International Film Festival to Round Off Events Marking 150th Anniversary of Discovery of Leprosy Bacillus

The world’s first international film festival on the theme of leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, takes place in Bergen, Norway, from October 24 to 26.

The Armauer Hansen International Film Festival is the final event in a year-long commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Dr. Hansen’s discovery of M.leprae, the bacillus that causes leprosy, in Bergen, Norway.

The festival is co-hosted by the Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative and the Bergen International Film Festival (BIFF).

Presenting documentaries and feature films about the history of leprosy, stigma and discrimination, and the fight against the disease, the festival will explore different cultures and perspectives by showcasing content from Egypt, China, Japan, Brazil and elsewhere.

It will also include screenings at local schools to empower the next generation with knowledge and empathy, dispel misconceptions about leprosy and address the stigma that still exists.

Earlier this year, the Initiative co-organized a commemorative event in Bergen on February 28—the day Dr. Hansen made his discovery in 1873—and followed up in June with an international conference on Hansen’s disease and a webcast, all in partnership with the University of Bergen and the City of Bergen.

Dates: October 24 – 26, 2023

Venue: Bergen Kino, Konsertpaleet

Organizers: Bergen International Film Festival and Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative

Festival Program

October 23 (Monday)  (Pre-event)
  • Special screening and tour of the Leprosy Museum: Children Of Leprosy + The Village
October 24 (Tuesday)
  • School screening of The Last Mile
  • Opening of the festival with a screening of The Last Mile and a reception 
  • Film screenings of Sweet Bean (An) and Yomeddine
October 25 (Wednesday)
  • School screening of The Last Mile
  • Film screenings of Sweet Bean (An) and The Motorcycle Diaries
October 26 (Thursday)
  • School screening of The Last Mile
  • Film screenings of Sweet Bean (An), Yomeddine and The Motorcycle Diaries

For more details including screening times and ticket sales from October 5, please go to the BIFF website.

School screening of The Last Mile

Coupled with the provision of pre-learning materials, there will be a free screening for high school students of The Last Mile , a documentary which captures the long journey towards the elimination of leprosy and discrimination suffered by those affected by the disease. The WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, whose work this documentary follows, will be present for the screening scheduled on Tuesday 24 October at 13:00. There will also be screenings with guests Wednesday 25 October at 12:00 and Thursday 26 October at 09:00. Sign up by sending an e-mail to

Introducing a few of the films being screened
The Last Mile A documentary that follows the work of WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination on the long journey to eliminate leprosy and discrimination against persons affected by the disease.
Sweet Bean (An)  When the owner of a run-down dorayaki (sweet-bean pancake) shop hires an elderly woman to work for him, she opens his heart to the important things in life.
Yomeddine A road movie about a person cured of leprosy and an orphan who travel across Egypt together in search of family and a place to belong.