On 21 May media charity tve launches the first stage of an ambitious year-long project helping communities in two Indian cities to combat one of the world’s most deadly, but little publicised, diseases – viral hepatitis.
‘Films for Change: taking hepatitis science to communities through film’ harnesses the power of film and the creativity of young new filmmakers in a bold new public health venture supported by the Wellcome Trust and the World Hepatitis Alliance.
In Lucknow and Mumbai, young filmmakers will join eminent hepatologists, patients, NGOs and an experienced filmmaker in an intensive exploration of the latest science and debates about ways of combating viral hepatitis. They’ll then pitch proposals for short documentaries to expert panels which will choose two winning proposals at each location and award bursaries to turn those ideas into reality. The four winning films will be screened in Mumbai and Lucknow, along with panel discussions involving local communities, filmmakers and scientists. The films will also be available online.
Anshul Ojha, tve’s programme manager in South Asia, said: ‘We know that film has the power to change people’s understanding of health and disease in the poorest of communities, as well as to affect policymaking. Through this project, our young filmmakers will show people what science can mean in combating hepatitis and how they can use new science to stop this deadly disease.’
Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance, said: ‘Despite the fact that viral hepatitis kills 1.4 million people every year, making it the 7th biggest killer globally, hepatitis has simply never had the exposure needed to make it a public health priority. The involvement of creative people who can tell the story of hepatitis in a compelling way is absolutely vital in changing this inexplicable neglect.’
Helen Latchem, International Engagement Advisor at the Wellcome Trust, said: ‘We are pleased to be supporting a project exploring such an important health issue with audiences in India. It is fantastic that it will result in creative short films which can be used to further discussion about hepatitis, while also helping junior researchers and young filmmakers develop their skills.’
tve will be working in Lucknow with Dr Rakesh Aggarwal and Dr Amit Goel at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences; and in Mumbai with Dr Samir Shah at the Institute of Liver Diseases, Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery and Transplant at the Global Hospital, and Dr Akash Shukla at Seth G.S. Medical College and King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital.