Thursday, January 19, 2006

IVF: Getting The Word Out Through Film

While I was writing about the cool videos and the awardees of Staying Alive yesterday (see January 18th Article) I came across the name of Belinda Ngwadzai of Zimbabwe who works with the International Video Fair Trust. I will tell you more about Belinda later, but first I want to talk about the organization with which she works.

The International Video Fair (IVF) is a non-profit trust founded and based in Zimbabwe and uses film as a medium to disseminate development oriented information to its target audiences. IVH uses its "edu-tainment" / social marketing project to conduct free film screenings to mass audiences. These screenings are always open to the public.

The films screened by IVF address key social issues and issues involving development. These are the two issues that IVF believes are most relevant to local communities to whom they wish to deliver the messages. And through these screening, IVF provides crucial educational information for their many target communities.

The objectives of IVF are:

- To educate urban and local communities regarding crucial social and developmental concerns in a strategic program towards behavior modification,

- To cater to communities that have limited or no access to other forms of media based education and where specific development and social concerns are most prevalent and most threatening,

- To create local awareness and appreciation for African films and contribute to the development of infrastructure within the film industry in Africa,

- To exhibit and promote films which reflect the aspirations of Africans and which advance self-determination and equality within African people;

- To promote & support the development of local productions, with a clear focus on films that serve a developmental / cultural purpose.

IVF believes that they are very unique because their operations "have the capacity to congregate captive audiences and address them within the context of an entertainment event." They also believe that their strategy for deploying knowledge has many advantages over disseminating information through other forms of media.

IVF sees their potential for reaching target populations as being practically unlimited, and that, they believe is their greatest advantage. IVF conducts "screening road shows" that reach audiences that have little or no access to radio, television and newspaper media. And. unlike television and radio, IVF's real-time presence in local communities enables them to get to know their audience, gauge their response to the educational messages and to conduct thorough evaluations if the programs effectiveness. This helps to ensure a greater impact on those target audiences. In addition to the videos and as a core part of their programming, IVF often has speakers, who are experts in subject field, address the audience and initiate audience discussion before and after screening the film screenings.

A list of the films and a brief description of their topics in the words of IVF are listed below:

40 minutes, South Africa

"This is a realistic and moving film about an event that touches everybody. More than 12 000 mothers a year give birth in the Chris Hani Hospital in Johannesburg. Nearly 50% are HIV positive. The film shows the struggle of one woman after she finds out she is HIV positiv and how access to treatment can save the life of her baby. Also featured are the tasks and accompanying feelingsof the hospital staff around her: a doctor, nurse, counsellor and a cleaner."

40 minutes, Mozambique/South Africa

"Joachim is a migrant labourer who is torn between his responsibilities for his junior wife in South Africa and his senior wife and family in Mozambique. When visiting his home village after a long absence, he is also torn between his understanding of the responsibilities of his HIV positive status and what traditional society expects of him as a man. He has to make a choice: he cannot please and protect everybody at the same time.What will he choose?"

26 minutes, Zimbabwe

"A national hero turns public enemy when he confesses his tragic secret. Gilbert Josamu, Zimbabwean middleweight boxing champion, discovered he was HIV postive at the heightof his career, but forged his medical certificates and contiuned to box. Just months before he died Josamu finally confessed to having lived with HIV for 14 years. The public outrage that followed forced heim into his toughest fight yet-the battle for acceptance. A story told by those who are still alive."

26 minutes, South Africa

A mother and daughter are in a crisis because of their different responses to AIDS. Pinky, flamboyant and loud, lets everyone know she is HIV positive. Ntombi is battling to be just like everyone else. But her mother's courageous and touching refusal to be quiet or passive in the face of AIDS, sets them both apart.

26 minutes, South Africa

"Memory is one of the 75 000 street kids in Lusaka, most of them orphans due to AIDS. Although she is hard, streetwise and ready to fight, she has a softer side which influences her daily life, like finding a way to watch the solar eclipse, getting her hair braided, cooking, singing and talking with her friends. She is a street child child who fights for, and finds-her own identity and destiny. Vulnerable, yet strong, Memory is a compelling character.

7 minutes, Zimbabwe

"Issues around inheritence have a new twist these days in rural Zimbabwe. When Mai Tawanda is instructed by the elders to marry her dead husband's brother, she protests. "My husband, your brother, died of AIDS. I am HIV positive." The elders , saying she bewitched her late husband, dismiss her claims, thus revealing the problem of denial in rural communities in Southern Africa."

:: minutes, Zimbabwe

'Is a short film that IVF has done based on the current HIV/AIDS campaign. Belinda the Zimbabwean facilitator was filmed together with the roadshow crew. Through her discussion and her discussion and her life story, her testimonies inspired and motivated not only the audience, but also the crew members to go and get tested."

And this brings us back to Belinda, the Award Winning young activist who Staying Alive highlighted by saying that she is "21 and working with the International Video Fair Trust to educate communities on HIV and AIDS, teenage sex and pregnancy and gender issues through the use of videos to audiences who have no access to mainstream media."

And these guys are serious about getting the word out. A quick glimpse at the data provided by IVF and I found that in Mozambique alone, IVF had 139 screenings between February 25, 2004 and October 27, 2004 that reached 393,400 viewers . And In South Africa they reached 117,550 viewers in 143 screenings in 2004.

The sponsors of IVF are:

Swedish SIDA
MS Zimbabwe
German Development Services
Experiential Marketing (link not found)

If you make a visit to the International Video Fair Trust , you will see that they have a lot going on.

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