The lead producer of Difret, Mehret Mandefro, was a panelist at the 2014 Skoll World Forum where she talked about the promises and perils of making a fictional film targeting social change. The panel was entitled “Shifting the Paradigm: Social Entrepreneurship and the Art of Fiction Film.” The premise of the panel was that not every social change turning point can be captured on camera, yet those crucial moments are often the crux of how cultures shift.
This study examines the production process of a documentary film that explores the instability of racial categories in America to better understand the challenges that accompany efforts to reframe race. The film was produced as a collaboration between a filmmaker and an anthropologist. This work was presented at a symposium hosted by the Visual Anthropology Society of Temple University in March 2012.
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), in partnership with Miz Hasab Research Center in Ethiopia, led a study on HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in Ethiopia. The study aimed to unravel the complexities around stigma by investigating the causes, manifestations and consequences of HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in sub-Saharan Africa. This analysis was then used to suggest program interventions. We worked with the Ethiopian investigators and provided qualitative analysis that was used to develop a stigma tool kit for community educators to combat HIV-related stigma.
Truth Aid has been engaged in ethnographic research that uses visual media as a structural intervention for the past five years. We believe visual media is critical and vital for translating research about well-being into action. Our co-founder, Dr. Mehret Mandefro, presented some of our work at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. where scientists and advocates have long been working side by side to formulate creative responses that impact the global agenda on population health. A partial screenshot of her poster presentation can be seen to the right.
We look forward to publishing our results this year and will be posting our publications on the website. Stay tuned for updates.
Over the last four years we have produced visually engaging multimedia content that leverages storytelling and creates shared value among a diverse range of audiences. Our portfolio of projects make the case for why visual interventions are useful for addressing the social determinants of health. By creating customized content that combines ethnographic research, storytelling and community engagement we have learned that taking ideas from insight to impact requires thinking visually.
We have presented this work at academic medicine, public health, and anthropology conferences. Our latest film about a particularly tough social determinant of health – namely violence – received awards at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival.