Other Group

HIV Story Project

Website:

thehivstoryproject.org/hsp/

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Project of:

Tides Center

Created:

2009

Type:

Nonprofit Film Production Company

Founder:

Marc Smolowitz

The HIV Story Project (HIV Story) was a small, San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that created films to advocate awareness of HIV/AIDS and fight stigma associated with the disease. Founded in 2009 by executive director Marc Smolowitz, the organization merged into the left-of-center Tides Center in 2019. [1][2]

Among other groups, HIV Story has partnered with We>AIDS, Stop AIDS Project, and the AIDS Housing Alliance. It received funding and sponsorship from several left-of-center LGBT activist organizations, including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In addition to its work showcasing films, HIV Story offered media production services and provided consultation and training services for HIV/AIDS-related nonprofits. [3]

Projects

“Surviving Voices” and “Divine Deviance”

In 2015 HIV Story partnered with the National AIDS Memorial to produce “Surviving Voices,” a set of short documentaries that created an “oral history” of different experiences of groups coping with HIV/AIDS. The series included films from the perspectives of transgender individuals, women, and drug addicts. [4]

Although most of the films featured by HIV Story focus on HIV awareness, the group has also featured films related to LGBT subcultures and other topics. In 2016, HIV Story announced that it would fund “Divine Deviance,” a series of short documentary films documenting “BDSM/kink” subcultures. [5]

“Generation HIV Online”

In June 2015, HIV Story launched an online archive of its showcased films entitled “Generation HIV Online.” [6] HIV Story presented the archive with the cooperation of then-San Francisco City Supervisor Scott Wiener (D). Supervisor Weiner later campaigned to lower the penalty for intentionally exposing another person to HIV infection from a felony to a misdemeanor and to remove the sex-offender registry requirement for perpetrators whose victims were less than ten years younger than the offender. [7] [8]

People

Marc Smolowitz is the co-founder and executive director of HIV Story. He is credited as a producer on more than 40 films, most notably the 2002 film The Weather Underground, which documented the violent, radical-left organization of the same name. [9]

Jorg Fockele is the co-founder, project director, and vice-chair of HIV Story. He is also the director of television shows including “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Wife Swap.” [10] In 2016, Fockele partnered with the San Francisco-based Custom Made Theatre to produce a musical entitled “Voices of the Quilt,” based on a song cycle written by composer Ayesu Lartey to highlight those who had died of HIV/AIDS. [11]

References

  1. HIV Story Project. “Home.” HIV Story Project Website. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021. http://thehivstoryproject.org/hsp/  ^
  2. “Agreement of Merger.” California Secretary of State. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/Document/RetrievePDF?Id=01834045-27455664 ^
  3. HIV Story Project. “The HIV Story Project Launches Generations HIV Online Video Archive.” PR Newswire.com Website. June 5, 2015. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-hiv-story-project-launches-generations-hiv-online-video-archive-300094981.html ^
  4. National AIDS Memorial. “Surviving Voices.” National AIDS Memorial Website. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.aidsmemorial.org/surviving-voices ^
  5. Bannon, Race. Reveling in “Divine Deviance.” Letherati.com September 2, 2016. Accessed August 23, 2021.   https://leatherati.com/reveling-in-divine-deviance-38c97727f6a3 ^
  6. “The HIV Story Project Launches Generations HIV Online Video Archive.” PR Newswire.com Website. June 5, 2015. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-hiv-story-project-launches-generations-hiv-online-video-archive-300094981.html ^
  7. California Legislative Information. “SB-239.” CA.gov Website. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB239 ^
  8. California Legislative Information. “SB-145 Sex Offenders: Registration.” CA.gov Website. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB145 ^
  9. IMDB. “Marc Smolowitz.” IMDB.com. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0810625/ ^
  10. HIV Story Project. “Jorg Föckele.” HIV Story Project Website. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021. http://thehivstoryproject.org/hsp/board/jorg-fockele/ ^
  11. The Custom Made Theatre. “Voices of the Quilt.” CustomMade.org Website. Undated. Accessed August 23, 2021.   https://www.custommade.org/quilt/ ^
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HIV Story Project


San Francisco, CA