Rare Stories is a film festival working towards an inclusive society by making the voices of people with rare diseases heard. The purpose of the festival is to draw attention to this topic, to celebrate differences and to arrange a festive day – working towards inclusion and equality for all.

The festival will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, on February 29th 2020 - The International Rare Disease Day. It aims to create a fun, inspiring and educational event with film screenings, panel talks and mingles.


The two main promoters of the festival are Film and Tell and Rare Diseases Sweden.

Film and Tell is a value-based company dedicated to produce positive social change. Within our method, Real Stories Real Change, we use high-quality documentaries, expansive and well-targeted outreach work, and strategic advocacy to make the world a better place.

Rare Diseases Sweden is the national association of over more than 60 rare patient organizations. Living with a rare disease often implies complex needs of treatment and support. Rare Diseases Sweden work diligently to spread awareness, influence political decision making and improve life-conditions and healthcare for people living with rare diseases.


The first edition of The Rare Film Festival was produced by Film and Tell in 2016 and supported by UR (Sweden’s Educational Broadcasting Company). It gathered hundreds of people and stakeholders who shared thoughts and initiatives inspired by well-crafted films in the thematic area of rare diseases.


With Rare Stories we want to take rare diseases awareness to a new level. We want to use powerful stories to bring ethical, social, medical and political issues to new heights. We want to create a day of empowerment, a day to remember.

#Wearenotrare, but we have #RareStories to tell. See you February 29, 2020!

During Rare Stories Film Festival 2020, our Jury will offer awards in the following categories:

1. Best Feature Film About Rare Diseases
2. Best Short Film About Rare Diseases
3. The Audience’s Choice Award

The Jury, presided by award-winning filmmakers Oscar Hedin and Åsa Ekman, also includes cultural entrepreneurs and specialists in rare diseases.

OSCAR HEDIN founded Film and Tell in 2010 and prior to that he made films that reached large audiences, formed opinions, changed laws and won awards. His film about the soccer team Assyriska during their first year in the Swedish Premier League, “A National Team Without a Nation” (2005), won the Golden Palm at the Beverly Hills Films Festival. “Aching Heart” (2007), focusing on the Jihadist movement in Sweden was nominated for a Guldbagge, Prix Europa and Ikaros, and won the Amulet.

ÅSA EKMAN's most recent documentary series, “The Good Country” (2017), has been distributed by the National Swedish Television in the beginning of 2018. Her diptych on children exposed to domestic violence “Say Something” (2016) and “My life my lesson” (2015) premiered at IDFA, won the Swedish TV-prize Kristallen for Best Documentary two years in a row, and reached over 10 million viewers. “My life my lesson” was nominated for the Guldbaggen and won the Nordic Docs award for best documentary.


1. The festival accepts only FILMS THAT TACKLE THE TOPIC OF RARE DISEASES!!!
2. The competition is open to all authors of films in the thematic area of rare diseases without any restrictions of nationality or age.
3. The eligible categories are shorts and features in any format (animation, documentary, fiction, experimental) with an original interpretation of the theme and completed after January 2016.
4. Though we accept feature film, the selection rate of long formats might be reduced due to the tight timeframe. Nonetheless, every submission will be individually watched and appreciated.
5. Each director can participate in both categories with unlimited number of works.
6. The registration of films in the competition takes place exclusively online through the FilmFreeway platform.
7. THE FINAL DEADLINE for the registration of films in the competition is October 30th, 2019. The Organizers reserve the right to extend this date by communicating it on the FilmFreeway page and the e-pages of the organizers.
8. All the films in a foreign language, in both categories, must be subtitled in English and/or Swedish, otherwise they won’t be considered. We welcome works with other INCLUSIVE FORMS OF TRANSLATION (eg: audio file for visually impaired viewers).
9. Any additional material related to the registered film must be sent only in case of final selection, upon request by the festival organizers.
10. A film selected and screened in a previous edition of the festival, cannot be registered a second time.
11. In case of selection, a screener file will be sent in Full HD file (DCP, MP4, QuickTime or Prores)
12. The selection and awarding processes are based on the following criteria:
- the film tackles the topic of rare diseases from a knowledgeable, imaginative and engaging perspective;
- the story helps general audiences understand rare diseases and overcome stereotypes and victimisation
- the filmmaker employs creative techniques that push the boundaries of storytelling and
- the quality of picture and sound
13. The selection made by the Festival team, the Artistic Direction and the Jury of the Festival cannot be contested.


1. The authors are solely responsible for the contents of their productions and the clearing of all copyrights related to their work. The Rare Stories Film Festival organizers decline all responsibility in this sense.
2. For all the films selected to be screened in any category during the Festival, no rental costs and rights of any kind will be paid.
3. In the case of participants under age, the registration application must be completed and signed by a parent or guardian, below the name and surname of the participant.
4. All selected participants will allow the processing of their personal data for requirements pursuant to applicable national and EU legislation.
5. The participant authorizes Film and Tell and Rare Diseases Association to use his/her own work, if finalist, for all legal ways to promote the Festival through for example media, social media and on the Festival website. He/She authorizes the Festival to publish the images, photographs and videos recorded during the festival of their image and their work on all the useful dissemination and communication channels, and in promotional events both public and private, that will not, in any way, ever compromise personal dignity and decorum.
6. Participation in the competition involves the acknowledgement and acceptance of all the rules above.
7. For any disputes the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce is competent.

Overall Rating
  • Absolutely brilliant film festival, great communication throughout and very welcoming community! Wonderful array of films, and came away very inspired - if you're considering attending/ it!

    March 2020