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MediaStorm and the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance set out to create a film that would tell GAIA’s story in a manner that was both personal and intimate. We wanted to create a story that spoke to not only the men and women devoted to creating better health for the people of Malawi but also the love with which that care is given.

Client: Global Aids Interfaith Alliance
Published: November 6, 2014
The Challenge
There were two fundamental challenges in creating The Far End of the Road. The first was structural. How do we organize a story that includes so many narrative lines: two GAIA nurses, each working in separate arenas, the people of Malawi, as well as the overarching organizational message?

The second challenge was one of language. Many of the people in the film speak Chichewa, the local language of Malawi. We at MediaStorm do not speak Chichewa, nor do we know anyone locally who does. Since we wanted to make sure that local voices were included, translation quickly became a major obstacle.

The Solution
MediaStorm began producing The Far End of the Road by focusing on the main two stories, Edna Bolokonya, an HIV follow-up coordinator and Mandalo Mtsinje, a GAIA nurse. We knew that ultimately both stories would be in the final piece but didn't yet know if they would be intercut throughout.

Once they were complete, however, we realized that these stories worked most effectively when seen separately, not interspersed.

We then needed a way to connect the two sections so we relied on GAIA executives to tell the organizations broader missions as a bridge. This worked nicely with MediaStorm's ethos–lead with personal stories, then explain larger issues once the viewer is involved.

Regarding language obstacles, MediaStorm first worked with GAIA to locate a translator in Malawi. An audio file of the interview was then sent. The translator separated individual sound bites according to the timecode of the audio file. Each bite was transcribed in Chichewa and then translated in to English.

Producer Eric Maierson at MediaStorm edited the necessary scenes, then sent an audio file for each produced section back to the translator. She in turn checked to make sure that the subtitles matched the spoken words and indicated where changes were necessary.

It was a long and time-consuming process.

The Results
The Far End of the Road premiered at the Yale Club in New York City on November 5, 2014 to an audience of GAIA's supporters. The film is part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the struggle and challenges that HIV/AIDS still poses in Malawi; as well as the live-saving solutions that GAIA has been able to provide. Perhaps most importantly, The Far End of the Road will be used to show how training and empowerment models like the one GAIA uses can provide lasting, sustainable opportunities for change in epidemic-ravaged countries.

About the Client
Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) takes the medical breakthroughs of the developed world and brings them to The Far End of the Road where 1 out of 6 adults is HIV-positive and healthcare can be many hours away.

GAIA is successful, in part, because its dedicated staff brings care to those who might otherwise go without. Training and deploying mobile clinics, village health workers, and nursing scholars, GAIA builds stronger, healthier communities that are leading the way towards an AIDS-free future.

The Far End of the Road is the story of two women working to create better health for Malawi.

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