State of Denial

2003, 86 minutes
Director/Producer: Elaine Epstein
Executive Producer, Lovett Productions
Distributed by California Newsreel

After Chipho has gone on treatment, she has gained weight and is back at school.

Additional Resources


Documentary Film

AIDS in Africa (1990, 52 minutes)
Distributor: Filmmakers Library
Roger Pyke Productions, National Film Board of Canada
      This video describes the war on AIDS in Africa. The disease cuts across the entire population, affecting men and women of reproductive age and their children, striking a continent already wracked by underdevelopment, civil strife and corruption.

AIDS: the Plague of the Century (1999, 98 minutes)
Director: Staffan Hildebrand
Distributor: Films for the Humanities & Sciences
      This video traces the emergence and spread of AIDS around the world, and the steps being taken to control and cure it.

Cost of Living (2000, 24 minutes)
Distributor: Bullfrog Films
      Part 14 of 30 part series, Life: A Film Series on Globalization, on how the global economy affects ordinary people, this program examines why AIDS drugs are unaffordable in developing countries. Thailand and South Africa provide examples of countries that have applied to use compulsory licenses and parallel importing, practices stipulated under World Trade Organization guidelines, to make generic versions of anti-retroviral drugs to halt the AIDS epidemic. The video takes issue with the absence of anti-retroviral drugs from the WTO's list of essential drugs.

Femmes Aux Yeux Ouverts (1994, 52 minutes)
Director: Anne-Laure Folly
Distributor: California Newsreel
Produced by Amanou Productions and Anne-Laure Folly
      From the Library of African Cinema series, Women with Open Eyes, this film surveys social conditions faced by women in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Benin, including circumcision, forced marriage, AIDS, and economic repression. It examines grass-roots efforts to improve education as Africa opens to democracy.

Race Against Time: the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Africa (2002, 48 minutes)
A film by Stephen Lewis
Distributor: Filmmakers Library
      The AIDS crisis in Africa is an epidemic of staggering proportions. Of the thirty-six million people infected with the HIV virus worldwide, over 25 million of them live in Africa, and 17 million Africans have died. This film is about the inspiring work of Canadian Stephen Lewis, the United Nations Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa as he searches for solutions to the pandemic ravaging the continent.

Steps for Future Series (2002, 33 films)
Distributor: California Newsreel
Day Zero Film and Video; series Produced by Don Edkins.
      From a special collaboration between filmmakers from Southern Africa (South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Lesotho) and broadcasters from the North (Finland, Canada, Denmark, France) comes a unique collection of 33 films (on 25 cassettes). Steps for the Future presents how individuals are coping with their lives and how societies are changing under the impact of HIV/AIDS, through stories that are positive, provocative, humorous and brave.

Death by Denial (2000, 41 minutes)
(60 minutes, II episode)
Distributor: CBS Video.
CBS Worldwide, Inc.; produced by David Gelber and Helen Malmgren; originally broadcast June 27, 2000.
      This episode from the television program 60 Minutes II discusses the spread of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa and the governments' ineffectual response.

It's My Life (2001, 73 minutes)
A film by Brian Tilley.
Distributor: First Run/Icarus Films
Presented by Dominant 7, Big World Cinema, Steps for the Future, and ARTE France
      Zackie Achmat is an AIDS activist who refuses to take anti-retroviral drugs until they are available in public hospitals and clinics. He leads the court battle against the multi-national drug companies and takes on the South African government for its confusing HIV/AIDS policies. As a leader in the campaign for affordable treatment, Zackie's provocative position is not one all his friends and colleagues support.



Barnett, Tony; Piers M. Blaikie. AIDS in Africa: Its Present and Future Impact. New York, NY: Guilford Press, 1992.

Fee, Elizabeth; Daniel M. Fox. AIDS: The Making of a Chronic Disease. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992.

Gostin, Larry O; Zita Lazzarini. Human Rights and Public Health in the AIDS Pandemic. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Hope, Kempe R. AIDS and Development in Africa: Social Science Perspective. New York, NY: Haworth Press, 1999.

Mack, Arien. In Time of Plague: the History and Social Consequences of Lethal Epidemic Disease. New York, NY: New York University Press, 1991.

McElrath, Karen. HIV and AIDS: a Global View. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.



California Newsreel (State of Denial distributor)
      California Newsreel distributes cutting edge social interest documentaries to universities, high schools and public libraries. Newsreel is the oldest non-profit film and video production and distribution center in the country. Over the past three decades they have brought institutional video users some of the most distinguished titles on pressing national and international issues

National Institutes of Health (article)
      This is the definitive National Institutes of Health article debunking the myths that the AIDS denialists perpetuate.

Treatment Action Campaign
      The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was launched on December 10 1998, International Human Rights Day. Its main objective is to campaign for greater access to treatment for all South Africans, by raising public awareness and understanding about issues surrounding the availability, affordability and use of HIV treatments. TAC campaigns against the view that AIDS is a 'death sentence.' Resources debunking AIDS denialists are included.
      A look at the myths perpetuated by AIDS denialists. (This article is shorter than the one by the NIH.)
      A simple look at the politics and history of AIDS denialism.
      An explanation explaining how HIV causes AIDS; diagrams included.

POV (broadcaster's web site)
      Includes discussion guide and resources on HIV and AIDS, and AIDS in Africa.

POV (film update)
      Find out what's happened since filming wrapped.


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