We’re extraordinarily excited to share our new findhelp film “Living Positive” about Siloam Wellness in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1995, Sister Bernadette Kinniry co-founded Siloam, an organization that empowers HIV-positive individuals through therapy and mindfulness. Living Positive highlights Siloam’s community, emphasizing the role of emotional and spiritual well-being in post-diagnosis life. The documentary pays tribute to Siloam’s spirit, showcasing the transformative power of collective support and resilience within its nurturing embrace.
Read on to learn more about findhelp films and Siloam Wellness and watch our documentary short, Living Positive.
A Community of Hope, Brought Together by HIV
Why We’re Releasing the Film on World AIDS Day
We decided to release Living Positive on December 1, World AIDS Day, to support their mission and “shine a light on the real experiences of people living with HIV today, while celebrating the strength, resilience and diversity of the communities most affected”. World AIDS Day is a global movement to unite people in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Since 1988, communities have stood together on World AIDS Day to show strength and solidarity against HIV stigma and to remember lives lost.
2023’s World AIDS Day theme is “Let communities lead”, and the folks at Siloam have been leading the response in Philadelphia and paving the way since 1995, focusing on whole person support and wellness to address the medical, social, spiritual, and emotional needs of their participants.
Why We Chose Siloam Wellness
In 1995, Sister Bernadette Kinniry co-founded Siloam Wellness, an organization that empowers HIV-positive individuals through therapy and mindfulness. Siloam’s mission is to enrich the well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS by providing a broad range of integrative mind, body and spirit services and programs, and their vision is to support an HIV community that is vibrant, safe, empowered and free from stigma.
Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they host local wellness retreats and have virtual programming available nationwide. They were brought to the attention of findhelp films by findhelp’s National Community Engagement Manager, Kadilyn Knief:
The Making of Living Positive
Sarina DiBianca has been the Executive Director of Siloam Wellness since 2016 and continues the organization’s legacy of compassion and care that was established by co-founder Sister Bernadette Kinniry. We asked Sarina about her experience participating in the film process and what it was like to work with the findhelp films team; her answers are below.
What Was it Like Participating in the Film?
“From the beginning, Siloam has been a journey. Having findhelp reach out to me about the film was such an honor. I actually thought ‘this is a joke and will never pan out!’. The bottom line is that the making of the film is one of the highlights in the continuation of the Siloam journey, one which I will treasure and be very proud of.”
How Do You Feel About the Film Now that it’s Finished?
“The film is amazing and a terrific depiction of the heart and soul of Siloam. Siloam is a team effort of all our volunteers, team members and especially our friends. Siloam is a safe zone and I feel the film captures all of this and more. The findhelp films team was able to understand the core of our work, what the ugly truth of life was like for our friends pre- and post-Siloam.”
What Do You Hope Viewers Will Take Away from the Film?
“I hope that people who know nothing about HIV/AIDS and the stigma will be less judgmental and more open. I hope that people will learn before judging someone, and will take the time to know their story. I also hope the largest age group contracting the virus, 13 to 24 year-olds, will be more careful and protect themselves.
I cannot thank findhelp enough for reaching out to me.”
Watch Living Positive
From the Film’s Director, Jim Tuttle
“As leader of the storytelling initiative at findhelp, a software company that simplifies the complicated process of connecting people to helpful resources, I seek out inspiring stories. A colleague introduced me to the folks at Siloam, and I was immediately drawn to their mission of addressing the mental and spiritual needs of those who are living with a complicated and often misunderstood chronic illness. Their story is a testament to the power of community, resilience, and the importance of addressing HIV/AIDS without stigma.
The people I met at Siloam challenged my preconceived notions about living with the virus. Their candid accounts brought to light the harsh realities of societal stigma and discrimination that still exist today, as well as the incredible resilience required to navigate these challenges.
I want to express my gratitude to everyone who shared their stories with us, even if their voices didn’t make it into the final film due to the sheer volume of material. Making this film reminded me of the profound value of kindness, compassion, and the need to create spaces where individuals can be their true selves.
In one of the most impactful moments of our interviews, Sister Bernadette Kinniry, the co-founder of Siloam Wellness, emphasized that “we are all one family.” This message resonates deeply with me, and I hope it does with our audience as well.
Through the stories of Siloam’s community, we aim to encourage meaningful conversations and help foster a more inclusive and compassionate world.”
Director, Living Positive
Findhelp Films: Our Storytelling Initiative
Findhelp films (brought to you by findhelp) tells inspiring, true stories of people who are working to improve their communities – stories of kindness, ingenuity, and grit.
We make short documentary films to showcase the amazing work being done by nonprofits and community organizations around the country, from Austin, Texas to Indianapolis, Indiana, and everywhere in between.