College of Charleston to screen documentary 'deepsouth' for Worl - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

College of Charleston to screen documentary 'deepsouth' for World AIDS Day

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deepsouth is a documentary film about the often-ignored and interconnected issues facing the rural American South. deepsouth is a documentary film about the often-ignored and interconnected issues facing the rural American South.

Public health advocates at the College of Charleston are hosting the Charleston premiere of deepsouth to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of HIV among people in the American South.  Co-sponsored by the Charleston Area World AIDS Day Committee, the event includes a Q&A with director and producer Lisa Biagiotti and film subject Monica Johnson.

The film will be shown on December 4, 2013 in Physicians Memorial Auditorium at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

deepsouth is a documentary film about the often-ignored and interconnected issues facing the rural American South. Beneath layers of history, poverty -- and now soaring HIV infections -- four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive.
At the end of 2010, 521 of every 100,000 people in Charleston County were living with HIV.

This compares to 364 per 100,000 across all of South Carolina and 283 per 100,000 across the United States (based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

"HIV has an outsized - yet largely unseen - effect on Charleston. We spend a lot of time discussing HIV's unequal effect on certain groups in the area in many of our public health classes," says Matthew Page, Ph.D., M.P.P., assistant professor of public health at the College of Charleston. "We hope this program goes beyond our campus to promote awareness of HIV's disproportionate impact. We want the message to reach members of the communities most adversely affected by the disease."

The support of the School of Education Health and Human Performance, the Joseph P. Riley Center for Livable Communities, and the Roper St. Francis Ryan White Program, among many other co-sponsors, has been invaluable in bringing this award-winning documentary to town.

"More than 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and on a day when survival is celebrated and people are dearly remembered, we seldom acknowledge that the epidemic continues to persist today," Biagiotti said. "We are beyond HIV as solely a public health issue, but it is by no means over. deepsouth attempts to make the connections among the interlocking issues of poverty, social injustice, human rights and social determinants of health through personal stories from across the rural South."

In the last year, deepsouth has been on a grassroots film tour, screening more than 45 times -- 30 times at the invitation of communities -- in local theaters, university auditoriums, government agencies, Black churches, LGBT film festivals and academic conferences.

deepsouth was scheduled to be presented at The White House in October 2013, but the summit meeting on HIV and the South has been postponed due to the government shutdown.

The documentary has won the SPECIAL PROGRAMMING AWARD FOR FREEDOM at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE at the Polari Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and is an OFFICIAL SELECTION for Human Rights Watch Film Festival Traveling Tour 2013-2014.

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