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Rory Kennedy Film Focuses on Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Pandemic: Facing AIDS

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Carissa Potenza
Moxie Firecracker Films
Phone: 212.620.7727

BARCELONA, Spain -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the premiere of Pandemic: Facing AIDS, the moving and insightful new film by Rory Kennedy and Moxie Firecracker Films.  Pandemic, which will premiere at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, is a feature-length documentary that takes a unique look at the AIDS epidemic, melding intimate personal stories with a global perspective. The film will premiere on HBO in the United States in Spring 2003.

The scope of the global AIDS epidemic is staggering. Over the last 20 years, the disease has killed almost 22 million people. In 2001 alone, 5 million people were newly infected with HIV.  Behind these statistics lie the stories of millions of people, each of whom must confront the challenges of AIDS in their own way. Pandemic follows the lives of five people living with AIDS in different regions of the world, using their experiences to put faces behind the numbers and connect audiences with the heartache and triumph of living with AIDS. 

"I began Pandemic: Facing AIDS with a simple premise in mind: the global AIDS crisis could be contained if enough people and enough resources were devoted to the task," said Kennedy.  "For me, the answer was not in holding out for a cure, and certainly not in giving up hope completely.  But rather, that each of us, as individuals, needs only to take a small step forward; that each of us, in our own way, might throw our shoulder up against the giant, immovable rock that is AIDS – and together, there would be enough weight and muscle to roll the virus back."

"Pandemic opens all of our eyes to the personal toll of a disease that is killing thousands of people each and every year," said Dr. Helene Gayle, former Director of the foundation's HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis program. "Using the powerful medium of film to present stories of those affected by AIDS gives broad reach to the critical message of the impact of AIDS and what we can all do to find a solution. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pleased to sponsor this important project, and support our mutual goals of raising awareness and understanding for HIV/AIDS prevention."

After its premiere, the film will screen at several prominent venues around the world. There will also be a Pandemic: Facing AIDS book, traveling exhibition, web site, education packet, CD music compilation and outreach campaign to help raise awareness about the issue and some of the successful prevention and care programs of AIDS organizations.

The film was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Home Box Office (HBO). 

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