Armauer Hansen International Film Festival concludes, bringing to close events marking 150th anniversary of discovery of leprosy bacillus

The Armauer Hansen International Film Festival, the final event in a year-long commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Armauer Hansen’s discovery of the leprosy bacillus, successfully concluded last week. The festival, which was co-hosted by the Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative and the Bergen International Film Festival in collaboration with the University of Bergen and the Leprosy Museum, was the world’s first leprosy-themed film festival.

Taking place from October 24 to 26, the festival presented four feature films and two short films that offered insights into the history of leprosy, stigma and discrimination, and the fight against the disease. It included screenings at Bergen’s Leprosy Museum and a dedicated school program.


Opening remarks by Mr. Alexander Petersen of the Bergen International Film Festival at a curtain-raiser held at the city’s Leprosy Museum, located in a former hospital for leprosy patients.
A screen was set up in the former hospital chapel. Ms. Grete Eilertsen from the museum explained to the packed audience about leprosy and the two short documentaries that would be shown.
After the documentaries were screened, participants were taken on a night tour of the  museum.
The museum at night has a special atmosphere.
Some of the exhibits on display.

School screening

With students from the Amalie Skram High School in Bergen who participated in the school screening of the film The Last Mile.
Mr. Alexander Petersen and Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, answer questions from students.
After the film, the Goodwill Ambassador interacted with students studying the Japanese language.

Reception and the first day of the festival

Bergen Kino, the film festival venue.
Remarks by Mr. Yohei Sasakawa at the opening reception.
Greetings from Professor Gottfried Greve, Vice Rector of the University of Bergen.
BIFF’s Mr. Alexander Petersen and Sasakawa Health Foundation’s Dr. Takahiro Nanri welcome festival-goers on the first day.
Bergen, city of film festivals.