ABOUT THE FILM
In 1996, a provincial Belarusian town suffered the most severe HIV epidemic in Europe. Since then, thousands of people there have died from AIDS and HIV-related diseases. Today, the unofficial number of people in Svietlahorsk living with HIV is around 8,000 – over 10% of the local population. My family is no exception.
Built in the 1960s with the hope of a bright future, the town’s socialist dream never came to pass. Snaking through the town like a plague, HIV afflicted every fifth household. Drug users sharing needles was the main reason behind the outbreak, but not the only one.
Fighting the fears, it is now time to speak out. Breaking the social stigma, my mother and other former drug users have agreed to share their stories publicly for the first time. For some it is an ephemeral chance to make a change, for others – nothing short of a final cry for help.
WHY THIS DOCUMENTARY IS IMPORTANT
Being born and raised in the town of Svietlahorsk, I couldn't think of any other way out but to escape. I left Belarus when I was 17; I didn’t have a chance to start my career and be with my family in my home country. Many years later, I realized that my past was still haunting me and I decided to tell people my story. After a few days of world “fame” in the 1990s, my town and the whole country has totally disappeared from the media narrative.
The problem of AIDS has no borders and geographical limits. Drug addiction is a universal problem. Many people in the world have to fight for something better every single day. In my case, I was lucky to end up in France where people have better access to healthcare. I’ve experienced it myself. In 2017 my mother’s health deteriorated due to an opportunistic infection. With support of my friends, I managed to bring her to a French hospital where she received urgent medical attention, and she has been doing better since.
However, many people in places like my hometown continue to struggle and live with insecurity. Limited resources, social stigma, and poor healthcare system - these are just a few of the reasons why, in 2019, people still die from AIDS in the heart of Europe. The goal of this documentary is to raise social awareness about stigmas globally, and try to break the vicious cycle of social exclusion. My hometown is the best example.
YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS
Working in the media industry, I decided to step away from my regular job - and my regular income - to tell you my personal story. Therefore, I need your support. That would help me to cover my travel costs, work of my crew and post-production expenses. I'm also looking for a production company that could guide me on this journey. I will also approach public figures and opinion-makers to gain their public support.
- Travel costs, accommodation and expenses - €3,000
- Crew work and equipment - €7,000
- Post-production - €5,000
With some savings and the help of my friends, I have already collected €3,000, which covered two trips to Belarus, crew pay, music rights, the website and local expenses.
We want to continue this journey to tell you the most interesting stories and to bring this film to the wider public.
In exchange for your participation, I'm offering you the following gifts: from a "special thanks" on social media to a limited edition photo book, as well as a mention in the credits.
MAKE ONE SMALL CHANGE
Beside that, I want this project to go beyond the film itself and to make a bigger change. With a €100 pledge, you can make it real and, yes, every little helps.
When my mother left hospital in France, she was given a pocket pill box that looks like a notebook. HIV-positive people have to take antiretroviral treatment every day. It’s not convenient to carry a pill bottle with an easily recognizable name on it, and many people in a place like my hometown are ashamed and scared to be “found out”. We can help them keep their privacy and avoid being put in danger.
Join me on this socially vital project, and let’s get unheard stories heard.
Risks and challenges
Today the main challenge is to raise money and continue this project. I'm completely dedicated to it and I will do everything to make this movie. One of the goals for today is to find a producer and a production company. The more people talk about this documentary both nationally, in Belarus, and internationally, the more support the movie will receive.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)