I don’t think that I have ever been as deeply affected by a documentary as I was by Wilhemina’s War.
The new film currently airing on PBS’ Independent Lens tells the story of Wilhemina Dixon, a daughter of sharecroppers and a powerful matriarch whose fierce care and advocacy positions her as a pillar of support for both her family and her community in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Filmed by director and producer June Cross over the course of five years, Wilhemina’s War isn’t just powerful for its content, though HIV can be a heavy topic—the film’s strength comes from its juxtaposition of two very distinct but still inextricably linked narratives about HIV/AIDS.
Over the five years, we get to know Wilhemina: We learn about the manual labor and caretaking work she does to support her family, we learn about her dedication to her HIV-positive…
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