The UnLonely Film Festival is one of the nation’s largest campaigns to raise awareness about loneliness. By celebrating the power of storytelling in film, this festival and its films create a voice for the loneliness epidemic and help people better connect with short films, each other, and themselves. 

The UnLonely Film Festival will launch in June 2022 and will be celebrating its 6th anniversary. Over the years, as the only festival dedicated to illuminating isolation and destigmatizing loneliness, this film 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, Tribeca, Palm Spring, and DOC NYC film festivals and have even been nominated for an Academy Award.

The Festival will select around 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 the below perspectives:
- Those experiencing “everyday loneliness” at work, at school and at home 
- How individuals have struggled, overcome, or solved loneliness
- Those looking for social connection or community belonging
- Those exploring creative expression
- Older adults 
- Adolescents, young adults, or students exploring identity Race and Sexual Orientation
- Minorities working to establish and legitimize their identity
- Black Americans’ struggling with tragedies caused by systemic racism and its effect on their physical and mental health
- Veterans, active duty military and their loved ones Individuals with major illnesses, as well as their caregivers
- Individuals and families struggling with addiction
- Immigrants and refugees finding their way in a new place

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. Health disparities continue to widen and the pandemic fuels the loneliness epidemic with no end in sight.  By showcasing your powerful films, we hope to create a series of stories that transcend divisions and help us come together and unite.

The UnLonely Film Festival is created by The Foundation for Art & Healing. In years past, this festival has been presented by Cigna, the AARP Foundation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Amerians 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.

3 winners and 5 honorable mentions receive a modest cash prize given at our launch event in the summer of 2022 in New York City. We are hoping to do an in person launch event. Prizes are given out by Mike Paseornek & industry guests.

Note that formal “acceptance” of your Film only takes place after you have executed and returned the consent in the Festival’s filmmaker agreement.

You understand and agree that by submitting your Film to the Festival, and when/if the Foundation accepts your Film, you grant the Foundation the following rights:

You must select an option by placing a check mark in the box next to one of the options.
If you fail to select an option, the Foundation will automatically select the option for one (1) year for your Film, and you hereby formally grant the Foundation the specified rights for the one (1) year period, unless and until the Foundation receives a Change Notice of Option from you as specified below:

a. At your option for either three (3) years [ ] or one (1) year [ ] (please check the box that
applies) after the opening of the Festival,

(1) allow the Foundation to post a link to your Film on the Foundation website at
artandhealing.org (the “Site”);
(2) allow the Foundation and its co-Sponsors to promote your entry in connection with
the Festival in any manner, including the use of still images taken from your Film, your name and likeness, and the name and likeness of anyone appearing in or connected with your Film;
(3) allow the Foundation to add subtitles and/or captions to the Film, and to edit the Film
into short clips for social media and marketing purposes that may identify specific clips to be focused on the theme of loneliness, to promote the Festival.
(4) allow the Foundation to use the Film for mission-related educational talks and
programs for which the Foundation receives no or nominal funding. If the Film is selected for use in a program for which the Foundation receives greater than $1000 dollars, a licensing fee of $200 will be paid to the filmmaker. You acknowledge and agree that there is no guarantee that a Film will be used for any licensable purposes.

In addition to the rights granted above, you grant the Foundation the following additional rights related to the licensing of your Film:

You must select an option by placing a check mark in the box next to one of the options.
If you fail to select an option, the Foundation will automatically select the option for one (1) year for your Film, and you hereby formally grant the Foundation the specified rights for the one (1) year period, unless and until the Foundation receives a Change Notice of Option from you as specified below:

b. At your option for either three (3) years [ ] or one (1) year [ ] or not at all [ ] (please
check the box that applies) allow the Foundation to consider the Film for special programming that will feature the Film (and in some cases, if available, the filmmaker) prominently for an additional licensing payment to be determined based on specific circumstances of event and funding. You further acknowledge that if you have opted out by selecting the “not at all” option, nothing shall prevent the Foundation from using the Film as permitted in part (a) of this Section 2.

c. At your option for either three (3) years [ ] or one (1) year [ ] or not at all [ ] (please
check the box that applies) allow the Foundation to consider the Film for inclusion in an
educational curriculum that will be licensed to third parties, and if selected for such use, the filmmaker will receive a one-time licensing fee of $200 for each year your Film is included in such an educational curriculum. You further acknowledge that if you have opted out by selecting the “not at all” option, nothing shall prevent the Foundation from using the Film as permitted in part (a) of this Section 2.

If you selected an option above, or failed to select an option, and wish to change your selection, you may do so by providing written notice (the “Change Notice of Option”) through registered or certified mail to the Foundation or by email to curator@artandhealing.org. To be effective, you must send the Change Notice of Option no later than 12 months after the opening of the Festival, and prior to the Foundation entering into a licensing commitment for your Film. The Change Notice of Option must specifically state that you wish to change your selected option, or the status of failure to select an option, and identify which option you would like to change to. Upon receipt of the Change Notice of Option, the Foundation shall have sixty (60) days to comply.

THE FOUNDATION IS NOT OBLIGATED TO ACCEPT ANY CHANGE NOTICE OF OPTION IF THE FOUNDATION HAS ALREADY LICENSED OR SCHEDULED THE FILM FOR A FUTURE LICENSING PROGRAM, BUT THE FOUNDATION WILL OTHERWISE TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUESTED CHANGE NOTICE OF OPTION.

Under no circumstances shall the Foundation be liable for any infringement of your rights in any Film by virtue of any acts by any third parties undertaken via license from the Foundation as permitted herein.

Overall Rating
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  • 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
  • Tal Amiran

    I have been fortunate to have screened twice at UnLonely FF with my short docs Sand Men and Dafa Metti. It is a fantastic festival with excellent curation and communication.
    I would not hesitate recommending this great fest!

    June 2021