The ‘5th International Drugs and Harm Reduction Film Festival’ also took place during Harm Reduction 2008 (from the 12th to the 14th May), and proved very successful and popular with the conference delegates (as reflected by the large attendance at the various screenings, symposia and sessions, which exceeded expectations and left standing-room only for many films). In terms of prominence, scope, diversity and geographical coverage, 2008 was by far the best year for the Film Festival since its inception at Melbourne 2004. The Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Harm Reduction at the Burnet Institute in Australia.
Over 50 documentaries from around the world were submitted for the 2008 Film Festival, of which 30 were selected to be screened. These 30 films were from 14 different countries – from Canada to Cambodia, and Australia to Afghanistan. The standout films (in terms of popularity amoingst delegates) were ‘The Sleeping Giant’ (Canada), ‘Just Punishment’ (Australia), ‘Children of Leningradsky’ (Russia), ‘Harm Reduction Video: Cambodia – Injecting Drug Use’ (Cambodia), and ‘Brothers of Kabul’ (Afghanistan). There was also a well-attended Spanish-only session which showcased several documentaries.
Click Above to View a Short Film Reviewing the 2008 Film Festival in Barcelona
Click Above to View a Short Film Promoting the 2008 Film Festival in Barcelona
At the conference’s Closing Session (on Thursday 15th May), the 2008 Film Festival Award was presented to ‘Harm Reduction Video: Cambodia – Injecting Drug Use’, directed by David Eberhardt and produced by Black River Films (with funding provided by the World Health Organization). The award was collected on the director’s behalf by Holly Bradford. The film delivers a broad range of harm reduction messages for drug users living in the urban centres of Cambodia through a mixture of real-life footage and animation. It was made with the participation of current and former drug users, and used a soundtrack that was specially recorded by a well-known Cambodian rapper (as well as karaoke-style rolling text at the bottom of the screen to highlight the key health messages).