Coming to say Goodbye

| June 1, 2011

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Title: Coming to say goodbye [videorecording] :
stories of AIDS in Africa
Director: Anne Macksoud and John Ankele
Production: [New York] : AFRUS-AIDS
[Maryknoll, N.Y.] : Maryknoll Productions,
[between 2004 and 2009]
Check It Out:  RA644.A25 C65 2004

From the Publisher: “AIDS statistics are numbers with the tears washed off.” Coming to Say Goodbye vividly recounts the stories of several families grappling with the ravages of AIDS in Kenya and Tanzania, where the problem is so immense that the poor are being left to suffer on their own. Many lack even the food needed to take medicine properly. Most of the patients are women, typically rejected and abandoned by their families. Also doomed are 100,000 to 150,000 AIDS-infected orphans in East Africa.

The stories are woven together by insights from church workers, social workers, educators, and medical professionals who face a collapsing health-care system even as they struggle to stand by those who are suffering. These caregivers help us see the connection between the AIDS crisis in Africa and the broader issues of extreme poverty, inequality, and international policies that keep the cycle spinning. They point to excessive debt, the structural adjustment programs of the World Bank and the IMF, and drug patent issues that make medications unavailable to the poor as factors behind this modern-day plague that has wiped out an entire generation of Africans.

The extraordinary social cost represented in Coming to Say Goodbye challenges viewers to take up the role of global advocate in combating this devastating disease.

About the Directors:  We are two “old dogs” who are worried about the state of our world and saddened by the suffering we see all around us. Since 1985, we have produced and directed documentary films about the subtleties of individual human experience and the complexities of our collective challenges. Our work encourages thoughtful responses to the interconnectedness of all life. We hope it inspires viewers to become agents of change, determined to do what it takes to create a more just and peaceful world.

It is clear to us that our political leaders cannot solve the problems of our time. They themselves are too beholden to privileged, powerful constituencies to inspire us to think beyond our own self-interest. We believe that change, if it is to come at all, must start with ordinary people around the world who understand the relationships and responsibilities of a global community. We believe that ordinary people have the will, the resourcefulness, the compassion, and the decency to craft new solutions that serve the common good.

We offer our films as catalysts for this kind of awareness— as tools for education and activism in the name of social change. We invite you to watch them at home, show them to your friends, share them with your classes and your community. We are happy to answer questions, provide additional resource materials, and suggest ways of using our films that will support your own efforts to nurture and protect this world that we share.

Thank you,
Anne Macksoud and John Ankele

John Ankele, B.A., M.Div., started out as Program Director for the NYC Council of Churches, doing public affairs programs for WABC radio, WNBC-TV, and WCBS-TV. He then spent six years teaching at the Communications Center of the All-Africa Conference of Churches in Nairobi, Kenya. Back in the U.S., he developed curriculum videos for schools and institutions and promotional videos for nonprofit organizations. Lately, he has led workshops exploring “the common ground between contemplative practice and the experience of visual perception, from the point of view of both filmmaker and watcher.”

Anne Macksoud, B.A., M.A., spent 17 years as a teacher (English, photography, and music) before transitioning to film and video production. Once she discovered the “eye-opening” power of the documentary medium, she brought rented documentaries into her classroom on a regular basis. Eventually, she began helping her students make their own films and slide shows on the issues of the day (civil rights, the Vietnam War, and global poverty, to name a few). She approaches filmmaking from the perspective of an artist as well as an educator.

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