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Planetary Health Film Lab

Planetary Health Film Lab


Last Updated on March 6, 2024

Planetary Health Film Lab 2023 - Belize Edition

This year, the Planetary Health Film Lab worked with Indigenous youth from the Maya communities in Belize. The following six films were made in the native Maya languages of Q’eqchi’ and/or Mopan with English subtitles. The films have been added to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's Youth Climate Report GIS database and will premiere at the UN's climate summit, COP28, in Dubai in December of this year.

Program Overview

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the program, participants will have learned:

  • how documentary film is used as an influential communications tool to inform UN policymakers and for environmental activism;
  • how to produce digital media projects and GIS maps;
  • the value and process of collaborative filmmaking;
  • how to conduct professional interviews with researchers and practitioners;
  • how to deliver oral presentations; and
  • how planetary health research can influence policy and practice


Participants will create short documentary films about planetary health and the impacts of climate change on human health and wellbeing in their communities. General themes are planetary health, global health and humanitarianism, global health foresighting, and the Sustainable Development Goals. The films may tell a narrative and/or communicate research that touches on any of the following:

  • the relationship between environmental and human health
  • specific issues created or exacerbated by climate change, such as water safety, displacement, conflict, food shortages, changing patterns of infectious diseases, floods, and droughts
  • how the humanitarian sector is responding to climate change;
  • innovative or creative solutions to climate change
  • innovative or creative health adaptations to climate change impacts;
  • visions for a healthier future and how to get there
  • how the participants’ communities are pursuing one or more of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals



Mark Terry, PhD, is a documentary filmmaker, polar explorer, Ecocinema scholar and executive director of the Youth Climate Report. He co-leads the Planetary Health Film Lab.

James Orbinski, MD, is the director of the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. He is the founder and co-lead of the Planetary Health Film Lab.

Kate Tilleczek, PhD, is the Canada Research Chair, Young Lives, Education & Global Good and scientific director (and founder) of the Young Lives Research Lab. She is the educational lead for the Planetary Health Film Lab.

Deborah MacDonald, MA, is the senior research associate and manager for the Young Lives Research Lab. She is the research lead for the Planetary Health Film Lab.


The Planetary Health Film Lab is a collaboration between the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, the Young Lives Research Laboratory, Planetary Health Alliance, and the Youth Climate Report.


The Planetary Health Film Lab is made possible by a grant from the The Peterborough K M Hunter Charitable Foundation.

Summer 2023 Films

Summer 2022 Films

The 2022 edition of the Planetary Health Film Lab was designed for Indigenous youth from 11 communities across Ecuador who have a story to tell about climate change and health and want to do so through film. These films were produced in the Indigenous languages of Kichwa and Shúar with English subtitles.

Summer 2021 Films

Twelve Indigenous participants from the Circumpolar Arctic learned to effectively tell stories that communicate data, research, and life experiences related to global and planetary health. The workshop teaches specific theories, techniques, and modes of social issue filmmaking and provides hands-on experience with new digital technologies and platforms.

Winter 2020 Films

The first workshop cohort featured environmental activists and emerging filmmakers from Canada, Australia, Ecuador, Colombia, India, and Italy. The Film Lab took these young filmmakers through an intensive five-day process to create a film which tells a story about the health impacts of climate change.

The films produced in Winter 2020 was funded by a Connection Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

SSHRC Signature


Planetary Health



Related Work



Kate Tilleczek, Faculty Fellow, Faculty of Education Active
Mark Terry, Research Fellow, Documentary Film & Global Health Alum
Netta Sarah Kornberg, Knowledge Dissemination Strategist Alum

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