We are the frontline

Frontline Aids


The Brief

World AIDS Day occurs annually on December 1st. As a combined 25th anniversary and to mark World AIDS Day 2019, Frontline AIDS wanted to create a truly emotive film that would represent the severity of the current situation, but also celebrate great progress and communicate the growing wave of optimism that exists.

The Solution

Symbolism and light. Frontline AIDS associates from across the world lent their voices to tell the story of how the epidemic has changed from the 80s to the present day. The misconception that AIDS is over is still present and the most marginalised people across the world are the ones paying the price for this. We wanted their voices to be heard.


Our Approach

The frontline of HIV is not a single, fixed thing or location; it is everywhere, across continents, spanning generations, and within different people and communities. Like water, the frontline of HIV ebbs and flows, moves and shifts, has moments of calm and times of turbulence.

Across the world, many of us live on the fortunate side of the frontline, where we are heard, supported and championed.

Some of us live on the other side. Marginalised, silenced.

To date, Frontline AIDS has been consistently bold with their messaging, and were willing to embrace an unconventional approach to their brief that would enable them to stand out from other charities on World AIDS Day.

We suggested using the strong motif of ‘The Line’ to tell the story of Frontline AIDS’ powerful work over the last quarter century. We viewed the line as a barrier, a membrane, a point at which something stops being one thing and becomes something else. Two worlds colliding. A threshold. The pushing back of this line, is the goal of Frontline AIDS.

We decided to use contrast, dark and light as the most basic mechanism for illustrating this barrier. In this piece light represents hope.

We interviewed 8 people across the globe and used their voices to build a picture of the HIV epidemic from both sides of the front line.

To bring the frontline to life we wanted to submerge the viewer below the line. We designed and built our own motion controlled 120 litre water stage to create a variety of water movements and textures.

We spent time experimenting with a vast array of water manipulation techniques, featuring unusual tools such as long party balloons, squeegees, mops, hoses, water pistols and air-bed foot pumps, all shot in slow motion to give an ethereal, otherworldly feeling. Using all of these simple tools and effects, we built a large bank of textural and atmospheric footage, and from there we built our edit.

The lack of light represents the hopelessness and feeling of being overwhelmed that we heard in some of the darkest moments of the interviews.

The fight between the light and dark is gruelling and hard won and showcased by the frantic movement of the surface combined with rapid cuts.


Three weeks post-launch the film has received 18,000 views on Facebook

and 25,000 views on Twitter 

Shown to a room full of 400 people at a conference in Rwanda

We briefed Tilt on creating a compilation video from our existing footage for World AIDS Day 2019. But Tilt did what they do best: they came up with an outrageously awesome and compelling alternative.

From expertly leading interviews with our partners around the world, to trawling through tons of audio, to find the perfect sound bites. Tilt created an emotive audio experience that they paired with cleverly captured water footage to make a film that fits the message and ensures the voices of marginalised people are heard.

Laura Mundy Advisor: Digital Communications