each trip that I have taken, but it’s impossible to get everything or tell a narrative arc that spans time in just one trip. Depending on the trip, travel costs include flight, gas, car rentals, equipment rentals and hotel costs.
4. Stock footage – A few of our subjects have actually been featured on national news broadcasts and we want these to be a part of the film. Additionally, we want to include other footage that will help to further the narrative of the film. Stock footage is incredibly expensive, but is an important part to making this a great film.
5. Equipment – There are a few pieces of equipment that we would like to add to the rig that would make shooting so much easier and will make the film look and sound better overall. This includes lavalier mics, a new shotgun mic, a tripod and a small lighting kit.
Excited to see it? We'll tell you how!
With a successful campaign, we plan on having the film completed by early 2014. Upon completion we will submit the film to festivals and will let supporters be the first to know of any screenings. In addition, we plan on using it as an educational tool for schools, organizations, and communities. Our hope is that this film will serve to publicize how HIV is affecting people who are over 50 and act as a catalyst for change, not only among those affected by AIDS, but for everyone—because HIV does not discriminate.
Thanks for checking out the film! And thank you in advance for donating and/or sharing the link!! We look forward to keeping everyone updated on the film!
Katie and Ali
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The main challenge that this production has faced has been the wavering health of the participants. While all of the subjects are mostly healthy, we have had to stop production with certain people for extended periods of time do to health problems. So the possibility of a later completion date is possible for this reason. With documentary you are at the mercy of other people's schedules, so another potential, but unlikely delay is if we can not get all of the interviews with researchers, organizations, etc. by our proposed completion date. Luckily, these challenges are very easy to deal with. We simply wait until the subject feels better and/or record them during their illness (both of which we have done and have no problem doing again). In terms of supplemental interviews with non-subjects, we will simply abide by their schedule and eventually find the time to schedule an interview. Making this documentary for 2 1/2 years now, these have been the only two setbacks and we have worked them out fine every single time.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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