Seven winning short films, four special mentions from the Jury

The World Health Organization has announced the official selection of this year’s winning films of its 5th Health for All Film Festival. The awards were announced at a special event launching WHO’s Investment Round on the eve of the Seventy-Seventh World Health Assembly in Geneva held from 27 May – 1 June 2024.

The event, opened by WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and attended by High-Level Representatives of Member States and celebrities from the cinema and arts domain, saw winning films announced for seven different categories, while four films received special mentions from the jury.

This is the fifth year of the Film Festival which received almost 1000 entries from filmmakers around the world on issues ranging from gender equity and war trauma to burnout, climate change and healthy ageing. Of these, 61 shortlisted films were judged by a panel of distinguished professionals, artists and activists, including renowned actors and advocates, Nandita Das, Sharon Stone and Alfonso Herrera; filmmaker and producer, Apolline Traoré; Olympic swimmer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Yusra Mardini; multidisciplinary artist, Mário Macilau; and film director, Paul Jerndal. They were joined by senior United Nations officials and WHO staff.

“WHO’s Health for All Film Festival gathers many powerful stories about a variety of health experiences from people from all over the world,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Listening to the stories of people affected by health issues helps us to understand people’s lived experiences and move towards achieving better health for all.”

From the official selection, one “Grand Prix” is awarded for each of the three main competition categories: Universal health coverage, Health emergencies, and Better health and well-being, which align with WHO’s Triple Billion Targets.

Nandita Das, Indian actor, filmmaker and social advocate, who has served twice on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival and has acted in more than 40 feature films in 10 different languages said: “I am delighted to be a juror for WHO’s Health For All Film Festival. Films can create awareness, challenge prejudices, ask uncomfortable questions and tell stories that need to be told. Health is personally and collectively, our right and responsibility. So to celebrate films that focus on these issues is important. I am glad that l have the opportunity to announce the winners of the 5th edition of this annual event.”

Four special prizes were also given for a Student-produced film, a film on Physical Activity and Health, a film on Migrants and Refugees Health and a Very Short Film.

The theme of mental health featured heavily in this year’s winning entries, including a powerful and moving short film from France about the difficulties of supporting a relative diagnosed with a severe disease. The film depicts a 14-year-old who copes with heavy responsibilities while living alone with her mother, who has cancer.

Another winning film, from Türkiye, captures the survival and recovery of a young Syrian refugee mother in southern Türkiye who spent five days trapped under building rubble in the aftermath of the earthquakes of 6 February 2023. The moving film details her rehabilitation progress including learning to walk again.

List of films awarded

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’

Films receiving a Special Mention from the 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’’

Ends.

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