Understanding illnesses through a film festival: an observational study
Audio-visual materials play a fundamental role in the context of education, care and clinical treatment, as they seem to have a high impact on public awareness. This study aims to describe what messages are perceived by the society at an International Festival of Short Films and Art on Diseases that may help to understand difficult topics, such as illness, dying and suffering. Through an observational, descriptive, cross-sectional study, using full participant observation and an open, self-administered questionnaire, 32 short films were analysed during a healthcare art festival. Categories were developed using inductive content analysis. The message perceived by the participants, after the viewing of the shorts and reflection of the debates among the attendees, were considered in four categories: i) creative and positive education is possible; ii) awareness of preconception and practical duties; iii) meaning of life changes the experience of illness; iv) family and caregivers also experienced suffering. The short films are considered as an excellent tool to generate social dialogue and debate. Public events can be understood as an opportunity to acquire, in an emotional and critical manner, other competencies for public awareness. Together, they are capable of communicating difficult messages through a fast, positive, and creative way.