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The Last One Sews Together the Stories of the AIDS Quilt

February 18, 2014

This article was reported by EDGE on the Net.

EDGE on the Net reported that Red Thread Productions would release a feature-length documentary, The Last One: The Story of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, that recorded the quilt's origin and described its impact on "politics, science, and the media." Documentary Director and Red Thread Productions Executive Producer Nadine Licostie stated that the film recounted the story of those memorialized by the quilt and activists who have devoted their lives to eliminating stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. In spite of abundant HIV prevention education and treatment options, discrimination, lack of access to affordable care, and low social status resulted in 34 million HIV infections worldwide and 50,000 new infections in the United States annually, according to Licostie.

Licostie recognized the opportunity to document the quilt's impact when she was working with The NAMES Project Foundation on the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival display. The documentary revealed how the quilt served as both the "message and the medium," when people created the panels to memorialize loved ones, sewed them together, and displayed the quilt around the country. Societal bigotry prevented governments and scientists from acting, worsened the "pain and trauma" of HIV and AIDS, and deterred people from getting tested and treated.

Julie Rhoad, The NAMES Project Foundation president and chief executive officer, stated that science now made it possible to test and treat enough people globally to end AIDS and make the final AIDS quilt panel a reality. Licostie urged the United States to protect the quilt, the "largest community art project in the world," as a national treasure and continue to display it around the world as a way to educate and remember. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Fund selected the film for awards competitions.

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