Three decades into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, deepsouth tells the untold story of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States. The film documents the first-hand experience of a handful of people who live outside the system, creating their own solutions to survive.
Josh, a college student, seeks the support of an underground gay family miles away from his suffocating Mississippi Delta hometown. With no funds and few resources, Monica tries tirelessly to unite reluctant participants at her annual HIV retreat in rural Louisiana. Kathie, an Alabama activist, spends 120 days a year on the road fighting a bureaucracy that continues to ignore the South.
Hello Kickstarter Community,
We are two weeks away from sharing deepsouth with the world. Earlier this month, we lost our main sponsor, who would have financed the film's release, along with our ambitious goal of 100 screenings for World AIDS Day. This put us in a difficult place because our release and tour plans were already set in motion. So we're asking for your help to get the film out there -- to encode for iTunes and Amazon, to master the DVD with special features, and to live stream Q&As with cast/crew on December 1, 2014.
For the last five years, I've been trying to understand the issue of HIV in the American South. I couldn't reconcile what I was experiencing on the ground with what was being reported and documented. As a journalist, I drove 13,000 miles and interviewed 400 people over two-and-a-half years of shoe leather reporting. As an indie filmmaker, I funded majority of the project by liquidating my IRAs and moving back in with my parents. And now, as an accidental advocate, I've been working with rural communities across the South to leverage the film as an intervention -- to start local conversations on really difficult and painful topics.
This is the story of HIV without the activist movement. It is a story of widespread system failure. It is not new, nor is it being addressed. And it is not getting better. Federal and state governments ignore the issue. State health departments discriminate the very people they serve. Local organizations fight (each other) for non-existent funds. All around, there is a deficit of imagination and will.
And then there's this little film that could...and with your help, it can go further and try harder to reach more people! We feel that it's time for deepsouth to be available in a much broader way -- to go around the systems, to the people who live these stories every day. This is a forgotten place and a tired topic, but the people I've met are not disinterested. They need support. They need resources. They matter.
We'd love for you to join us as we send deepsouth off into the world. Thank you for your support!
P.S.: We currently have 58 screenings of deepsouth scheduled for World AIDS Day. You can still sign up to host a screening -- or join us online on Monday, December 1 for a Groundhog Day of live streaming Q&As with the cast/crew!
The funds we are raising through KICKSTARTER will go toward two major legs of completing this project. Digital and DVD Distribution and Live Stream Q&As on World AIDS Day 2014.
DVD and DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
- encoding to iTunes and Amazon
- closed captioning and English master subtitling
- subtitle translation to Spanish, French
- mastering/authoring of DVD
- reproduction of DVDs
DVD special features + online promotions
- travel / accommodations for cast
- crew and camera operation (6-day shoot)
- hard drives and audio equipment (purchase)
- equipment rentals for shoot
- design, edit of speicial features, trailer, poster
HOST A SCREENING w/ LIVE STREAMING CAST/CREW Q&As on WORLD AIDS DAY, DECEMBER 1, 2014
Join us and log in to our Live streaming Q&As. Our #WAD2014 goals are to:
- to make HIV/AIDS in the American South the main talking point on World AIDS Day 2014
- to reframe HIV as a disease of poverty affecting marginalized communities within a region in crisis
- to reduce stigma/fear around HIV in rural communities, among healthcare providers and state/federal policymakers
- to connect the American South with the Global South, demonstrating that the challenges, barriers and interventions are similar across borders
NPR: The Takeaway, Listen to 7 min interview with Director Lisa Biagiotti
DOC NYC: Masterclass: Filming Outside Your Turf at DOC NYC Film Festival 2013 (video below)
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY Interview with Director and Director of Photography (video below)
The New Yorker: "...deepsouth, burrows into the crevices of culture, where statistics can’t quite creep." | IndieWire: “tackles these tough realities with a stunning degree of humanity” | The Atlantic: "It's so quiet -- the opposite of urban HIV/AIDS activism of the 1980s and 90s." | Los Angeles Times: Article written by deepsouth director Lisa Biagiotti | Charleston City Paper: "It's this stark contradiction between the popular narrative of HIV/AIDS and the reality..." | SundanceNOW:"deepsouth transcends straight-forward advocacy to become an affecting and resonant portrait of an AIDS crisis that hits closer to home..." | UPWORTHY: "This is the sort of information that makes me pace around my house and mutter the word "why" over and over." | The Baltimore Sun: “a poetic and grounding exploration into the lives of those affected by HIV in the American South” | The Lancet: “It is astounding that the HIV crisis in the southern states of the USA still seems to be of such low priority to individuals who have the power to make a difference.”
OUTFEST Award for Freedom: "For shining a spotlight on the HIV/AIDS crisis and its too often overlooked effects on the rural South, and for honoring the men and women of various races and classes who selflessly and tirelessly fight the good fight."
Lisa Biagiotti presented deepsouth at the White House meeting focused on HIV in the Southern United States in June 2014
Lisa Biagiotti was a Finalist for the Livingston Award for her work on deepsouth
deepsouth was Long-listed for 2014 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize
Lisa Biagiotti -- Director/Producer -- @lisabiagiotti
Lisa is an independent journalist and filmmaker. She is currently working with Sundance’s New Frontier Story Lab and MIT's Media Lab on a project about the future and impact of storytelling. Lisa has written and produced for the Los Angeles Times, PBS and Current TV. Her work focuses on complex, under-reported social issues, from the sanitation crisis in South East Asia to homophobia in the Caribbean. The stories she produced on the humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2009. Lisa teaches storytelling to first-time filmmakers, and lectures internationally on independent, digital journalism. Prior to journalism, Lisa worked in marketing and advertising for magazine publishing houses, financial services companies and nonprofit organizations. In 2001, she received a Fulbright grant to research Muslim immigration to Italy. Lisa holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Duy Linh Tu -- Director of Photography/Producer -- @duylinhtu
Duy is a Professor and the Director of the Digital Media Program at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He is a co-founder and the Creative Director of Resolution Seven, a documentary and commercial production house. Duy is a videographer, photographer, writer and multimedia consultant. He is the author of Feature and Narrative Storytelling for Multimedia Journalists. He shoots, produces, and consults for publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. He is also a juror for the National Magazine Awards and the DuPont Awards, and has judged the POYi Awards. He received his M.S. degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Joe Lindquist-- Editor/Producer -- @joeylindquist
Joe is a film editor, producer and director. He is currently an editor at AntFarm/Industry Creative, cutting trailers and TV spots for Paramount, FOX and Hollywood's major studios. Joe has cut music videos for actor, Shia LaBeouf, consulted and edited trailers with director Joe Kosiniski (Tron, Oblivion). Joe edited the feature documentary Bombay Beach, which won Best Documentary Feature at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and also won best editing and jury awards at Sheffield, Woodstock & DMZ Docs Film Festivals. He edited the indie-horror movieMischief Nightand romantic-comedy,Worst Friends (available on VOD). As a director, Joe’s short-form work has been awarded by the National Board of Review. He graduated from SUNY Purchase with a B.F.A. in filmmaking.
IMPACT VISION: To end the pervasive discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS in the American South by calling for systemic change to the political, legal, medical and social structures that obstruct progress.
During the last two years, deepsouth has been invited into community centers, churches, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and conferences focused on health, sexuality and law.
Lisa has been invited to The White House, featured in The New Yorker, and presented the issue at the Clinton Global Initiative. The film is being taught as part of public health, law, journalism, sociology, nursing, gender studies and rural studies programs in three dozen universities across the country.
The Mississippi Department of Health uses deepsouth for sensitivity and anti-stigma training of new-hire Disease Intervention Specialists. Emory University's Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center is incorporating deepsouth into its core curriculum to train health care providers across the South.
We developed an impact campaign to further engage grassroots, local and state health departments, community-based organizations and academia, but the campaign remains unfunded. We feel we can no longer wait for funders to sanction the film and its impact, so we are self-releasing the film so that it can be used by the people who live the reality deepsouth depicts.
“We received an overwhelmingly positive response from all participants, who now feel more empowered to link basic science, public health and the conditions facing PLWHA into a more effective response to the HIV crisis in the South.” ~ State Epidemiologist, Mississippi Department of Health
“I was really impacted by your documentary, and have thought about it often as I worked in rural Kenya, especially when people would ask me about the US, and how it was similar/dissimilar to Kenya, in terms of challenges people face. While there are some very blatant differences, I found that many of the challenges of acceptance resonated with struggles in the US, especially for gender and sexuality equality. I just wanted to write to you and say thank you for presenting, and for making such an amazing documentary, that we were able to learn from.” MPH candidate at Duke Global Health Institute
“The poignant documentary that was shown at the SAHM meeting 2013 touched me in every way. My eyes were full of tears throughout listening to the dialogue and watching the movie. That day, I went to my hotel room to sleep after a strenuous day at the conference from 6 am till 11:30 pm. I placed my head on my pillow thinking I will collapse but instead, my mind was occupied with snapshots of the movie and words I heard. I had mixed emotions of sadness, anger, hope and motive. It was heart wrenching to see a teenager who deserves to be healthy, enjoying life, playing, running, jumping, full of passion and hope. Instead, he is struggling with HIV. I was astonished with the amount of health disparities and lack of sex education in the States. This movie made me change my plans, I decided to work in a field where I can help reduce health disparities as much as I can once I finish my MPH degree.” ~ Saudi Arabian Doctor
HIV doesn't kill people. It's the stigma that makes people afraid to seek services... Stigma is a death sentence, not HIV. ~ Joshua Alexander, main subject of deepsouth
This campaign was produced and designed by David Haverty
Risks and challenges
We are self-releasing this film on December 1. It's happening. You can help us cross the finish line and still be able to eat and pay rent!
SETBACKS: This final distribution/release stretch was set to be funded by an organization in order to bring awareness to the crisis of HIV/AIDS in the South. Internal demands and political circumstances caused the organization to withdraw support for deepsouth. So we are now asking for your help. We hope that the Kickstarter community will find this film to share with others. This is a neglected issue, a forgotten region. The people very people in power and systems in place designated to help, do not.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (23 days)