A documentary film produced by Rotary's broadcast media department that features Rotary member Marion Bunch and her work to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in underprivileged African communities won two 2015 Telly Awards.
The prestigious awards are given annually to the finest film and video productions. Rotary's documentary, "Rotary Family Health Days" received a Silver Telly, the highest honor, in the online video-documentary category, and a Bronze Telly in the online video-branded content and entertainment category. The documentary was shown by the South African Broadcasting Corporation and throughout Africa.
"What we tried to accomplish with the film was to get the good news and the good deeds out there so that the non-Rotary world can see it," says producer Andrew Chudzinski. "It was a great collaborative project."
The film documents the tremendous burden HIV/AIDS places on African families and communities. It covers the journeys of two women: South African grandmother Me Maria, who is raising her two grandsons whose parents died of AIDS, and Bunch, from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, who became a global advocate for AIDS prevention and the inspiration for Rotary Family Health Days after she lost her son to the disease.
"Because of that one single tragedy, my life's journey changed dramatically, from a very engaged businesswoman to a warrior on AIDS and advocate of human rights," Bunch told senior White House staff in October, when she was honored as one of 10 Rotary Women of Action for 2014. A member of the Rotary Club of Dunwoody, Bunch is the founder and CEO of Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention, a group of members that collaborates with Rotary clubs and districts on health-related projects.
The Rotary Health Days project, now in its fifth year and supported by Rotary clubs in Africa, has grown to deliver free basic health care, including HIV/AIDS screening and other preventive services, to underserved communities in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. It began in 2010, when Ugandan Stephen Mwanje, then governor of District 9211, asked Bunch if the Rotarian group would organize a multisite, comprehensive health event.
"The tremendous burden on the families of those infected by HIV/AIDS -- particularly for older people caring for their terminally ill children and raising their grandchildren, and for children orphaned by this disease -- is incalculable," says Bunch. "This is a story of people coming together to help fight this global killer and other preventable diseases."
The award-winning documentary was a joint project of the public relations and broadcast media staff at Rotary's world headquarters in Evanston, Illinois. In addition to Chudzinski, producer Vivian Fiore, video editor Todd Murphy, and executive producer Stephen Guenther worked on the film.
"We went through many different outlines, thoughts, and angles, and worked closely with Marion [Bunch] on it," says Fiore. "It evolved into a better piece than we all imagined."
In 2012, Rotary won a Silver Telly for its documentary "Doing Good in the World: Growing Local Economies."