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National film competition urges public to talk to loved ones about their organ donation wishes

NHS Blood and Transplant has launched a short-film competition urging people to pass on their organ donation wishes to family and friends.

The competition, ‘Organ donation through A Lens’ will focus on the importance of having ‘The Donation Conversation’ and will culminate in the launch of National Transplant Week which runs 8 to 14 July. The winning film will encourage more people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and more crucially highlight the importance of talking to family and friends about your wishes.

Over 90% of families will agree to donation if a loved one is registered and has discussed their wishes. This drops to around 40% if donation wishes aren't known.

The competition follows the success of a similar competition held for the first time last year. Jemma North, producer and director of ITV Tonight, and one of the judges for this year’s film competition comments: “I’m absolutely delighted to be supporting this year’s National Transplant Week film competition. I know first-hand what a huge impact such films can make, having recently produced and directed a one hour documentary for ITV on the importance of organ donation.

“Not only do these films do a fantastic job of encouraging people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, they also showcase the amazing dedication of the medical teams involved, as well as the bravery of the donor families and the life-changing experiences of the recipients.

“Organ donation is such an important cause and one that can’t be publicised enough in my opinion, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what creative films this year’s entrants come up with!”

Fellow judge Cat Lewis, Executive Producer on the Bafta winning programme Me, My Dad & His Kidney, said: “Film and television can do much to raise awareness of the huge benefits of organ donation and this competition is a great way to encourage young creatives to think about this important subject.”

The competition is open to all film makers from 25 March to 17th May. The winning films will be announced at the start of this year’s National Transplant Week in July. The makers will also receive £1,000 worth of camera equipment.

Last year’s winner, Paul Dallison from Liverpool, said: “I couldn’t believe it when my name was read out as the winner. I didn’t know much about organ donation before making my film but through my research and the inspiring people I interviewed, I’ve now become a real champion. This competition really gets people thinking about the importance of signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and passing on the message to their family and friends.”

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, added: “After the success of last year’s competition, we are really looking forward to seeing more powerful, moving films. This year, the focus is on telling loved ones about your donation wishes.

"We want these films to help everyone, individuals and families, to be proud to say yes to organ donation, when asked. We want everyone to be proud of our donation record in the UK. The first step is having a conversation with your loved ones about your wishes."

For more information and to enter NHS Blood and Transplant’s ‘Organ donation through A Lens’ competition, simply email or call 0207 025 6611 and you will be sent a briefing pack containing further information and guidance.

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