Africa: Director-General’s Remarks At 2nd Health for All Film Festival – 13 May 2021

Esteemed guests, dear colleagues and friends,

Wherever you are in the world, I wish you a good morning, a good afternoon or a good evening.

I am delighted to be here today to announce the winners of the second WHO Health for All Film Festival.

We launched this festival last year as the world was facing the shared threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lesson has been strong and clear: the only way to take on shared threats is to work together, in solidarity.

The WHO Health for All Film Festival was founded on the idea that solidarity begins with shared experience.

The individuals and communities who are sharing their stories in this festival are shining a powerful light on the different ways that people around the world experience health and health care.

Each film exposes its audience to new situations and different realities.

They are building blocks for mutual understanding, respect, and empathy.

In an extraordinary demonstration of creative energy and enthusiasm, the second edition of the film festival attracted nearly one thousand two hundred short film submissions from one hundred and ten countries.

The films are as diverse in topic as they are in style, ranging from documentaries to fictional stories to animations.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 40 per cent of entries this year related to stories about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 56 shortlisted films have been sorted into categories that reflect WHO’s major areas of work: universal health coverage, health emergencies and better health and wellbeing.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank WHO staff for the commitment and solidarity they have shown in bringing this film festival to life, spreading the word at the country and regional levels, and helping with the initial sift of entries.

In particular, I would like to thank my colleagues Gilles Reboux and Lorena Bernal for their hard work and dedication in leading this process from start to finish.

I would also like to thank the distinguished artists and activists who joined WHO experts to form this year’s festival jury: Eugenio Derbez, Dr Leyla Hussein, Martin Fernando Jakobsen, Sonia Lowman, Milica Momcilovic and Vithika Yadav.

Without further delay, it is time for me to announce the winners of the second edition of WHO’s Health for All Film Festival.

For each of the three main categories there is a grand prix winner as well as a special mention from the jury.

The winners will receive their trophies during awards ceremonies tomorrow, which will be streamed on our website, YouTube channel and Facebook. Each grand prix winner will receive a grant of 10 thousand US dollars to invest in further audiovisual production on health.

In addition, there are three special prizes: a student-produced film, a health educational film aimed at youth, and a Health Equity Film. Each special prize winner will receive a grant of 5 thousand US dollars.

I will start with those special prizes.

The winner of the Student Film Prize is “Cefalea”.

Capturing the life of a young woman living near an oil field in Albania, it was directed by Kim Hyejin from the Republic of Korea.

Congratulations Kim.

The winner of the special prize for a health educational film for youth is “Efun”.

Taking on the challenging topic of Female Genital Mutilation, it was directed by Anita Abada from Nigeria.

Congratulations Anita.

And the winner of the Health Equity Film Prize is “The Beat of Change: Rheumatic Heart Disease”.

Submitted by the World Health Federation and produced by BBC Storyworks, it follows a young mother in Mozambique who has been diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease.

Congratulations to all of you.

Now, I will move on to the special mentions and winners in each of the three main categories.

First, the universal health coverage category.

The special mention in this category goes to “Chipatala cha pa Foni”.

Shining a light on the phone-based health service Chipatala cha pa Foni in Malawi, it was submitted and directed by Village Reach, an NGO in Malawi, and produced by Hope Ngwira, Kat Tillman and Lindi van Niekirk.

Many thanks to Village Reach for their participation.

And the winner of the grand prix in the category of universal health coverage is the animated film “Phosphôros”.

A beautiful tribute to the health workers in El Salvador saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was directed by Susana Beatriz Serrano, also from El Salvador.

Felicitaciones Susana.

Now, onto the Health Emergencies category.

The special mention goes to “Far Away”.

Following health workers in Mongolia during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was directed by Battulga Gantulga of Mongolia.

Thank you Battulga.

And the winner of the grand prix in the Health Emergencies category goes to “Stressed: A pandemic of fear”.

Exposing the alarming rise in stress levels amongst displaced children in the Middle East during the COVID-19 pandemic, filmed in Jordan and directed by Daniel Wheeler from the United Kingdom.

Many congratulations Daniel.

Our final category is Better Health and Wellbeing.

The special mention in this category goes to “Match”.

“Match” follows French wheelchair user, Gregory, as he trains for a new career.