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WHO jury comprising Nandita Das awards films themed on burnout, ageing, climate change

May 27, 2024 5:57 PM IST

Indian actor-filmmaker Nandita Das has emphasised on the need to celebrate films that focus on health through a host of issues ranging from war trauma to burnout, climate change, mental health and healthy ageing.

Nandita is part of the jury for the World Health Organization’s 5th Health for All Film Festival, announced the winners on the eve of the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva.

At an event that also launched WHO’s Investment Round, the actor who is part of a panel, which includes names like actor Sharon Stone, announced the winners across seven categories, with four films receiving special mentions from the jury.

The winning entries were selected from over 900 filmmakers from 110 countries who submitted short films, on themes ranging from climate change and refugees to tobacco use and gender-based violence, among others.

“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,” Nandita said.

The theme of mental health featured heavily in this year’s winning entries, including a powerful 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 Turkiye, captures the survival and recovery of a young Syrian refugee mother in southern Turkiye who spent five days trapped under building rubble in the aftermath of the earthquakes of February 2023. The film details her rehabilitation progress, including learning to walk again.

From the official selection at the WHO Health for All Film Festival, a “Grand Prix” is awarded in each of the three main competition categories: Universal Health Coverage, Health Emergencies, and Better Health and Well-Being, which align with the WHO’s Triple Billion Targets. Additionally, four special prizes were 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.

Apart from Nandita Das and Sharon Stone, the international jury which picked the winners comprises actor Alfonso Herrera; filmmaker and producer Apolline Traore; Olympic swimmer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Yusra Mardini; multidisciplinary artist Mario Macilau and film director Paul Jerndal.

(Input from ANI)

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