(San Francisco, CA) — More Americans have been lost to AIDS than in all the US wars since 1900; however, few know about the existence of the National AIDS Memorial, a seven-acre grove hidden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Grove, a film by Andy Abrahams Wilson and Tom Shepard, chronicles this garden’s transformation from neglected eyesore to landscaped sanctuary to national memorial. The film shows how a community in crisis found healing and remembrance, and how the seeds of a few visionary environmentalists blossomed into something larger than they could have imagined. But as the Grove’s stakeholders seek broader public recognition through an international design competition, a battle erupts over what constitutes an appropriate memorial for the AIDS pandemic. Falling perfectly in line with World AIDS Day and the 30th anniversary of the first AIDS cases in the U.S., The Grove premieres with hundreds of broadcasts around the clock on PBS stations on Thursday, December 1, 2011 (check your local listings).
In addition to the national TV broadcast, an exciting interactive iOS application has been created to complement the film: iMemorial is a groundbreaking app that connects memorials to places and people. Cutting-edge mapping and augmented reality technologies link memorial tributes to the "places where memories live." iMemorial will be available in the iTunes App Store in early December during World AIDS Awareness Month.
About the Filmmakers
Andy Abrahams Wilson (Producer/Director) is the founder and president of Open Eye Pictures. He is an award-winning, Emmy®-nominated producer and director of creative non-fiction films. Wilson received a BA in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University and an MA in visual anthropology from the University of Southern California, where he studied at the USC School of Cinema. His most recent production, the critically acclaimed and Oscar® shortlisted Under Our Skin, is the recipient of seven Best Documentary awards at international film festivals. Past productions include the HBO special Bubbeh Lee & Me and Hope is the Thing with Feathers, broadcast on the Sundance Channel. Wilson is a past budget director of the film distribution cooperative New Day Films and member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Tom Shepard (Producer) has directed and produced documentaries for over 15 years. His film Scout's Honor won the Audience Award for Best Documentary and Freedom of Expression Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Scout's Honor was broadcast nationally on PBS when it opened P.O.V.'s 14th season. In 2006, he co-directed and produced Knocking, a film about Jehovah's Witnesses, which broadcast nationally on the Independent Lens. Shepard helped coordinate national outreach campaigns for both of these films. He also has produced, directed, and edited shorter films for the public television series Voting in America and Spark. Previously, Shepard worked as an editor at National Public Radio for Linda Wertheimer. At NPR, he co-produced Listening to America, an audio documentary on the history of public radio in America. He graduated from Stanford University, where he majored in biology and film. He is the former chairman of New Day Films and lives in San Francisco.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Thursday nights at 10pm on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens, and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue, and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing television audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. For more information about ITVS, visit itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.