the AIDS Since the 80s Project

feature film / archive /education / photography / music

100 lives touched by the HIV virus
100 in-depth interviews

challenging / preserving / understanding HIV / AIDS in the UK

The Project will commission a feature-length film for general release
But also deliver an ambitious archive project in collaboration with the London Metropolitan Archives

The Project will develop educational resources for schools and colleges;
Commission original art work that can nurture understanding of survival;
Commission music for film and concert hall that commemorates those lost to HIV

The project shares the stories of 100 lives touched by HIV/AIDS

To further understanding and knowledge

And seek to abolish stigma

The AIDS since the 80s Project records, shares and preserves lived experiences forever

a feature film

The feature film will reveal the heart of the HIV/AIDS story, telling in people’s own words what it was like to live through the loss of so many friends and lovers, but also what was done to ease the pain of so much sickness and dying in the UK.

The film is a collective, diverse and emotional response to the pandemic.

 

a public archive

The interviews in full are to be made public, a vast archive of witness testimony: from men, women, friends, lovers, as well as long term survivors themselves. We are delighted to collaborate with the City of London’s London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) who have agreed to provide a permanent home for the collection of interviews.

 

This collection will be known as:

100 Surviving HIV: The London Interviews

 

These interviews are being recorded while there is time. – because memory fades, and no one is getting any younger, least of all those who have been living on medication for decades.

diverse

The project embraces and includes those who were exposed to the virus through transfusion, through drug use and through sex.

The Project includes clinicians, carers, mothers, brothers, the young and the old, as well as many survivors.

The Project includes men and women; black and white; gay and straight; Londoner and migrant.

 

a shared history

The 100 interviews chart not only a key and tragic part of LGBTQ+ history, but of our society’s shared history. The HIV crisis cut into every kind of life, and the aftershocks reverberate on to this day.

The interviews share personal history; the 100 interviews together form a treasure trove of primary historical documentation for future generations, the essentials for education and understanding.

objectives

The Project directors Paul Coleman and Adam Roberts:

“We want to tell the stories of not just those infected and living with the virus, but those who surrounded them and cared for them, whether lover, friend, buddy, carer or clinician. It is the context that reveals attitudes and contains the lessons that we need to learn”
“These are bare, often painful stories which in most cases are being recorded for the first time”

“Stories not only of suffering and heartache but of compassion and unity too”.

“Through film, music, photography, art and education, it is our ambition to bring the story of HIV/AIDS into mainstream awareness and to share knowledge, experience and understanding generally”.

the questions

The Project begins by asking: just what happened exactly?

 

But it also investigates how we did as a society, and asks is there still more to do?

And how should we feel and act now given the pain, the loss and the stigma?

Has there been, or can there be, enough healing?

stigma and silence

The Project explores the tragedies of stigma, dread and ignorance; the fear and silence as HIV first crept through the gay community at the start of the pandemic, cruelly claiming too many friends and lovers. Here are stories of frozen horror in the face of an inevitable death, as well as the pain of rejection and loss upon loss.

care and benevolence

But the Project records also tales of humanity, empathy and benevolence; and any amount of extraordinary kindness and love. It reveals how a community supported itself with unimaginable strength even as it was drained of life.

We hear small and large acts of
kindnesses, moments of mirth, amid the heart break and loss.
We learn of the pain caused by rejection and neglect.

not forgotten

Together these stories form a history that is in danger of being forgotten.

 

At a time when protest and sheer guts had begun to challenge social attitudes and secure undreamt-of reforms, that surprise and delight was cruelly shattered by sickness and death.

 

Easier perhaps now to choose to move on and forget: not to remember.

 

But then not only will many lives have been lost, but experiences and stories will be forgotten – tragedy piled up on top of tragedy.

 

These are narratives which must be preserved, not only for the sake of those who suffered in obscurity and silence, but for the sake of those who endured drug trials so that many of us can enjoy effective treatments today.

 

Moreover, the project celebrates and hymns the rise of the activist patient, of the buddy, of the inspirational dedication and care of friends and lovers that challenged any impersonal models of caring for the sick and dying.

hiv in later life

The project is not just about those who did not survive.

We place centre stage the survivors still here who are facing later life., people who did not expect to survive and did not make provisions for old age.

Living through those times and surviving HIV has left many survivors with complex psychological difficulties, not yet properly addressed or understood.

 

While combination therapies keep many alive, the daily grind of survival can be tough, mentally, physically and economically.

 

As one survivor has put it:
“we prepared ourselves to die but the hardest part has been learning how to live.”

 

The film asks what should to done to address the often complex needs of someone growing older with HIV.

learning from survivors

The Project is also driven by concern for the next generation, a generation fighting its own important and evolving battle with the virus. It is about connecting young and old, about passing on the lessons of experience.

 

It is about the task of education and sharing of knowledge and experience.

fundraising

The Project, in all its guises, aims to raise awareness and understanding of HIV & AIDS, thus reducing stigma. The Project has begun with a huge and ambitious filming of in-depth interviews with 100 people touched by the virus.

 

This is the authentic voice of the community, now to be preserved forever in the City of London’s official archives: the London Metropolitan Archives. The feature film will make accessible a coherent and moving distillation of the testimony, for general release.

 

The Project is commissioning music to amplify the film, with concert performance and live music accompaniment in mind.

 

The Project is also working with teachers, artists and institutions to create art and educational resources that will fuel and assist understanding generally.

 

Profits from the film will go to charity, in particular to help care for the survivors of HIV living into later life.

 

However – the Project is in need of financial support to achieve its ambitions and its goals.

Please consider making a donation.

 

These are 100 personal journeys through past tumult and into the present day.

100 reasons to support our Project.

 

donate:

To the Project bank account:

TWO POINT ZERO, sort code 09-01-28 a/c 00709379
Or to make a credit card donation, call +44 (0) 7879 420 931
Or via PayPal: mail@twopointzero.co.uk

To our bank account: TWO POINT ZERO, sort 09-01-28 a/c 00709379
or call this number to make a credit card donation: +44 (0) 7879 420 931
or PayPal: mail@twopointzero.co.uk

the archive:

100 Surviving HIV: The London Interviews

LMAlogo_RGB_trans_no_border

This project records a vast collection of video interviews, which we believe will be the largest by far of its kind in the UK. The interviews will be archived in their entirety, openly and freely accessible to the public

 

We are delighted that the London Metropolitan Archive have agreed to provide a permanent home for this archive, securing for posterity superb first-hand accounts of the deadly AIDS pandemic of the 1980s and 90s

This collection will be called:

100 Surviving HIV: The London Interviews

Access to the collection will be free, and open, preserving in extraordinary detail the experience of HIV/AIDS history for posterity.

 

The LMA is the principal local government repository for the Greater London area and the largest county record office in the UK.

GRAHAM PACKHAM, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee:

“These deeply personal stories will inform, inspire and influence, providing a powerful and empowering discourse. It is very important work, and London Metropolitan Archive’s involvement will ensure that these voices are preserved for the future and can be shared for the benefit of many others.”

meet the team

Paul Coleman and Adam Roberts are the producers and directors of the Project. They are life-long friends, who began making films together aged 11. Their collaboration on this Project is by far their most ambitious to date.

 

PAUL COLEMAN (right)
Paul has worked professionally in the Film and TV industry for more than 35 years. He has worked for a large spectrum of broadcasters including BBC1, BBC2, BBC World, ITV1, Channel 5, Sky, Disney and UKTV. He specialised as producer/director, but is also skilled in directing studio multi-camera productions both live and recorded. He has worked as Head of Department and as Executive Producer for a variety of life-style programmes. He also has considerable experience in news and current affairs. Programming has included Documentaries (‘Jane’ BBC1), Live News (BBC1, ITV, SKY), Light entertainments (‘That’s Esther’, ITV), Current Affairs (‘Straight Up’ ITV), Children’s TV (‘The Mag’C5,’ Art Attack’ Disney Channel). Paul was BAFTA nominated for his work in Children’s TV, and picked-up an RTS Award and nominations for his work in News and Current Affairs programming.

 

ADAM ROBERTS (left)
Born in Bogota, Colombia. Lives and works in London. Adam is an independent film-maker, curator and writer. He is co-founder of the curation outfit A Nos Amours, which organises screenings, retrospectives, conferences and exhibitions (most recently for Chantal Akerman, a two year retrospective at ICA in London, and a large-scale Arts Council funded exhibition at Ambika P3 in partnership with the Marian Goodman Gallery). Adam has made independent films for TV and a number of dance films (with Sylvie Guillem and Jonathan Burrows), and also worked as a film editor in television, mainly in current affairs. He has also written screenplays, journalism and academic papers.

JAMES TARLING & ED MIDDLETON

James Tarling and Ed Middleton are supporting the film as researchers. Neither James nor Ed come from a film background but are passionate about this project and are involved as volunteers. James and Ed also currently volunteer at the Terrence Higgins Trust.

supporters

First and foremost, we thank all those who have given interviews – sharing their experiences and thoughts so freely and openly for the project.

 

Our very particular thanks to Richard Juneman and all at FMTV.LONDON for accountancy and tax credit services

And to our Legal Adviser Jan Tomalin at Media Law Consultancy

We are delighted to be collaborating with London Metropolitan Archives

Michael Berg and Asher Kenton at The Hospital Club

 

 

Angus Wyatt at 4Pride / Channel 4

 

 

The designers of our lovely logo Sebastien Michau & Gael Laporte

Our wonderful web site designers and builders Dimitri Yiannakis & Kevin Watson

 

Thanks also to:

 

Brett Lotriet Best for invaluable advice and doing an interview for us
Our team of volunteers Kevin Watson, Derek Richardson, and in particular to James Tarling and Ed Middleton, who have been with us from the beginning
Julian Ingle who has made videos, designed graphics and runs social media for the Project.
Bjorn Swinton-Berry for sound engineering and advice
Angela Byakwaga, Cristian Sandulescu & Chris Sandford at Bloomsbury Clinic at Mortimer Market Centre
Ian Green and his team at Terence Higgins Trust
Greg Ussher and Metro Centre
Jonathan Blake
Major Trevor Smith
Keifer Taylor for camera work
Richard Leaf who has generously agreed to make an appeal for support of the project
Lisa Marie Russo for advice on funding applications (boy do we need that!)

 

And many others who have helped in so many ways to help this Project be realised