She found out she had the HIV virus at 14 years of age. The news was given to her by her aunt – with whom she spent most part of her life after the death of her parents, both, tragically, taken by Aids. At first, she hid the fact from everyone, including herself. What Saidy Brown – a South African activist from Itsoseng, north of the country, and today with 22 years of age – could not expect was the reaction triggered by the news shared on Twitter, the microblog most used for when it comes to social networking. “There were thousands of people retweeting what I wrote, all of them manifesting their solidarity and support for the fact that I’d opened up that way”, she says.
“When I saw her news”, says Sincronia producer Janaina Zambotti, “I thought it had everything to do with our film The Social Technology, the documentary feature film project about Aids and how new technologies are helping out in fighting the disease and getting more info towards youngsters and adolescents. This is what I call using technology in favor of social”, says Janaina. “We got in touch with her and she said yes immediately, which made us very happy. The most important thing was that her opening allowed other people to express themselves as well”, continues the producer. Therefore Saidy started receiving several messages from young people in the same situation, or even opening up about subjects/topics that they themselves could not understand (like accepting their own sexual orientation, for instance), which in itself can explain the power of the internet – even when it comes about misusing it sometimes. “In this particular case, the internet was used with a noble purpose, which is what it should be, always”, says Janaina.
Of course the presence of Saidy Brown will enrich the project – filming will take place in South Africa next July with a post shooting in São Paulo during the first week of August. “I don’t wanna give details, but we’ve managed to have an exceptional team so far who will be a part of this important endeavor”, continues Janaina. A project, btw, which was born out of the Hackathon ABEME, the marathon on programming that took place last year and which Sincronia was the responsible for the audiovisual content. “From then on only good things have been happening to the film”, according to Janaina.
Saidy Brown has described herself as an HIVictor – which is what she undoubtedly is. “I have plans of building a family”, she says. “That’s why I’ve been reading a lot about preventive treatments to avoid the transmission of the HIV to my future baby. I’m the daughter of a person who transmitted me the virus while I was in the womb, so I don’t wanna put my kids in the same risk situation.”
The Social Technology will be the first feature film by Sincronia, and will be directed by still photographer Patricia Innocenti.