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UM researchers get involved in discussions during film festival

UM researchers get involved in discussions during film festival

Improving the world through documentaries

What could the future look like by the year of 2040 if we simply embraced the best available solutions to improve our planet? If we would shift them rapidly into the mainstream? Questions from the documentary 2040 by the Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau. The film was set up as letter to his 4-year-old daughter. What kind of world is she heading towards? Full of hope, Gameau goes in search of the best solutions at our finger tips right now.

It is one of three documentaries to be shown at the Dutch Global Health Film Festival next weekend, which has been organised in five student cities, including Maastricht, by the Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and Tropical Health (NVTG). This organisation consists of doctors, scientists, teachers and policy makers who devote themselves to global health and scientific research and education in this field.

After every documentary, there will be a discussion with experts; in Maastricht, this will mostly be present and former UM researchers, including professor of sustainability Pim Martens, and Serdar Türkeli, researcher at UNU/Merit.

The festival, of which each film refers to the accompanying Sustainable Development Goals, has a slightly activist slant, says Esther Jurgens, policy advisor at NVTG. Although visitors are not urged to chain themselves to trees, they are prompted to think. “The themes follow naturally from the Maastricht master’s of Global Health,” says Jurgens, who is linked to the programme as a tutor and co-ordinator. “The bachelor’s of Global Studies, which is to start in September, is closely connected.”

Just like a similar film festival in London, NVTG is considering setting up side events for journalists and scientists. How do you advertise this kind of colossal theme in a newspaper? Also, as an academic, how can you present your results to a broader public? Maybe through films, or brochures?

The other two documentaries are about the diabetes epidemic in Mexico (El Susto), but especially about the struggle of activists against the soft-drinks industry. The third film (Meet the Millennials) shows youths in Asia speaking about a future in which robot technology and DNA manipulation are part and parcel of everyday life.

Dutch Global Health Film Festival takes place on Saturday (10:30-18:00 hrs) in Lumière Cinema; entrance fee €29.50, for students €27.50

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