Project UnLonely Films is one of the nation’s largest campaigns to raise awareness about the urgent public health concern of social isolation and loneliness.

Created by The Foundation for Art & Healing, Project UnLonely Films celebrates the power of storytelling in film and creates a voice for the loneliness epidemic to help people better connect with themselves and others.

The 8th season of Project UnLonely Films will launch in June 2024. Over the years, as the only film-based initiative dedicated to illuminating isolation and destigmatizing loneliness, this series has made tremendous impact for people struggling with loneliness and has been used as part of national and local program efforts. Past submissions have included films that premiered at Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Palm Spring Film Festival, and DOC NYC. One has even been nominated for an Academy Award!

The Foundation for Art & Healing selects about 35 short films to represent diverse settings, identities, and experiences to shape the story of the loneliness epidemic. All communities face loneliness, and as such, we encourage filmmakers to share short works that help to explore loneliness and mental health with diverse perspectives.

Our film collection includes stories related to experiences across the "5 territories" of loneliness:

Trauma: Trauma can lead us to self-isolate and create a smaller world for ourselves in an effort to protect our mind and body. These films showcase the resilience and healing of survivors, through stories of connection.

Illness: Physical or mental illness can isolate us and make it harder to relate to others. Stories about navigating illness inspire compassion and understanding by normalizing a common human experience.

Aging: Getting older comes with wisdom and gratitude, but it can also lead to challenges, including - and exacerbated by - feelings of loneliness. In these short films, people are finding unique ways to connect with themselves and others as they age.

Difference: The experience of feeling different, of not belonging, of not being part of a group– can lead to loneliness. The characters in these films are searching for a sense of belonging, finding their community, or discovering ways to connect to their identity.

Modernity: Our world is at once highly-connected and uniquely disconnected. The films in this category explore the ways we interact with one another – and find community – in our modern world.

Since March 2020, the pandemic has caused extraordinary harm to our mental health. In addition to the grief caused by the loss of over half a million people to COVID-19, our nation has faced overwhelming loss and unrest due to systemic racism as well as unprecedented political and social divisions. While the pandemic has abated, health disparities continue to widen. By showcasing powerful films, we hope to share stories that transcend divisions and help us come together and unite.

In years past, Project UnLonely Films have been supported by Cigna, the AARP Foundation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Americans for the Arts, and more. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we all use the arts as a way to improve health and wellness, advocate for vulnerable populations, and address public health issues.

All selected videos will be made available for free public viewing on our website for at least one year. These films are housed as a way for the public to form community and access content that helps to connect people.

Three (3) winners and 5 honorable mentions receive modest cash prizes after our launch event in June 2024. Prizes are awarded by Mike Paseornek (former president of Lionsgate Films) and industry guests.

Additional Rules & Terms are outlined in an agreement that will be provided to filmmakers whose films are selected for inclusion in Project UnLonely Films. Filmmakers will have the right to accept or decline the agreement.

Overall Rating
  • Poppy van Oorde-Grainger

    A great festival. They really supported our short film Two Sands.

    October 2022
  • Dan Lesser

    Loved attending Unlonley Film Festival. There is such heart and a strong ethos behind the films and programmers here. If you feel your film has something to say about mental health, you'll surely find a home here.

    July 2021
  • Margaret Brennan

    Happy to be part of a festival with a meaningful cause. Thanks so much Natalie and team!

    July 2021
  • A really great festival with a strong selection of films, communication was fantastic also.
    Thank you for selecting my film 'Clouds'

    July 2021
  • Chris Filippone

    Great festival, excellent curation, and an interesting and compelling angle and approach to curating that makes for a wonderful experience to be part of!

    June 2021