SH2 - Fri., Dec. 3, 2004 (7:05pm)
"My Life in Verse," a moving documentary that chronicles ASC's pioneering poetry program for people living with HIV/AIDS will make its world television debut on Showtime on World AIDS Day, December 1.
ASC's Creative Writing Workshop, led by award-winning poet Gerry Gomez Pearlberg, meets weekly to read and discuss the poetry of established poets and to create and workshop original poetry written by the group's participants. Intimate and vivid, "My Life in Verse" profiles individuals from the group as they joyfully find their voices and their self-esteem. The film culminates in a triumphant public poetry reading.
Airing at 7PM EST on December 1 and again at various dates and times throughout the month, "My Life in Verse" reflects how artistic expression is an essential component of healing and surviving. "This broadcast is a milestone for AIDS Service Center, our extraordinary clients, and everyone working to help people with HIV/AIDS live fuller lives," said Sharen Duke, executive director of ASC. "It sends a powerful message that healing means nourishing body, mind and soul."
Pearlberg agreed. "As they discover their own voices, and realize the power of self-expression, these clients transform, and that's something the film captures beautifully," she said.
The Showtime broadcast was made possible with the support of Cable Positive, the industry organization dedicated to unifying the talents, resources, access and influence of the communications industry to raise AIDS awareness; fund AIDS education, research and care; and promote a more compassionate climate for people whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS.
"We think it's important that the message of hope in this film reach a wide audience, along with the message of compassion from ASC. We're proud to support this broadcast," said Oscar Marin, head of the New York chapter of Cable Positive. Cable Positive recently named AIDS Service Center as the beneficiary of a portion of the New York chapter's fundraising efforts for 2004-05.
"My Life in Verse" was conceived and directed by Marnee Meyer, a first-time filmmaker and a development officer at AIDS Service Center who had simply set out to record several sessions of the poetry workshop as archival footage.
"When you see how uplifted the participants feel as they learn to express themselves through poetry, you realize how important this workshop is in the healing process," Meyer said. "I wanted this film to capture the accomplishment they feel, and the joy and strength they gain from sharing their life experiences."
"My Life in Verse" was an official selection of the 2004 Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The film was also chosen for the 2004 Reel Venus Film Festival, which showcases film/video shorts directed and written by women.
Shot on digital video, "My Life in Verse" is 16 minutes long.