We all use art to work out any demons that linger on in the mind, and loneliness is one of the most relatable demons of all. In a study released by the Foundation for Art & Healing, emerging research indicates that over one-third of American adults are significantly lonely. I'm willing to bet that it's probably even more than that.

What's more, the same research concluded that in addition to depression, substance abuse, and suicide, isolation and loneliness are associated with a 30% increased risk of early death, mostly from heart disease and cancer, on par with smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If you're a crew member who happens to work on a smoking set daily and you're already inhaling a pack a day, then, well, shit...

To put these bad feelings to good use, The Foundation for Art & Healing have created the Unlonely Film Festival, an online exploration of loneliness and isolation, drawing on the time-tested power of creative arts to powerfully share the stories that “connect us." As part of the experience, viewers will be able to do much more than just watch films. The site will offer a variety of exercises, insight-generating ideas and creative activities that will promote “connection” to oneself and others.

Of course, your narrative or documentary short film's core theme should be loneliness. Specifically, they say they're looking for films about college kids, older adults, health challenges, art and healing, immigrants, LGBTQ, social and political divisions, caregivers, minorities, and military vets.

Of the accepted films, the final winners are chosen by Mike Paseornek, head of production at Lionsgate. The winners are then invited to an event held at the Alvin Ailey Theater in New York in May 2019 to meet Mike and celebrate the films. Any film selected will be online in May 2019 for two years on the Unlonely Festival website. Films can already be online and there's no restriction on when they were made.

If you plan on submitting, you can use this discount code for filmmakers on FilmFreewayUFF1912NG.