Pandemic: Facing AIDS is a multi-faceted project that presents stories of women and men around the world who live with the disease that defines this century. More importantly, it is an overview of the global strategy to solve the problem that has killed approximately 24 million people worldwide. In 2001 alone, 5 million people were newly infected, and at the dawn of a new millennium, AIDS threatens political and economic stability globally, hindering development and causing terrible human suffering. But there have been victories, and more are possible.
Pandemic addresses the scope of the epidemic, the different cultural and national responses to it, and puts a human face on the plague of a severity not seen since the Black Death in the 14th century. In some countries a quarter of the population is infected, and a fifteen-year old stands a 50/50 chance of dying of AIDS. But the world's AIDS crisis is solvable: if the will to do so is supported.
The goal of the project is to create greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the challenges of combating its spread. The project which launches in July 2002 at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona includes a two-hour documentary film, a book published by Umbrage and distributed worldwide by a major publisher, available to the public in July 2002; and an exhibition of over 100 color and black-and-white photographs by international award-winning photographers and artists that will begin a three-year worldwide tour. Additional facets include a website and educational packet of materials to be distributed in conjunction with community organizations, NGO's and government agencies to community centers, religious organizations, schools and colleges as training tools, along with suggestions for activism and involvement, a short film and a series of public service announcements.
The book, Pandemic: Facing AIDS, presents powerful photographs by one hundred international photographers documenting the lives and harsh realities of people from around the world living with AIDS, spanning five continents, sixty countries, and two decades of the epidemic. Those profiled come from all walks of life: doctors and nurses, poor young mothers with small children, middle-class men, the breadwinners, and the orphans and vulnerable elderly they leave behind. AIDS knows no bounds, and by including a focus on individuals, each revealing a different facet of the epidemic, an audience can get a personal, real-life sense of what it means to live with AIDS every day.
The Photographic Exhibition
The traveling exhibition, which will tour internationally, joins together original photographs in varied formats by a collection of award-winning photographers and artists, in an extraordinarily felt and insightful body of work.
Among the photographers included are Nan Goldin, Gilles Peress, Don McCullin, James Nachtwey, Scott Thode, Eugene Richards, Gilbert & George, Gideon Mendel, Pierre and Gilles, Nancy Burson, and more. The exhibition will tour internationally through 2005.
The Education Packet
The education kits will be translated into five languages and packaged and distributed-in conjunction with over thirty community organizations, NGO's and government agencies-to community centers, religious organizations, schools and colleges throughout the world and used as educational and advocacy tools. Packets will contain information on how audience members can obtain additional information and become advocates for AIDS internationally and locally. Posters, broadsides, PSAs, and a postcard campaign will be part of this outreach, and many of these visual components will be downloadable from the Web site.
The Web Site
A Web site will integrate interviews, photographs, commentary and advocacy elements in the other aspects of the project along with new material designed for the web. The Web site will be monitored and updated through an appropriate AIDS advocacy organization for the three years during which the photographic exhibition is on tour. AIDS legislative action and other congressional activities will be bookmarked online. The site will also list contact information for international AIDS organizations and other educational resources that are available.
The companion film, Pandemic: Facing AIDS, is fully funded, thanks to a major grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and will premiere as a five-part series on HBO in Spring, 2003. After its gala premiere at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona in July 2002, screenings of the film will be held on Capitol Hill with key legislators and policy makers, as well at or around The World Economic Forum, the G8 Meeting, and the UN General Assembly, where it will screen in conjunction with World AIDS Day 2002 commemorations. The book and related projects will coincide with the screenings/broadcast date of the film.