Nandita Das, renowned Indian actor, filmmaker, and social advocate, recently served as a juror for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 5th Health for All Film Festival. The distinguished panel included Hollywood star Sharon Stone, actor Alfonso Herrera, filmmaker Apolline Traoré, Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini, artist Mário Macilau, and director Paul Jerndal. Winners were revealed on May 26.

The festival, now in its fifth year, attracted nearly 1,000 submissions from global filmmakers, tackling critical issues like gender equity, war trauma, burnout, climate change, and healthy aging. A shortlist of 61 films was evaluated by the jury.

“Listening to the stories of people affected by health issues helps us understand their experiences and work towards better health for all,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Awards were presented in seven categories, with a “Grand Prix” awarded in Universal Health Coverage, Health Emergencies, and Better Health and Well-Being. Four special prizes recognized a student-produced film, a film on physical activity and health, one focusing on migrants and refugees, and a very short film. Mental health was a prominent theme among the winners, including the French short “Mom & Me, and that…,” about a 14-year-old caring for her mother with cancer.

Das, with a prolific career including jury service at Cannes and roles in over 40 films, praised the festival’s impact. “Films can create awareness, challenge prejudices, and tell important stories. Health is both a right and a responsibility. Celebrating films that highlight these issues is crucial,” she said.

The WHO Health for All Film Festival continues to spotlight global health issues through storytelling, fostering understanding and inspiring action towards health equity.