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Planetary Health Film Lab

Planetary Health Film Lab

Planetary Health Film Lab

Planetary Health Film Lab 2022

Now in its third year, the Planetary Health Film Lab is an interdisciplinary program featuring a week-long, intensive workshop designed to provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to make short documentary films for the United Nations. 

The 2022 edition of the Planetary Health Film Lab is 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 will be produced in the Indigenous languages of Kichwa and Shúar with English subtitles. 

During a week-long virtual workshop scheduled for August, our 20 Indigenous youth participants will learn to effectively tell stories from their communities that communicate data, research, and life experiences related to global and planetary health. The week-long workshop is to be held at the Escuela Politecnica Nacional University in Quito. The workshop teaches specific theories, techniques, and modes of social issue filmmaking and provides hands-on experience with new digital technologies and platforms.

All films will be presented at the United Nations climate conference, COP27, in Sharm El-Sheik in Egypt in November. A series of press conferences and side events will showcase the films, which will directly contribute to progressive policy creation on a global scale. These films will not only provide valuable perspectives and data related to planetary health issues in remote areas in Ecuador, but will also be presented in the filmmakers' native language. This is particularly important this year as 2022 represents the first year in the UN's International Decade for Indigenous Languages (2022-2032).

The participants’ documentary short films will also be featured on the websites of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, and the Youth Climate Report — an influential database platform used as a resource by policymakers. 

The 2022 Planetary Health Film Lab is pleased to announce our collaboration with the Quechua Academy and Escuela Politecnica Nacional University in Quito, Ecuador in helping to coordinate this year's project.

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


This year’s Planetary Health Film Lab is designed for Indigenous youth in Ecuador and Costa Rica who are interested in using their filmmaking skills (videography and film editing) to tell stories about the impact of climate change on planetary health as well as on human health and wellbeing in their communities.

We want to bring together Indigenous youth from Ecuador and Costa Rica with a diversity of lived experiences and perspectives. We will encourage the participants to use their communities’ Indigenous languages along with English titles, subtitles, and credits.

Above all, we are looking for youth with a passion for storytelling through film who are experiencing the urgency of environmental impacts in their home communities.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Indigenous youth 18 to 30 years old, residing in Ecuador or Costa Rica
  • proficiency in written and spoken English
  • experience producing videos using their own cell phones or video cameras
  • experience editing videos using their own computers and editing software
  • ability to complete their projects by the program deadline

Important Dates

Call for participants: February 14, 2022

Application deadline: April 12, 2022

Participants notified of acceptance: April 20, 2022

Introductory Zoom session: May 1, 2022

Production: May 2 to June 30, 2022

Post-production: July 1 to 25, 2022

Community Elder approval: July 31, 2022

Workshop (virtual and/or in-person): August 15 to 19, 2022

Micro Film Festival (virtual and/or in-person): August 19, 2022

UN approval: September 10 to 17, 2022

Upload to UNFCCC website (YCR): September 18, 2022

Submission to international film festivals: September 19, 2022

Presentations at UN climate summit, COP27: November 7 to 18, 2022



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 2021 edition of the Planetary Health Film Lab is made possible by a grant from the Hunter Family Foundation.

Summer 2021 Films

Winter 2020 Films

Seven emerging filmmakers from six countries came to the Dahdaleh Institute in Toronto from 16 - 22 February 2020 to participate in the Planetary Health Film Lab. 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 Winter 2020 cohort of youth were the workshop’s first. The group includes environmental activists and emerging filmmakers from Canada, Australia, Ecuador, Colombia, India, and Italy.

Thierry Toto (Italy)

Karla Cajas (Ecuador)

Ishika Mitra (India)

Kai Millen (Australia)

Monica Monrroy Botero (Colombia)

Vivian Guido (Canada)

Jacquelin Montoya Hidalgo (Ecuador)


Planetary Health



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