The subtitle of this book is ”the making of the Steps for the Future documentary series”. The writers are the two key initiators of this, the most important international documentary coproduction and training initiative, I know of. To remind you what that is, here is a quote from the site
”From seven different countries of the Southern African region comes a unique collection of films. Positive, provocative, humourous, brave - unusual stories about how individuals are confronting their lives and how societies are having to change under the impact of HIV/AIDS.”
The book is as wonderful as the series. It is written and edited with pride and passion by Vehkalahti from Finnish YLE and by producer Edkins from South Africa. They bring the whole story behind the building of the project, the production and the use of the films. The latter, the local distribution, taken care of by Edkins, is still going on 8 years after it all started. In the epilogue, the two write:
”One of our original aims for the project was that the films could be used to reduce stigma and discrimination of those living with HIV and AIDS. We feel that through the films, many people who would not normally have been heard, have been given a voice, and most importantly, as in any good documentary film, they have been allowed to finish their sentences. They have told us that actually, life is a beautiful thing.”
BUT the book, great layout, photos and different colours, includes ALSO a lot of general documentary information that makes it (the book) a must for all documentarists, not to mention film school students. Precisely formulated considerations and definitions of what is a documentary. Far from Academic language. See the next entry.
The book is accompanied by a dvd with 8 of the around 35 films that were made.
ISBN: 9781920196097. Published by Jacana Media May 2008. Recommended Retail Price: R165 incl. VAT. (Distribution among others Amazon). Photo: One of the writers at his desk.