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    Posted November 30, 2011 by
    New York, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Have you been affected by AIDS?

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    World AIDS Day - MISS HIV NYC Film Festival

    Q & A with Carmen Neely

    The Miss HIV NYC Film Festival is a four day initiative to generate multiple screenings of Miss HIV in Manhattan/NY/Metro starting December 1, World AIDS Day, thru December 4, 2011, as well as thru mid-December. Crucial Arts Productions is the lead organization reaching out to organizations to screen Miss HIV at numerous venues across NYC and the metro area. Immediately following the film screenings, panelist will be available for discussion.

    Q: What got you involved with the MISS HIV NYC film festival?

    Crucial Arts had initially screened Miss HIV in October of 2009 as part of our Crucial Arts Documentary Film Series. It received quite a bit of attention. So much so that we screened it again for World AIDS Day 2009. Ethnographic Media (EGM) learned of our screenings and contacted us to lend us their congratulations and support. Crucial Arts and EGM has been in contact off and on since that time. Then, earlier this year, we were contacted by Bill Oechsler, EGM’s President, to see if we had any ideas about what we would do if we were we given 100 copies of Miss HIV. The answer to that question became the Miss HIV NYC Film Festival.

    Q: Who is involved with this community event in NYC?

    We have 25 organizations who have registered as Miss HIV NYC Film Festival Screening Partners. (A full list of partners is included at the end of this interview.)

    Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this festival?

    Jim Hanon's Miss HIV is an amazing and thought provoking documentary. The fight against stigmatization of HIV/AIDS is not just our fight, it’s a global fight, and documentaries like Miss HIV are effective weapons in our arsenal. We hope to combat the stigma of living with HIV/AIDS via the Miss HIV NYC Film Festival. If we can help someone decide to go get tested and get treatment as a result (if necessary), then our efforts won’t have been in vain. Here in New York City, as well as across the world, the sigma of having HIV/AIDS has kept and continues to keep people from acting in their own best interests when it comes to prevention and treatment. Our purpose is to provide information and support toward ending the stigma.

    Q: What kind of feedback have you had so far?

    So far, we have had an overwhelmingly positive response. Crucial Arts has been approached by other organizations and film producers to work on a similar sort of project for World AIDS Day 2012. The community at large has also been extremely supportive. Our screening partners are excited to participate, and many people are excited to attend the various screenings.

    Q: Tell us about Crucial Arts and your affiliation with them.
    Crucial Arts is a 501c3 non-profit organization that produces documentary film screenings for the community. I am the Executive Director and co-founder of Crucial Arts. Our mission is to support, produce, promote and present performance and visual media that celebrate the diverse artists and artistry of people of color.

    Q: Can you tell us more about EthnoGraphic Media and your partnership?

    EthnoGraphic Media is a non-profit film production company whose purpose is to serve by sharing true stories that take on the most difficult subjects such as HIV/AIDS, conflict in the Holy Land, and the taking of life in the Amazon. And they do not flinch when it comes to presenting raw subject matter or raising difficult questions. Miss HIV certainly fits this purpose. Crucial Arts is working in collaboration with EthnoGraphic media to present the Miss HIV NYC Film Festival.

    Q: How can people find out more about where the film is being shown and other activities associated with this event?

    People can visit our website at www.MissHIVNYC.org or email us at info@misshivnyc.org.

    For a list of screening partners please visit www.MissHIVNYC.org
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