The Face of AIDS Film Archive is an online film archive consisting of almost 700 hours of documentary film material about the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. The archive is based at Karolinska Institutet University Library in Stockholm, Sweden.

Short film showing an introduction to the archive. Duration: 6:50 min

Read more about the Face of AIDS Film Archive and how to access it (pdf)

The origins of The Face of AIDS Film Archive

The first steps to what would become The Face of AIDS Film Archive were taken in 1987, when then-Vice Chancellor at Karolinska Institutet Hans Wigzell gave film maker Staffan Hildebrand the commission to do the opening film for the Fourth International AIDS Conference, to be held in Stockholm in 1988. The commission also included documenting the HIV global spread and its effects on society for a future film archive. This project was supposed to last for 30 years, and Hildebrand would alongside his documentary films gather as much footage as possible with the archive in mind.

Since then, Hildebrand has made films for fifty AIDS conferences, and produced about 700 hours of footage from more than forty countries. The archive includes complete documentaries as well as unedited raw materials. Hildebrand has interviewed scientists, AIDS activists, people living with HIV, drug users, sex workers, and many others with experience of HIV and AIDS. He has filmed in laboratories and at conferences, in hospitals and in the streets. Taken together, the archive is a unique visual history of a global epidemic.

During the thirty years of the project, Staffan Hildebrand has filmed in over ten different formats, from 8-, 16-, and 35 mm film to Betacam, HDCAM, SSD / USB disk and DVCAM.

In the spring of 2013, all the films were digitized, and on the 18th September of the same year the entire archive was handed over to Karolinska Institutet.

Interview with Staffan Hildebrand in February 2015 on the background of the archive. Duration: 6:30 min

About Staffan Hildebrand

Staffan Hildebrand (born 1946) is a Swedish film director and journalist.

He began his career as editor of Stockholm Social Democratic Youth magazine "Ung Mening", and was in the 1970s foreign correspondent for Swedish television, where he reported from the Vietnam War. Here he also produced two short documentaries about children in the shadow of war, Bi – en flyktingpojke i Laos (1975) and Ti i Bangkok (1977).

He later made several acclaimed television documentaries, including Fjortonårslandet (1979), depicting punks, skaters and other youth groups in Stockholm. In the docudrama Veckan då Roger dödades (1981) on the so-called "punk murder" in Stockholm in 1981, Hildebrand continued to explore youth culture.

In 1982, he won the television award The Gold Antenna for his documentary about a gang of narcotics smugglers, Uppdrag Skomakarligan. In 1983, he directed his first feature film, G – som i gemenskap, which was a great success.

It was followed by several films, including anti-violence film Stockholmsnatt (1987) and Ingen kan älska som vi (1988). Later Hildebrand sought out the main characters in some of his early films and told their continuing stories: Stockholmsnatt II (1992) and Hooked for Life (2011), the latter about the skaters in Fjortonårslandet.


Face of AIDS Film Archive processes documentary film clips and the associated metadata for archiving purposes, scientific or historical research purposes and for the public interest. Safeguards have been put in place to ensure respect for the principle of data minimisation and for the rights and freedoms of the data subjects. Read more

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If you appear in any of the films presented at this site and you want the content or personal information to be removed, please contact us.


The views and opinions expressed in the Face of AIDS Film Archive do not necessarily reflect the views of Karolinska Institutet.