14 February 2003
Don't Walk Away
Bono joins other activists in new film A Closer Walk
, aimed at confronting the global AIDS epidemic.
A Closer Walk is reported to be the first film to depict humankind's confrontation with the global AIDS epidemic. Directed and produced by
Robert Bilheimer, an Academy Award nominee for his film Cry of Reason, the film features people living with HIV/AIDS from all walks of life; AIDS children and orphans and those caring for them; doctors, nurses, and social workers; human rights advocates; and leading scientists, economists, researchers and NGO officials. Shooting took place in Uganda, South Africa, Haiti, Switzerland, India, Nepal, Ukraine, Cambodia, and several US locations.
Exploring the underlying causes of AIDS, the film explores the relationship between health, dignity, and human rights; and calls for compassion and commitment in countering 'the worst plague in human history'.
'A lot of the documenting that's been done about AIDS in the last 20 years has been by news crews coming into hospitals and sticking video cameras in peoples' faces,' says Bilheimer,. 'What's been missing is an understanding of the underlying causes of the epidemic and a sensitive portrayal of the toll that AIDS has exacted in human terms.
'A great deal of the journalism has reinforced many of the stereotypes that AIDS is an African problem and that they are somehow responsible for its spread. For the most part, this has been immensely counterproductive and is one of the main things that A Closer Walk is trying to remedy.'
Narrated by Glen Close and Will Smith, apart from Bono, interviewees also include the Dalai Lama and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
'The real power of the film medium is that it provides the ability to present and represent human beings with all their inherent dignity.' added Bilheimer, 'That is precisely the essence of the issue itself - that people with AIDS have been marginalized, stigmatized, and discriminated against even before the epidemic came along.
'Our fundamental task was to restore or give dignity to the people who have AIDS and are living in poverty.'
View a trailer of the film here
You can request a copy of the film here
Read what USA Today has to say about the film here