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Thousands participate in Camfed’s film campaign on World AIDS Day

On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2009, Camfed kicked off a dynamic multimedia campaign called “Educate a Girl and Change the World,” which aims to unleash profound change for millions of children in Africa. The vehicle driving the campaign is Camfed’s award-winning documentary film Where the Water Meets the Sky, written by Jordan Roberts and narrated by Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman. The documentary chronicles the story of a group of women in rural Zambia who learn to make films as a way to speak out about an issue that affects them all: the plight of young people orphaned by AIDS.

The campaign launched on World AIDS Day with the US broadcast premiere of Where the Water Meets the Sky on the Sundance Channel. In addition, a screening initiative brought the film to audiences across the globe, from Korea and Croatia to India and Las Vegas, in venues including schools, museums, sororities, refugee camps, corporations, and private homes.

On the evening of World AIDS Day, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Edelman and Linklaters sponsored a premiere screening of the film at the Paley Center for Media in New York City, which was followed by a stimulating panel discussion featuring three experts with decades of combined experience working in Africa: Abibata Mahama, the Ghanaian trainer who led the filmmaking workshop; Benjamin Chama, the educator who helped change the fate of Penelope, the young woman at the heart of the film; and Ann Cotton, Camfed’s founder. Concerned citizens from around the world logged on to FORA tv and Justin TV to participate in the live online discussion.

The panelists provided audience members with a behind-the scenes look at the making of the documentary. They also shared their insights on the power of film to spark social change and the changing attitudes toward HIV/AIDS and AIDS orphans in the community in rural Zambia where the filmmaking project took place.

“I’m very proud to work with extraordinary people like Abibata and Benjamin, who are fighting for change every day of their lives,” said Ann Cotton. “Through this program they have seen firsthand the transformation made possible by filmmaking.”

The film outreach was reinforced by an awareness-raising campaign via Camfed’s social media channels, Twitter and Facebook, which together boast nearly half a million supporters. During the week leading up to World AIDS Day, Camfed posted facts about AIDS in Africa in an effort to raise awareness about the powerful and undeniable connection between AIDS prevention and girls’ education.

The global film campaign will continue throughout 2010, with screenings scheduled on key dates such as International Women’s Day, on university campuses organized through the ONE campaign, as well as at venues such as the Yale Club and the Penn Club in New York.

Join us by hosting your own screening! Click here to learn how.


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