Salamander Hospitality CEO Sheila C. Johnson produces 'The Other City'
04 / 28 / 2010
Categories: Company Information
New film about HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C. premieres to acclaim at Tribeca Film Festival
“In every city, including the capital of the most powerful country in the world, there is another city, a city of forgotten people and unspeakable shame.”
Middleburg, VA (April 28, 2010) – Sheila C. Johnson, the CEO of Salamander Hospitality and noted entrepreneur and philanthropist, has produced a new film called The Other City, which shines a spotlight on the HIV/AIDS crisis in Washington, D.C.
The documentary premiered to acclaim on April 26 at The Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The film’s subject matter was then discussed by a panel of those involved with the film, and also CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin; US Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin; Jehmu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center; and Clothing Designer Kenneth Cole, who serves as chairman of the board of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
"We have documented those raw, personal stories, and given viewers unprecedented access to those living on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic,” says Johnson, whose hospitality company includes Innisbrook Resort near Tampa, FL; Woodlands Inn near Charleston, SC; and the under-construction Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA. “By showing the ‘two Washingtons’ – one that is affluent and powerful, the other that is overwhelmingly poor and powerless – we also cast a spotlight on several large cities across America that are home to a ‘shadow’ population, dealing with epidemic-like numbers of people with HIV/AIDS.”
The Other City is directed by Emmy- and Peabody-winning filmmaker Susan Koch, and written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. It spotlights personal stories of those that live in the shadow of the Capitol but remain virtually invisible to the lawmakers and politicians who work there. Tackling issues of homelessness, drug addiction, access services and the lingering social stigma accompanied by a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS, The Other City illustrates indelibly the steep cost society pays – in the loss of countless lives because of denial and ignorance.
Washington, D.C., has a higher rate of HIV/AIDS infection than several countries in Africa. The figures are startling: at least 3 percent of the capital city's population is HIV-positive – far surpassing the one percent threshold that constitutes a "generalized and severe" epidemic.
“HIV/AIDS intersects and reflects many of the injustices and inequities that plague our capital and our nation – from poverty to race and homophobia, to health care, incarceration rates and education,” says film director Susan Koch. I hope this film will not only spark much needed dialogue about AIDS in America, but also make us aware of ‘the other city’ that is part of every large city in America.”
The Other City features a cross-section of powerful personal stories of individuals representing demographic groups impacted and affected by HIV/AIDS, and features commentary by Colbert King, Pulitzer prize winning columnist at the Washington Post; Frank Rich, columnist for the New York Times; U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); David Cantania, Chairman of DC Health Committee; Kevin Frost, CEO of amfar, author and HIV/AIDS activist Larry Kramer; and Shannon Hader, Director of DC HIV/AIDS Administration for the DC Department of Health.
“When I first came to D.C. in 2003 as a reporting intern at The Washington Post, I was a bit starry-eyed,” says film writer Jose Antonio Vargas. “But in my first few months living in the city – riding the bus across town, walking around the neighborhoods – I grew to know a whole other Washington, a predominantly black city that does not have a vote in Congress, a city with a sizable gay population and a growing Latino community. I discovered a disease that decade after decade has kept on spreading within the city walls, just a few steps from the White House. With this film, I feel it is time to re-start the conversation about a devastating epidemic that is not going away. To me, 'The Other City' is America's underclass as told through a virus."
More than 1,000,000 people in the U.S. are living with the HIV or AIDS. On average, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV every nine and a half minutes. And while Washington, D.C., has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the country, other American cities are seeing epidemic-like figures. Nationally, the leading cause of death for black women aged 25 to 34 is AIDS. In New York City, one-in-eight injection-drug users, and one-in-ten men who have sex with men, are HIV-positive.
For more information about The Other City, visit www.theothercity.com.
About Salamander Hospitality
Salamander Hospitality is a privately owned and operated company based in Middleburg, VA, just outside Washington, D.C. Founded by entrepreneur Sheila C. Johnson in 2005, the company manages and develops hotels, resorts and inns that reflect the authenticity and character of their surrounding environment. The portfolio includes the recently renovated Innisbrook Resort near Tampa, Fla., host to the PGA TOUR’s Transitions Championship in March and the LPGA Legends Tour Open Championship in November; Woodlands Inn near Charleston, SC, which is one of only six properties in North America to hold Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond ratings for both accommodations and dining; and the under-construction Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Salamander Hospitality also operates a division of gourmet prepared food markets called Market Salamander with locations in Middleburg and Innisbrook, FL. For additional information, call (540) 687-3710 or visit www.salamanderhospitality.com.
 As determined by the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).