AIDS orphans surpassing limits in Mozambique

First off, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Tetyana Pecherska, and I am currently an undergraduate at Boston University, studying Film Production and International Relations. I am very excited about joining the UNA-GB team and can’t wait for all of the events and programs that the organization has planned for 2009-2010. I have written, directed and edited several short narrative films and also participated in a student documentary exploring homelessness in Greater Boston. I look forward to step out of my comfort zone by working closer with films that tackle global issues.

The following review is my response to Home is Where You Find It¸ a documentary focusing on the day-to-day lives of AIDS orphans in Mozambique. This film will screen on Sunday, October 4th, including a talk by filmmaker Neal Baer. For more information on the locations, tickets, and other screenings, please visit the film festival’s website at http://www.bostonfilms.org.

Cracked-skin hands clasped tightly lay restlessly in Alcides Soares’ lap. Dust collects on his smooth face. His features contort in eternal worry. An intent gaze finds its way through his dulled dark eyes. Through a camera lens, sixteen-year-old Alcides from Mozambique reveals the burden of 500,000 AIDS orphans in Home is Where You Find It.

The documentary took root from a venture by Venice Arts photographers who set out to expose the untold stories of HIV+ mothers and AIDS orphans in Africa. Armed with digital cameras, participants flooded the project with empowering stories of endless hope, joyous triumphs, and unconditional compassion.

“The camera opened my eyes to the world,” remarks Alcides, “to all of the sights, to all of the sounds of my city.” Alcides began to see past the limits of a life defined by AIDS, allowing viewers to look beyond the overwhelming statistics of the pandemic. Because of fear, AIDS orphans often face discrimination and as a result, endless poverty. With a video camera half his size lodged on his shoulder, Alcides deftly maneuvers through the side streets of his friends’ lives. He unearths a hardened innocence and an overwhelming sense of responsibility in children half his age. Older siblings are left to care for their families while dealing with an unspoken fear of being diagnosed HIV+.

The humanity of the film, both grief and happiness, finds its way easily into your heart and is there to stay. Thanks to Alcides’ genuine care, his friends and family experience a comfort, sharing freely their emotions and experiences. Because of this, the documentary has an incomparable sense of truth and warmth. A sense of relentless hope radiates from the screen, which serves as a crucial reminder of an important global issue that continues to persist.

Enjoy the film,

Tetyana

PS. If you would like to learn more about the Venice Arts Project and the children featured in the film, please visit http://www.thehouseissmall.org/.

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