Documentary by Elon alum to be aired on One Africa TV
A 2009 Elon University alumna will have a documentary she produced as a student broadcast this month on One Africa TV. Erin Barnett's film, "My Name is Anita," introduces viewers to Anita Isaacs, a former Periclean-in-Residence at Elon and an HIV/AIDS activist in Namibia.
The film will be aired twice by One Africa TV – Sunday, April 11, and Sunday, April 25, both at 8 a.m. local time in Namibia. Though filmed in English, Oshiwambo subtitles have been added to the movie.
Isaacs is regional director of the Network of Namibia Women Living With HIV/AIDS, or NENOWLA. NENOWLA assists Namibian women who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, and it promotes education and prevention through a variety of programs.
The film starts with Isaac's involvement in the Namibian War for Independence and follows her path toward taking the national stage in AIDS activism. Throughout the documentary, Isaacs talks about her personal battle with gender inequality. She speaks out about her verbally abusive husband and her regrettable persistent denial of the virus due to well-ingrained social stigma of being HIV positive.
Lucy Steinitz, co-founder of Catholic AIDS Action and currently with Family Health International, said the documentary uses a similar theme to link two separate periods in Isaacs’ life.
“Unlike other Namibia-focused HIV-documentaries, this one makes a strong connection between first fighting for Namibia’s liberation from apartheid, and now fighting for Namibia’s liberation from stigma and the spread of HIV,” Steinitz said.
Barnett, a communications major and Honors Fellow, traveled to the African nation during her studies to interview Isaacs for the film.
The young filmmaker graduated with two social issue documentaries under her belt. The first was a 15-minute piece on Internet access and governance shot in Athens, Greece, “Bridging the Digital Divide.” It was screened at the second annual International Internet Governance Forum in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. The second was “My Name is Anita.”
The “Anita” film was also screened in October 2009 at the St. John's International Women's Film Festival in Canada. Barnett is now an assistant to Alex Gibney at Jigsaw Productions in New York.