Elaine Epstein was born in Durban, South Africa. During South Africa’s post-apartheid transition years, Epstein played an active role in the development of its AIDS policy through her work developing and creating some of the country’s early HIV/AIDS mass media education campaigns and health interventions.
Epstein moved to New York in 1996 to take a position at Columbia University’s HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, where she produced an HIV/AIDS and STD education radio campaign for African-American youth.
Epstein has produced a series of public service announcements and directed HIV education videos for the Centers for Disease Control. She associate produced the Peabody Award-winning HBO film Cancer: Evolution to Revolution, and wrote and produced Closing in On Cancer, an hour-long documentary on cutting-edge cancer treatments for the Discovery Health Channel. In 1999, Epstein traveled back to her native South Africa to begin filming State of Denial, her documentary directorial debut. She spent nine months over a two-year period capturing powerful images of her country being ravaged by AIDS. She is currently in development on her next documentary film.
State of Denial is the 20th film on HIV/AIDS that executive producer Joseph Lovett has executive produced, produced or directed since the beginning of the epidemic. Lovett broke AIDS as an investigative story as a producer for ABC News’ “20/20” in 1983 when he started a series of broadcasts exposing the inadequate reporting and foot dragging of the government in dealing with the disease. His stories showed the tremendous efforts of people living with AIDS as they struggled to survive despite the lack of government support.
Lovett opened Lovett Productions, Inc. in 1989 to focus on social issues and public health. The company has produced over twenty prime time broadcasts for PBS, ABC, HBO, CBS, DISCOVERY and BRAVO. From 1992 to 1996, Lovett created, produced, wrote and directed In a New Light, a series of AIDS entertainment and outreach specials, which aired annually on ABC in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control. In 1997 Lovett won the AIDS ACTION Leadership Award for his work against the epidemic.
In 2001, Lovett Productions, Inc. won the Peabody Award for Cancer: Evolution to Revolution, which Lovett wrote, produced and directed for HBO. Lovett is currently at work on projects for HBO, the Hallmark Channel and others.