June 25, 2024
Health Movies

WHO Reveals 5th Health For All Film Festival Recipients

Celebrating Global Health Narratives

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled the recipients of the prestigious awards at its 5th Health for All Film Festival, marking yet another year of cinematic excellence in highlighting crucial global health issues.

The winners, whose films have significantly impacted raising awareness and promoting understanding, were announced on May 27, 2024, during a ceremonious event that coincided with the commencement of WHO’s Investment Round, held on the eve of the Seventy-Seventh World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The gala, graced by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was the stage for announcing the winning films across seven distinct categories. An esteemed jury chose these films; four remarkable productions received additional acknowledgement.

Emerging as a beacon for health advocacy in the cinematic realm, the festival received an overwhelming response, with a thousand submissions from filmmakers worldwide.

The diverse entries delved into multifaceted themes ranging from gender parity and the ravages of war trauma to the pressing concerns of burnout, climate change, and healthy ageing.

Meticulous Evaluation

From this pool of submissions, 61 outstanding shortlisted films underwent meticulous evaluation by a panel of esteemed professionals, artists, and activists.

Among them were luminaries such as acclaimed actors and advocates Nandita Das, Sharon Stone, and Alfonso Herrera, alongside filmmaker and producer Apolline Traoré, Olympic swimmer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Yusra Mardini, multifaceted artist Mário Macilau, and film director Paul Jerndal, who senior United Nations officials and WHO personnel joined.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reflecting on the profound impact of storytelling in fostering empathy and understanding, stated: “The Health for All Film Festival is a platform that brings together powerful stories about various health experiences from people worldwide. By listening to these stories, we gain a deeper understanding of people’s lived experiences and can work towards achieving better health for all.”

The festival, structured around WHO’s Triple Billion Targets, was awarded a coveted ‘Grand Prix’ in its three primary competition categories: Universal health coverage, health emergencies, and better health and well-being. These accolades honoured films that exemplified excellence in capturing narratives resonating with global health equity’s core tenets.

Renowned Indian actor, filmmaker, and social advocate Nandita Das, who has twice been on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival and boasts a rich repertoire of over 40 feature films in 10 different languages, expressed her delight in being part of the festival’s jury.

Pivotal Role

She stressed the pivotal role of cinema in raising awareness, challenging prejudices, and amplifying voices that often remain unheard.

“Health is, personally and collectively, our right and responsibility. So, celebrating films that focus on these issues is important. I am glad that I have the opportunity to announce the winners of the 5th edition of this annual event,” she stated.

In addition to the triumphant Grand Prix winners, the festival bestowed special prizes upon films that distinguished themselves in various thematic niches, including Student-produced films, narratives centred on Physical Activity and Health, representations of Migrants’ and Refugees’ Health, and exemplary Very Short Films.

Mental health emerged as a poignant motif within this year’s winning entries, with one particularly impactful short film from France delving into the poignant struggles of supporting a loved one grappling with a severe illness. The narrative poignantly portrays the burdens borne by a 14-year-old shouldering immense responsibilities while caring for her mother battling cancer.

Another poignant winner hails from Türkiye, encapsulating the resilience and recovery journey of a young Syrian refugee mother, who, following the harrowing earthquakes of February 6, 2023, found herself trapped under rubble for five agonising days. The film tenderly chronicles her arduous path to rehabilitation, including the triumphant milestone of learning to walk anew.

The following is the list of films honoured at the festival:

Universal Health Coverage ‘Grand Prix’: “The Visionary Women of Indonesia” – Indonesia / Disabilities; Blindness; Rehabilitation Directed by Nalin Narang (Australia) from The Fred Hollows Foundation / Documentary – Duration 5’10’’

Health Emergencies ‘Grand Prix’: “Journey Beyond the Rubble” – Türkiye / Natural disasters; Earthquake; Internally displaced persons Directed by Mumen Sayed Issa and Atheer Salem Bahr (Türkiye) from the Independent Doctors Association / Documentary – Duration 7’09’’

Better Health and Well-being ‘Grand Prix’: “Color” – Spain / Gender equity Directed by Eva Jakubovska (Poland/Spain) / Fiction – Duration 8’

Special Prize Physical Activity and Health Film: “Ping Pong Parkinsons” – United States of America / Mental health; Parkinson; Physical activity Directed by Dave Steck (United States of America) from Numeric Pictures company / Documentary – Duration 3’06’’

Special Prize Migrants and Refugees Health Film: “Dalal’s Story” – Iraq / Trauma; War; Refugees health; Mental health Directed by Alexandra Cordukes from Laundry Lane Productions (Australia) / Animation – Duration 6’15’’

Student Film Prize: “Mom & Me, and that… (Maman & Moi, et ça…)” – France / NCDs – Cancer; Mental health Directed by Elisa Tiozzo (France) / Animation – Duration 3’56’’

Special Prize Very Short Film: “Cycle Path” – United Kingdom / Environment; Climate change and health Directed by Red Wade (United Kingdom) / Fiction – Duration 3’

In addition to the stellar winners, several films merited Special Mentions from the discerning jury:

Health Emergencies Special Mention: “The Island (ADA)” – Türkiye / Drought; Climate change; Migration Directed by MAHMUT TAŞ (Türkiye) / Documentary – Duration 5’

Better Health and Well-being Special Mention: “The Pure” – Iran / Social determinants of health; Access to hygiene Directed by Masoud Mashouf (Iran) / Fiction – Duration 4’37’’

Universal Health Coverage Special Mention: “Beyond The Last Mile – The Story of Rose Magayi” – Malawi / Health workforce; Community Directed by Carlo Lechea / Village Reach (NGO in Africa) / Documentary – Duration 8’

Very Short Film Special Mention: “Human Being. Handle with Care” – Global / Mental health; Stress; Healthy diet Directed by Maya Adam (United States of America) from the Stanford School of Medicine / Fiction – Duration 2’21’’

In celebrating the profound impact of storytelling as a catalyst for change, the Health for All Film Festival continues to champion narratives illuminating the path toward a healthier, more equitable world for all.

Featured image: The Health for All Film Festival is a WHO initiative. Credit: WHO

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