Together Again

New York City, New York | Film Short

Animation, Documentary

Stuart Ruston

2 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $7,475 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

53 supporters | followers

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Roger Banks is a 26-year survivor of HIV. While quarantined in his NYC apartment, during the first COVID-19 outbreak, Roger reflects upon a lifetime spent searching for answers. Roger’s fear and isolation provoke spirits of friends and family to visit him while he experiences intense flashbacks.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

TOGETHER AGAIN literally traces the life of an HIV survivor, who participated in early clinical trials of HIV medication, through animation. Your contribution will honor those lost to AIDS and create a space for Roger, and others like him, to process their relived trauma during a second pandemic.

The Story

In 2019, 1.2 million Americans were estimated to be living with HIV. More than half of those people are over 50. Though treatment is available, there is currently no cure for the virus.



ROGER BANKS, the subject of TOGETHER AGAIN, has lived with HIV for more than a quarter century. For years, questions regarding his sexual orientation, standing in his community and also the reliability of experimental medications have dogged Roger. He has lived a life in search of answers.

Roger’s search has only broadened in 2020. After splitting up with his partner of several decades, Roger went looking for answers and a new beginning in NYC. Then COVID-19 paralyzed a city that never sleeps. We were all trapped inside, afraid and isolated. But for Roger, this was all too familiar.



I met Roger when he approached me about making a film about an AIDS Memorial Garden in West Virginia. As I consulted him, I got to know Roger very well. We discussed his love of theater and aspirations to make it as an actor or a comedian in NYC. We discussed what it was like to be infected with HIV in the mid 90's and Roger's participation in clinical trials that developed medication which continue to suppress a life-threatening disease. These treatments have kept Roger alive far longer than he ever expected.



During quarantine, Roger and I frequently chatted on the phone. He told me he was experiencing flashbacks from the AIDS crisis, including memories of those he lost to the disease. The parallel between the struggle of organizations like Act Up, the rush for clinical trials and differing opinions about treatment during COVID-19 struct me when listening to Roger. COVID-19 seems like such a shock to most Americans, but the truth is that we are living among a population that has been through a global pandemic. I asked Roger if he would let me tell his story as a fellow New Yorker and friend.

What if, one last time, Roger could be together again with the people who impacted him most? What if Roger could ask those people, alive and dead, for their guidance during COVID. What would Roger say? Would he finally find some answers?



Roger’s story is happening as we speak, which is why we’re already in production.

While animation is safe during COVID and minimizes our physical contact with Roger, this form of storytelling lets us dig into Roger’s psyche and thoroughly explore flashbacks that we would not be able to see otherwise.

Animation allows us to create atmospheric sound desgin and contemplative, abstract music composition.



Our goal is to submit to festivals, like Tribeca, that are New York-based so that Roger can safely attend. But we’ll also plan to distribute the film on multiple platforms online immediately after a festival premiere.

The goal is to maximize the viewership and create an opportunity for the HIV/AIDS community to enjoy the film and use it as a conversation starter to send to their constituents who may be adversely impacted by the trauma of COVID-19.


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $5,000

To bring the story to life, we've hired a team of animators.

Musical Score

Costs $1,250

Another essential method to set tone, score will guide the audience through the emotional arc.

Sound Design and Mix

Costs $1,000

Since our world will be made from scratch, the sounds will be essential to set the tone.

Legal Fees

Costs $750

Legal advice/contracts keep the subject and producers protected during production and distribution.

Festival Submissions

Costs $500

To make sure people see Roger's story, we'd like to send to festivals.

About This Team

STUART RUSTON (Director) & EAMON DOWNEY (Producer)


Terminal 4 Productions, comprised of TOGETHER AGAIN director Stuart Ruston and producer Eamon Downey, has demonstrated a passion for social advocacy documentary work for almost a decade.

T4 recently produced and co-directed a documentary short titled TO BE IN MOAB. The film follows a group of people in recovery from drugs and alcohol as they gather in Moab, Utah to celebrate an active lifetsyle. While the groups reflects upon events that led them to sobriety, they also remember those they have lost to the disease.

TO BE IN MOAB screened at film festivals such as the Dallas International Film Festival and the American Documentary Film Festival, among others.


NIKO MANOLAGAS & BEN SMITH (Animators, Producers)

Niko and Ben are both animators and producers on the TOGETHER AGAIN. Their work, through Stephen Bones Productions, combines their work in drawing and passion for documentary storytelling.


DARIUS CHRISTIAN (Music Supervisor, Sound Designer)

Baltimore raised and Brooklyn reborn, Darius Christian is a genre-bending force of nature. Darius has experience in film, composition, and media, but his passion is music. The sound: brassy and agile trombone stylizations, rich vocals, spoken word, and insatiable jubilant energy.

Darius has recently toured and performed with huge international acts such as: Gwen Stefani, Macklemore and Leslie Odom, Jr.


BLANK FOR.MS (Composer)

Originally from rural Wyoming,’ work centers around the meeting ground of dense harmony and rich textures. Mixing modern classical music and avant-garde, uses degraded tapes and analog synthesizers to create sounds meant more for the body than the mind. demonstrates their process on Instagram, where he's garnered more than 66K followers.

Current Team