Although versions of this multiple prize-winning film (which focuses on the OPV theory and the opposition it has encountered) have been available on and off on the Web for the last 10 years, the Canadian producers have made strenuous efforts to have any unofficial versions taken down. This would have been entirely reasonable had they made it easy to purchase the film documentary through other channels, but rather surprisingly they have not done so. No downloadable version was made available for purchase, and otherwise the film could only be bought from North America, via a quite complicated purchase procedure that ran through the National Film Board of Canada web-site. Moreover, at different times either the short (42-minute) or full-length (91-minute) versions of the film were unavailable for purchase. The reasons for the producers’ unwillingness to make the film more freely available are not known, but many have surmised that they may have come under external pressures. (The French co-producers took another approach, and in about 2005 quite suddenly refused to handle the film any more.)
At the 20th annual Gemini Awards on Thursday 17 November 2005,The Origin of AIDS was named best Science, Technology, Nature, Environment or Adventure Documentary Program.
The Geminis are bestowed by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, a national non-profit organization of 4,000 industry professionals dedicated to promoting awareness of Canada’s film and television industry.
Sundance Channel Acquires Rights to Controversial Documentary The Origins of AIDS
Multiple Award-Winner to Premiere on February 7th at 9:00pm ET/PT
Copyright 2005 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. PR Newswire US. January 11, 2005 Tuesday
NEW YORK, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ — Sundance Channel has acquired pay television rights to the controversial, award-winning documentary The Origins of AIDS, directed by Peter Chappell and Catherine Peix. The Origins of AIDS premieres on February 7th at 9:00pm. The deal was negotiated by Christian Vesper, Vice President Acquisitions, Sundance Channel and by Julie Goldman, Cactus Three on behalf of the filmmakers.
Prix Europa Current Affairs Television Programme of the Year, 2004
The MFP/Galafilm production, “The Origins of AIDS”, has just won another major prize, which was awarded in Berlin on Saturday October 23rd. Apparently the Prix Europa is reckoned by most people in the film world to rank second only to an Emmy.
To quote part of the jury’s commendation: “[T]his film…..makes us think about how little we know about our “current affairs” and how deeply we trust in what science and scientists tell us.”
The following is the full text, which has just been posted on the Prix Europa web-site.
Edward Hooper, October 25th, 2004
TV CURRENT AFFAIRS
1. PRIX EUROPA Television Programme of the Year 2004 / Fernsehprogramm des Jahres 2004
Donated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe / Gestiftet von der Parlamentarischen Versammlung des Europarates
The origins of AIDS / Les origines du Sida
France 2, France; by/von: Stéphane Horel, Peter Chappell (authors), Catherine Peix, Peter Chappell (directors), Peter Chappell, Peter Krieger, Jorge Martinho (camera), Christine Le Goff, Arnie Gelbart, Christine Pireaux (producers), co-produced by Galafilm, Pathé Archives, Les Films de la Passerelle, RTBF, Prod.+, France 2
TV CURRENT AFFAIRS
Prix Europa Television Programme of the Year 2004
For all the professionals sitting on the panel this film was a revelation of sorts reaffirming their belief in the power and in the meaning of television at the beginning of a new millennium. A sensational 90 minutes long film – without even the traces of chasing sensation. Instead: we get facts. Well researched facts. Opinions. Well founded opinions. And questions – very well thought out questions, pushing the story to its limits. And not only the story: the viewers as well. Because this film takes us along and makes us think about how little we know about our “current affairs” and how deeply we trust in what science and scientists tell us. For all jury members this was the first television program about AIDS that did not mention homosexuality, drugs or prostitution. Instead: a film about “The Origins of AIDS”, entered by France 2, produced by Multimedia France.
On October 4th, 2004, it was announced that the MFP/Galafilm documentary, “The Origins of AIDS”, had been shortlisted for an International Emmy in the “best documentary” category. This follows a series of other awards that the film has won at film festivals around the world.
While the Emmy nomination is clearly a tribute to the skills of the film-makers, rather than to the viability of the OPV/AIDS hypothesis per se, this honour comes at a particularly ironical time – in the midst of a new legal onslaught by doctors Koprowski and Plotkin, who are seeking to dissuade television companies and film festivals from showing the film. [See separate article: “The New Round of Legal Threats by Doctors Koprowski and Plotkin”.]
Nouvelles tele-radio (NTR), May 10, 2004
© 2004 Press News Limited
MONTREAL _ (PC) _ Au Festival canadien du documentaire international Hot Docs, le film ” Les Origines du SIDA “, une co-production de la maison montrealaise Galafilm, a obtenu le prix de la meilleure realisation.
Village Voice (New York, NY), May 4, 2004
© 2004 VV Publishing Corporation
The Origins of AIDS. By now it seems clear that AIDS was born from contact between humans and chimpanzees infected by the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. Peter Chappell and Catherine Peix’s highly disquieting doc explores the possibility that the devastating transfer was inadvertently caused by scientists. Witnesses recount how chimps were used in the manufacture of virologist Hilary Koprowski’s experimental polio vaccine in Africa; he denies all knowledge of the matter. Elliott Stein
Ronnie Scheib, Variety, May 3, 2004
© 2004 Reed Elsevier Inc.
(DOCU – FRANCE-CANADA-BELGIUM-SPAIN)
A Multimedia France Prods. (in France)/Les Prods. Galafilm (in Canada)/Pathe Archives/Films de la Passerelle (in Belgium)/RTBF (Belgium Television)/Produce+ production with the participation of Frame 2 in association with Channel 4/CBC (in Canada). Produced by Christine Le Goff, Arnie Gelbart, Christine Pireaux.
Directed by Peter Chappell, Catherine Peix. Written by Chappell, Stephane Horel. Camera (B&W/color, DV), Peter Krieger, Mark Daniels; editor, Peix; music, Frederic Lagnau. Reviewed on videocassette, New York, April 25, 2004. (In Tribeca Film Festival — competing, and Hot Docs Festival.) Running time: 91 MIN.
Nathan Lee, The New York Sun, April 30, 2004
© 2004 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC
… On a more somber note, a disturbing and provocative inquiry into “The Origins of AIDS” (May 2 at 6:30 p.m., May 4 at 3:30 p.m., May 5 at 3 p.m.) deserves to be seen far beyond its Tribeca screenings. Directed by Peter Chappell and Catherine Peix and largely drawn from Edward Hooper’s controversial 1999 book “The River,” the documentary masterfully illustrates his thesis and expands on it with startling new reporting.