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School of Visual and Performing Arts

Jean Carlomusto, Associate Professor of Media Arts; School of Visual and Performing Arts

Documenting an Epidemic

LIU Post alumni live and work around the nation and the world. But some, like Jean Carlomusto, return to their alma mater to pass along knowledge to future generations.

The director of the Television Center in the Media Arts Department, Professor Carlomusto has written, produced and directed independent documentary and narrative films, which have been exhibited internationally at festivals and museums, and broadcasted on television. Her most recent project is a documentary titled “Sex In An Epidemic” (2010). It was screened at the Film Society of Lincoln Center last April, and received even greater exposure on Showtime Networks on December 1, 2011, World AIDS Day.

The 70-minute feature-length documentary explores the past, present and future of HIV prevention efforts in the United States. It provides a socio-cultural perspective on the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its ongoing impact on the most affected populations, including the gay, African-American and Latino communities. Part of the film’s $60,000 budget came from an LIU Post research grant.

It is also a personal project for Professor Carlomusto, who drew on hundreds of hours of video from her own archives, made between 1986 and the present. It includes videotaped material from the Media Production Unit she founded in 1987 at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in Manhattan, as well as video she made while covering the beginnings of the AIDS activist movement. She also taped more recent interviews with AIDS educators and advocates.