Skip to content

State of Denial

Premiere Date: September 16, 2003

   

Production Journal

Elaine Epstein explains how her work in AIDS and public health as a grassroots organizer and social worker influenced the way that she approached the film.

POV: How do you think your work as a grassroots organizer and social worker influenced the way that you filmed "State of Denial"? Did you already have a relationship with your subjects before filming?

Elaine Epstein: Before I started filming I was clear that I didn't want to make a film that was going to be all "doom and gloom," focusing on hopeless situations where nothing can be done. I wanted to show that there was excellent work being done at the grassroots level in South Africa around HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, support and care. When I traveled back to South Africa, I contacted groups that I had worked with in the past and that, I thought, were doing effective community based work. Through these groups I found the subjects that appear in the film. I did spend a lot of time with each subject before I started filming — in fact I didn't take a camera with me on the first trip back. There is a lot of stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in South Africa so I spent a lot of time with each subject discussing what it would mean for them to disclose their HIV status in a film, and how they felt about it and what they did or didn't feel comfortable with. These discussions continue today as the film goes out to be broadcast.





Talk About This

Share This

Upcoming Films