New York, US – When the time came for Emmy-winning filmmaker Lisa Russell to identify the English and Kiswahili narrators for her new short documentary film highlighting an innovative HIV prevention program aimed at young men in Tanzania, she turned to a community that has a huge influence on African youth – hip hop.
“This innovative HIV prevention program can greatly reduce new HIV infections among young men in Tanzania and so involving influential artists such as Grammy-winning artist and actor Common and Tanzanian hip hop icon, Fid Q to help share those messages both in Tanzania and internationally became an important part of the film,” filmmaker Russell states who frequently collaborates with artists in her film outreach activities.
The film is entitled “It's About the People: Tanzania's VMMC Program Gets It Right” and details how the Iringa and Njombe regions of Tanzania are successfully scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services as a means to avert more than three million future HIV infections in these regions. Research has shown that voluntary medical male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by 60%. It involves a single surgical intervention, and provides lifelong partial protection against the acquisition of HIV and a number of other sexually transmitted diseases. In addition. women with circumcised partners have a reduced risk of several STDs and of cancer of the cervix.
In order to reach the local population in Tanzania, a Kiswahili version was also produced. Award winning Tanzanian hip hop icon, Fid Q, whose sister died of AIDS, uses his status and music as a way to relay important ideas to thousands of young men who attend his shows. Fid Q attended the Kiswahili premiere of “It's About the People” at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) – East Africa's largest cultural event - in June of this year.
“Through creative art, music and films like this documentary, we can reach different groups easily, raise their awareness, advocate for resources and more importantly, increase the utilization of life-saving interventions like voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention,”
“It's About the People” was funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and produced in collaboration with Jhpiego. Aimed to encourage policy makers in 13 other Eastern and Southern Africa countries to accelerate their scale- up of VMMC services, the film includes testimony by the former US Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, representatives from Tanzania's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, VMMC clients and other AIDS advocates who are contributing to creating an AIDS-free generation in Tanzania.
The English version of the film will premiere at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne at a session entitled “From Research to Practice to Impact: Lessons From the VMMC Scale-Up“ “ that occurs on Sunday, July 20 at 3:45pm AEST. After the English premiere, the film will be screened at various events and will be available to watch online. Those interested in following the film can join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/
For more information about the film and a private screening link, contact filmmaker Lisa Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-917-554-4126.
For more information about the VMMC Program in Tanzania, contact Hally Mahler, Director of HIV Programs, Jphiego at hally.mahler@
For information about Common and his July 22 "Nobody's Smiling" album release, visit www.thinkcommon.com.
Forl information about Fid Q, visit http://www.reverbnation.com/