The "2 28" Web Series Blog

news, notes & thoughts from the filmmakers.

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The Origins of HIV? Thoughts on Episode 01

“Episode 01: Prologue” is a symbolic animation that details an abbreviated history of both the HIV and web series’ main character, the Narrator.

In researching this history, I found some interesting documentaries and timelines of the origins of the mysterious virus, all of which had the same sort of mood: panic, fear & confusion.  “What was this virus and where did it come from?”

The history of HIV & AIDS is still a fascinating, intriguing subject matter.  One in which no one knows the precise origins of and many theories still compete for the ultimate truth.

Before researching, I only knew that the virus came from chimpanzees.  I didn’t think about it too much or too in depth.  Some guy got bit, someone ate undercooked bush meat and the virus spread.  In chimpanzees the HIV was known as SIV (Simian, instead of Human).  Chimpanzees were, as we know, immune to the virus and it has been theorized that they have had some form of it for over 32,000 years.

Yet, through zoonosis, in a similar way to the recent H1N1 Flu, it just jumped.

I ended up falling into this documentary on YouTube… it’s here in 5 parts:

The idea that our race to cure one disease, only to create a far more dangerous one is terrifying.

Of course this falls into a more conspiratorial category, but it just makes sense to me.  There isn’t a conspiracy to kill or a conspiracy to destroy… but one of just pure accident.  Of pride and ignorance.  I can understand how some may believe that exposing this theory as truth could hurt the role of scientific experimentation & possibly scare the layman into fearing vaccines (which is already happening with theories about autism’s origins).  Something I would hope never happens.  I definitely believe in science and it would be a terrible, terrible tragedy if this were true.  I can understand why it would be easier to just dismiss the spread as just something that happened naturally.

However, I always believe in the most simple answer being the most accurate.  One man eating some bad meat and catching a virus and then distributing it only through his blood & semen… and then the recipient then transmits it… through blood and semen… and so on… until it becomes a worldwide pandemic, just seems far fetched when you think about how many variables had to take place in order to make it a reality.

This theory, that the race to cure polio and the ensuing shortcuts made, the quick and massive amount of subjects exposed to the virus, seems far and away a more likely scenario, with much less room for coincidence and variable.

But, of course, it’s only a theory.  And a tragic one.

The first lines of the episode skip the disputed facts, describing what is mainly believed, that zoonosis occurred and the virus spread.  I can say though, that I believe the zoonosis that did occur wasn’t natural, nor was it done with any malice, yet with a thoughtless & naive attention to detail and safety.

When 1981 passes in the timeline, the first scientific documented cases of HIV, I was also born.  The first cut of the animation had little news headlines of the major events of the first 20 or so years of HIV… Patient O, Ryan White, the HIV becoming the leading cause of all Americans 25-44 and in 1996 the development of HAART treatment and the first decline of HIV related deaths.

I found though, that the headlines, although interesting, took away from the story of “2 28” itself, which is the relationship between HIV & the Narrator.  Here a child is born in the same year HIV made its mark in the world.  Together, through time, they grew and lived in different worlds… until such time as they collided.  This approach also lent to the style of the rest of the series: quiet, paced & visual.

I chose to open the series with an animation to separate it from the blog entries to come.  “2 28” really begins on February 28th, 2008, the day the Narrator discovers he is HIV positive.  Yet, there is always a history.  It was terrifying to realize that years ago, when I least (or maybe most) expected it… I was exposed to something that would change the rest of my life.  And, like the scientists who tried to discover a cure for polio, through pride & ignorance, I unknowingly changed my future.

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T is for Terrific

There’s a contest to make a “holy shit” death in an upcoming feature film called, the “ABCs of Death.”  Our producer and some friends have put together two really terrific entries and your support is necessary.  The voting continues until Halloween, so please check them out and give ’em your vote here:


Watch it here:

T is for Toss from Erica Harrell on Vimeo.

Here’s the second:

Vote here:

Watch here:

T is for Twig from Judson Scott on Vimeo.

Surf Erie by Monster Rally