Healthy Scepticism Film Festival

The Healthy Scepticism Film Festival runs from the 24th to 26th of September 2021. Join us to watch our short film competition finalist offer new often quite poignant perspective on matters of illness and health experience. Enjoy our curated collection of historical health films that run the gambit from outright fraud to salacious propaganda to sober health realities. View the films of our own artists-in-residence at the Healthy Scepticism project! 


On Sunday the 26th it’s Léa Pool’s eye-opening documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc.


Film categories

Short competition films

Healthy Scepticism films

Historical films

Schedule: 24-26 September 2021

Friday 24th

5 PM BST: Festival Opens and Films Become Available

What’s on:

Premiere: The UTI Documentary (Rita Conry, 2021)

The premiere of HS artist-in-residence Rita Conry’s film which tells the story of people living with acute, current or chronic UTIs, a condition that can be life-altering but is also routinely “disregarded, neglected, brushed over, or spoken about as though it’s a consequence of being female and you just have to live with it; that it’s just a sort of flaw in your physiology.” 

The Healthy Scepticism Short Films Competition

Our 10 Finalists Revealed

Here’s Health!

Our Favourite Historical Health Films 

Artists-in-Residence Showcase

View the films we’ve made at the Healthy Scepticism project on topics ranging from helpful mask tutorials to the historical anatomy of the sneeze.

Saturday 25th

What’s on:

Saturday Feature Film: The Pain of Others (Penny Lane, 2018)

“A found footage film about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin, long colored fibers emerging from lesions, and a host of other bizarre symptoms. The film sets up a space of unsettling encounters with a group of “Morgies” who have turned to YouTube to find help and to prove they’re not crazy.”

Afternoon Panel Sessions*

13:00 BST

Meet the filmmakers 

Your chance to chat with the remarkable people behind our 10 short film finalists

15:00 BST

Our favourite historical films 

Our panel of experts walks you through their favourite films in the history of health, along the way explaining what they love about historical films and why and fielding your questions about the world of historical health filmmaking.

Featuring: Oliver Gaycken, Jesse Olszynko-Gryn, David Cantor & Angela Saward

17:00 BST

How to Make a Health Film

The HS artists in residence and friends come together to share their experiences making health films and the difficulties encountered along the way. Join us to share your experience and get your (health) filmmaking questions answered.

Featuring: Edmund Bolger, Rita Conry, Helmie Stil, Geoffrey Rees & Lucas Canino

Sunday 26th

What’s on:

Sunday Feature Film: Pink Ribbons, Inc (Léa Pool, 2011)

An eye-opening film in so many ways, Pink Ribbons, Inc offers critical correction to what we think we know about the by now ubiquitous pink ribbons campaign, via an investigation of the ‘questionable commingling of marketing and philanthropy and the prioritization of pharmaceutical solutions over prevention’ that stands just behind it. Along the way, it also takes on the remarkable disconnect between cancer’s public image and its private, personal and medical realities. 

HS Short Film Competition Winner announcement

Featuring an interview with the winner and a discussion of their film.

Afternoon Panel Sessions*

15:00 BST

‘The Pain of Others’ A Debrief 

Patients, scholars, filmmakers, artists come together to share thoughts on Penny Lane’s powerful film.  

With panelists Sara Pesatori, Grazia de Michele, Geoffrey Rees & Caitjan Gainty

17:00 BST

The UTI Documentary Roundtable Discussion

Please join us to meet the filmmakers and participants in the film and to join in the discussion about the care, treatment and politics of UTIs.

Discussants include: Agnes Arnold-Forster, Rita Conry, Carmen Priotto & Participants from the UTI Documentary.

Festival Ends

*NOTE: All panel sessions will be interactive and take place via zoom, unless indicated otherwise.