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Viral Interventions: Open Call for Video Proposals

Representative Image

AIDS activists seize the stage at Montreal World AIDS Conference, 1989. Courtesy of John Greyson.


Anti-Racist Covid Action, 2020. Courtesy of John Greyson.


Zachery Longboy's Water Into Fire, 1994. Courtesy of John Greyson.


BLM version of ACT UP's iconic logo, 2020. Courtesy of John Greyson.


Viral Interventions is working with community partners Trinity Square Video and Vtape on a new project, commissioning new short videos (alt, doc, fiction, hybrid) by Toronto-affiliated artists that explore the realities of HIV today, while navigating our contemporary contexts of COVID, anti-racist and decolonization activism, Big Pharma inequities, HIV as a chronic manageable condition, and the global reach of digital communication.

Deadline: May 10, 2021 


Create an original 10-min video about living with HIV today -- an urgent HIV story that needs to be told.

Can be Documentary, Experimental, Fiction, Hybrid, New Media...

Can be global or local, activist or avant-garde, community-based or auto-biographical, a portrait or a poem... navigating PrEP or prison, dating or discrimination, U=U or treatment access, cruising or addiction, new stigmas or old fears, the experience of coming out to your families and communities as HIV+ in 2021...

This open call is for Toronto-affiliated applicants, who are Black/Indigenous/person of colour and who are living with HIV. Your video will be created during the year of June 2021 to June 2022.


Here are six outstanding examples of recent short videos from around the world, made by and for people living with HIV. These are videos which confront today's HIV pandemic with precision and originality, even as each also navigates the realities of Covid: 


Each of these six videos tell a unique HIV story with style and passion. Each explores the specific challenges of their circumstance and community with wit and agency. Each confronts their own particular experience of living with HIV today.


If selected by the jury, you will receive: 
• $8000 artist fee (for production costs)
• 1-year Trinity Square Video Membership, plus in-kind resources (equipment, tech workshops)
• monthly creative peer workshops with mentors and 5 other video artists making their own HIV videos, with each of you critically supporting each other at every stage of your creative processes, from development and shooting through several stages of editing
• premiere screening in June 2022

Viral Interventions is a York University research-creation project, lead by artists/researchers John Greyson & Sarah Flicker, with artists/mentors Alison Duke, Darien Taylor, Richard Fung and Ryan Conrad. Over a four-year period, VI will commission new short videos about HIV realities today by diverse Toronto-affiliated artists.


Your application should include: 

• Proposed title, genre, 1-line description, length (up to 10 min.), your name(s) and email/phone # 

• Outline of content (up to 400 words) -- the specific story you want to tell in your proposed video

• Formal Treatment (up to 300 words) -- what will your video look and sound like 

• Production Plan (up to 300 words) -- practical planning, nuts & bolts -- your research/creative process, your rough sched for development/shooting/editing, any practical logistics, and if relevant, your proposed team/collaborators and your roles 

• Personal Statement (up to 300 words) -- what this commission means to you, as a Black/Indigenous/person of colour living with HIV

• CV(s): Applications by individual artists are encouraged, but equally, duos are also welcome to apply. At least one of you should have prior experience making videos, so if you're less experienced, find a partner or collaborator to apply with. You may have the story, while they may have the art/tech skills...

• List of up to 4 links (youtube or vimeo) to previous creative/video works (any topic/any medium) that you or your team have been involved with. For each link, list title, length, your creative role, relevance of link to your current application (if appropriate, it can be useful to draw our attention to a specific section or excerpt via time-stamp).

• Optional: names/e-dresses of a couple of references (fellow artists, activists, mentors, teachers), and if they like, a brief paragraph in support of your proposal 

DEADLINE: May 10, 2021

Send pdf to: johngreyzone@gmail.com

A Viral Interventions jury will adjudicate applications and be back in touch with you by late May. 

Any Questions? johngreyzone@gmail.com