The Winning Entries from the 6th Annual Migraine Moment Short Film Contest
We are excited to share the powerful and inspiring winning films from the American Migraine Foundation (AMF) and American Headache Society (AHS) 6th Annual Migraine Moment Short Film Contest. Early in 2021, the contest was announced. We received many submissions, from which a panel of judges selected the four most outstanding entries. Judges included people living with migraine and other headache diseases, their family members, healthcare professionals, AHS and AMF board members, and other community leaders.
We interviewed the winning filmmakers to learn more about the inspiration behind the films and to ask them what they wanted to share with the world about migraine. You can read about the winning films and the filmmakers below:
1st Place Winner: Migraine–The Invisible Illness That Alters the Lives of Millions
Morgan Fitzgerald is a migraine patient advocate and a hopeful future migraine researcher. Morgan knows firsthand how migraine can be debilitating and how the impact is compounded when someone feels their concerns or symptoms aren’t taken seriously. Through spoken word, Morgan communicates what living with migraine is like, and what the challenges are, both on an individual and a systemic level. She also shares how scientific advances and advocacy are offering greater hope. She has an uplifting spirit that guides us, and she believes strongly in a positive future in which migraine is met with formidable treatments, management strategies, and advocacy head-on.
“Creating this film… it taught me and reinforced for me that more than anything, migraine patients just want to feel heard, they want to feel understood and listened to.”
— Morgan Fitzgerald, @lifewithmigraine
2nd Place Runner-Up: My Migraine Story
London Luis paints a stunning picture of migraine with aura in her film. Since age 12, London has used art to cope with the pain and debilitating symptoms of migraine. As a dedicated student of the visual arts, London learned to visually articulate how migraine has affected her life. She puts her experiences on full display in every one of her pieces. She speaks about the goals she has set forth with her art: to make people more empathetic about migraine, and to encourage people living with migraine to keep pursuing their passions.
“I think that now I even rely a little bit more on visual art as just an emotional, artistic outlet, even more than I ever did before I had migraine because it is so cathartic.”
— London S. Luis
3rd Place: Dear Migraines
Rather than attempt to avoid migraine, Brendan Born has instead accepted it into his life, choosing to learn and adapt. In his film, we see how he advocates for himself and encourages others by focusing on the “little wins” he made along the way. He also personifies his migraine as a teacher or mentor, rather than his enemy. Brendan hopes that through his film people learn to accept the reality of their migraine experience and acknowledge their own strengths and successes they have made through their process.
“Until you really take responsibility for your migraine, you’re not going to get better as well as you could. And I just think that’s an important message because that sort of helps you abandon that victim mentality, and then you can just really focus on what you need to do to get better.”
— Brendan Born
Honorable Mention: “…And the Cycle Repeats”–A Migraine Short Film
Willow Van Rootselaar, a third-generation person living with migraine, took a unique approach by personifying migraine as a mirror image of herself, naming her “Ms. Migraine.” In this film, Willow strives to highlight the different symptoms of migraine, particularly the frustrating feelings of the negative impact of migraine on her life, being unable to settle or feel comfortable through “Ms. Migraine’s” constant disruptions. With this film, Willow strives to help bring the community together, and to show that no one is alone.
“I was inspired by my own symptoms of migraine and how they can feel surreal when you’re experiencing them. Things seen in the video like the melting face and the disorientation are all the things that I associate with the disorder, so I wanted that to come across in my film.”
— Willow Van Rootselaar
Watch Willow’s video here!
These films portray the realities of life with migraine including the pain, frustration, and negative impact it can have on virtually all aspects of life. But at the same time, they are a call to advocacy, highlighting the importance of sharing hardships and triumphs, celebrating advancements, and most of all, never giving up hope.
We are proud to present these videos and encourage viewers to share these films with their community to support migraine awareness and advocacy.
Thank you for viewing.
Sincerely, Dawn C. Buse, PhD
Chairperson of the Migraine Moment Short Film Contest