The Other City, co-produced by Salamander Hospitality CEO Sheila C. Johnson, to premiere 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.”
“THE OTHER CITY” - A NEW FILM ABOUT HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
WORLD PREMIERE AT NINTH ANNUAL TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 26
New York, NY (April 1, 2010) – 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 1 percent threshold that constitutes a "generalized and severe" epidemic. The Other City, a new film by director Susan Koch, written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, deals with this controversial topic and will have its world premiere at the Ninth Annual Tribeca Film Festival on April 26th.
Produced by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson, The Other City 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 we pay – in the loss of countless lives because of denial and ignorance.
“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 DC Health Committee, Kevin Frost, CEO amfar, author and HIV/AIDS activists Larry Kramer, 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 million 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 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 ages 25 to 34 is AIDS. In New York City, 1 in 8 injection-drug users and 1 in 10 men who have sex with men are HIV-positive.
"We have documented those raw, personal stories, and given viewers unprecedented access to those living on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic,” says producer Sheila Johnson. “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.”
For more information about The Other City, visit www.theothercity.com.
For more information about the Tribeca Film Festival and for screening schedules for The Other City, visit www.tribecafilmfestival.com.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Susan Koch (Director)
An Emmy- and Peabody-winning filmmaker, directs and produces documentaries and non-fiction programming for worldwide distribution. Her feature documentary, Kicking It, about homeless soccer players who compete in an international tournament, premiered at the 2008 Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals, was released theatrically and on DVD. It was broadcast on ESPN. Koch codirected and produced Mario's Story, about a young Latino, Mario Rocha, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison on the basis of one eyewitness and no physical evidence. Mario's Story received the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was broadcast on Showtime in 2009. Koch received a prestigious Soros Justice Media Fellowship for her work with this film. Koch directed the critically-acclaimed documentary, City at Peace, featured at film festivals throughout the world and broadcast on HBO. Her work has appeared on ABC, NBC, PBS, HBO, Showtime, MTV, ESPN, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Turner Broadcasting, American Movie Classics, The Learning Channel and the Travel Channel.
Jose Antonio Vargas (Co-Producer and Writer)
A multimedia journalist. He's the Technology & Innovations Editor at The Huffington Post, where he oversees the Technology and College sections, and was previously a feature writer and national political reporter for The Washington Post, where he covered technology culture, HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. and the 2008 presidential campaign, among other topics. He won a Pulitzer Prize as a part of a team that covered the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. The media's evolution -- and the breaking down of barriers between print and broadcast journalism -- has guided his nearly 12-year reporting career. He's written for daily newspapers (Philadelphia Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle) and national magazines (New York and Rolling Stone). He's also appeared on several television broadcasts, including CNN, MSNBC, and PBS NewsHour. He serves on the advisory board of the Knight Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, housed at American University in D.C., and he's a very proud graduate of Mountain View High School and San Francisco State University. He currently lives in New York City.
Sheila C. Johnson (Producer)
An entrepreneur and philanthropist whose accomplishments spans the areas of hospitality, sports, TV/film, the arts, education and humanitarian causes. She is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, LLC, a company she founded in 2005, overseeing a growing portfolio of luxury properties, including Woodlands Inn, in Summerville, SC; Innisbrook, a 72-hole Golf & Resort Spa in Innisbrook, FL; and the much anticipated Salamander Resort & Spa, currently being constructed in Middleburg, VA. As President and Managing Partner of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, and a partner in Lincoln Holdings, LLC, Johnson is the first African American woman to have a stake in three professional sports teams, including the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Capitals (NHL). She is also a TV pioneer, having been a founder partner of BET (Black Entertainment Television) and the creator of the award-winning program Teen Summit. Currently, Johnson is producing films with humanitarian messages, including Kicking It, A Powerful Noise and She Is the Matador. In 2006, Johnson was named global ambassador for CARE, a leading aid organization fighting global poverty by empowering women. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York. An accomplished violinist and a fervent supporter of the arts and education, Johnson was appointed by President Obama to the President's Committee of the Arts and the Humanities, and she sits on the boards of Americans for the Arts, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation, the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, Howard University and the University of Illinois Foundation.
About The Tribeca Film Festival
Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of the lower Manhattan district through an annual celebration of film, music and culture.
The Festival’s mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promote New York City as a major filmmaking center. Tribeca Film Festival is well known for being a diverse international film festival that supports emerging and established directors.
The Tribeca Festival has screened over 1100 films from over 80 countries since its first festival in 2002. Since its founding, it has attracted an international audience of more than 2.3 million attendees and has generated an estimated $600 million in economic activity for New York City
 As determined by the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).