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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

UNTOLD (article first published : 2008-08-9)

Nine organisations from across Southern Africa have collaborated to produce a collection of extraordinary African films. These nine films from nine countries tell moving stories of love and hope, secrets and lies, courage and betrayal in a time of HIV and Aids. They are being televised across the continent in different languages this year at prime time and are suitable for family viewing.

In South Africa, be entertained weekly by the Untold series from August 6 at 20h30 on SABC 1. Each stand-alone film is 24 minutes.

Harriet Perlman, head of the regional programme of the Soul City Institute For Health & Development Communication states that: “Southern Africa has the highest HIV infection rates in the world and now more than ever we need to act together, to stem its tide. Untold is a remarkable series of short films for TV, written and produced by local writers and film makers from this region. It is part of a ground-breaking cross-border health communication project, led by the Soul City Institute, which is working with partners in eight southern African countries to tackle HIV and Aids.”

The project is the largest locally-developed prevention communication programme in Africa. It has also developed and unearthed new talent both in front and behind the camera. Film makers and writers across the region attended an intensive 18 month accredited training course in scriptwriting and drama film production to make films that break new ground and both entertain and educate. Quality scripts with dramatic story lines have been researched and tested with the target audience.

“Effective communication is a key factor in the control of HIV and Aids in Southern Africa,” continues Harriet Perlman. “It has been researched that health promotion that is locally developed, relevant and culturally appropriate is most effective in creating change.”

John Molefe, Head of Public Affairs at Soul City adds: “HIV and Aids does not respect borders. Our success in curtailing the epidemic depends on a coordinated regional response, not only to share best practice but also to ensure synergy of health messages.”

The series is sponsored by BP, Royal Netherlands Embassy, European Union, DFID and Irish Aid.




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