AVA 2021 Winner

Esta es Mi Cara/ This is My Face (2018)

DIRECTOR: Angélica Cabezas Pino

ABSTRACT: In Chile, people living with HIV fear stigma, and often conceal their condition and remain silent about what they are going through. ‘This is My Face (Esta es Mi Cara)’ explores what happens when men living with the virus open up about the illness that changed their life trajectories. It follows a creative process whereby they produce photographic portraits that represent their memories and feelings, challenging years of silence, shame, and misrepresentation. ‘This is My Face’ reveals a sense-making process across generations, which has been only known to those who deal with an illness that radically change lives. A lesson in the power of collaborative storytelling. (57 minutes)


Best Practice Research portfolio (Moving Image) by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies; 

Best International Documentary Feature at the OUTFLIX Film Festival;

Special Commendation for the Richard Werbner Award by the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival

BIO: Angélica Cabezas Pino is currently an ESRC postdoc at the University of Sussex. She is a visual anthropologist and documentary filmmaker whose practice and research focus is on the exploration of intimate sense-making processes, through the use of collaborative visual methods. She has conducted research with people living with HIV in Chile, queer communities in the UK and refugee women in Bangladesh, Jordan and the UK. Angelica received a PhD in Anthropology, Media and Performance from The University of Manchester and prior to this, she completed an MPhil in Ethnographic Documentary at the same university. She studied Social Communication at the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile, and Documentary Filmmaking at the International School of Cinema San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. She has worked for universities in the UK and Chile, and for international institutions, such as UN Women and UNAIDS. Her research has been presented at international conferences and film festivals across the globe.

DISTRIBUTION: The film is distributed by the Royal Anthropological Institute, click here:  https://raifilm.org.uk/films/this-is-my-face/

AVA 2021 Judges:This is My Face’ is a truly lovely film, in both its filmic aesthetic and the subject it engages. This film centers on the lives of a group of men living with HIV in Chile, where the diagnosis is greatly stigmatized. The men have been brought together as part of a collaborative storytelling project that involves both their photography of key points in their lives and the accompanying filmmaking process, culminating in an art show with family and friends. The men range from college age to middle age, and the film moves through their pasts, their current struggles, their hopes and dreams, some resolutions, some new beginnings, and some acceptances. While on its surface This Is My Face might seem an unconventional choice for an anthropology of aging film award, one which has little to do with what we come to expect from films about aging, it is precisely that which is its strength. It is deeply engaged with these men and understanding their place in the life course: what has brought them to this point and shaped them, where they find themselves now, and how—upon reflection at this moment—they consider moving forward. It is a film that reminds us that aging is a process not limited to the end of the life course—nor development to its beginnings—but rather we as humans are always aging and developing, in ways that recognize our pasts and our contexts while leaving us always open to surprise.

Aaron Seaman, on behalf of the Board of Judges (Film Category)