By Lerato Ndlovu
The World Health Organization’s Health for all Film Festival aimed at recruiting a new generation of film and video innovators has closed call with nearly 1200 applications.
More than 40% of the short films submitted feature themes related to COVID-19, revealing the pandemic’s pervasive and universal consequences.
The festival was launched in 2020 and focused on independent film-makers, production companies, NGOs, communities, students, and film schools from around the world and urged them to submit original short films of 3 to 8 minute length so as to help champion on global health issues.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said telling stories are as old as human civilization. It helps us understand our problems and heal ourselves. Receiving creative entries inspired by WHO’s mission to promote health, will keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.
“Telling stories is as old as human civilization. It helps to inspire, motivate, build empathy and share problems so we can find and share solutions together. Everything WHO does is about stories because everything we do is about people. We’re excited about the quantity and quality of entries in this year’s Health for All Film Festival. Ultimately, we hope the festival is not just a way to tell stories, but to change the arc of people’s stories around the world, towards better health”.
The competition categories were aligned with WHO’s global goals for public health.
Universal health coverage (UHC): films about mental health, noncommunicable diseases and other UHC stories linked to communicable diseases are part of the categories.
Health emergencies: films about health emergencies, such as COVID-19, Ebola, as well as health responses in the context of humanitarian crises and in conflict-affected settings.
Better health and well-being: films about environmental and social determinants of health, such as nutrition, sanitation, pollution, and/or films about health promotion or health education.
WHO will award the winners in May with three special prizes to be included: a student-produced film, a health educational film aimed at youth, and a short video designed exclusively for social media platforms.
Entries came from countries as Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Uganda.
The inaugural Health for All Film Festival in 2019/2020 accepted 1,300 short film submissions from more than 110 countries.