Reel lives – the first film festival on cancer

January 7, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

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This is a bit of old news. However, I think this is worth posting, if only to inform people on films about cancer that they should see. And I am not referring only to “The Bucket List”  which starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

There is actually a film festival focusing solely on documentaries about cancer – the first one ever! And it was held last August 2008 with an astonishingly large number of entries – over 250 from 40 different countries. Reel Lives – the Cancer Chronicles Film Festival took place during the World Cancer Congress in Geneva last summer. The film festival was organized by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), the leading international non-governmental organization dedicated exclusively to global cancer control.

“The festival aims to raise awareness of the complex realities of cancer globally, to shatter taboos and myths surrounding the disease, and to challenge stigma. Reel Lives pays tribute to those whose lives have been impacted by cancer, and provides them with the opportunity to tell their story to a global audience through the creative medium of film.”

33 finalist from 16 countries were chosen. The Grand Prize went to the Swiss filmmaker for his film “Chrigu”, which portrayed the life of a young man, Christian Ziörjen’s (Chrigu) who, at the age of 21 was diagnosed with an advanced-stage neck tumor.

Other winners were:

  • Best Reportage film: The Truth about Cancer (USA)
  • Best Personal Story: The Art of Living (India)
  • Best educational or organizational film: The Children of Avenir (Morocco)
  • Best public service announcement. Hookah (Israel)

Those who received honourable mentions were

  • Personal Story: Breast Cancer Diaries (US)
  • Reportage: The War Against Cancer (France)
  • Organizational/educational: Emily’s Story (US)
  • Public service announcement: How Long is a Piece of String? (Australia)
  • Public service announcement: Any Questions (Canada)

According toUICC executive director Isabel Mortara

The success of Reel Lives was truly remarkable. All finalists brought adversity and courage to the big screen in their own unique way.  We congratulate all entries to the festival; they championed the idea of celebrating the art of life through their battle with cancer.”

Documentary films like these can surely help in raising global awareness about cancer. We are looking forward to the next Reel Lives film festival – yet we are all hoping that we wouldn’t be needing such a film festival sometime somewhere in the future when cancer would be a thing of the past…

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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