The Lucky Specials is a feature-length film that tells the story of a fictional South African young man and his journey through Tuberculosis; a disease that killed 1.8 million people in 2015, yet is completely curable. The film presents and explores the issues of drug adherence and the risks of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis through a compelling narrative.

Caption: Trailer for The Lucky Specials

The Lucky Specials narrative highlights the realities of drug adherence and delivers knowledge about accessing prevention and treatment in a context that is familiar to its target audience and through characters that are likeable and relatable. There is great power in engaging audiences through a memorable and personal story such as this.

Engagement with Health through Film

Following premiers and television broadcasts across Africa and beyond the film will become freely available on the project website, along with a facilitator's guide. The guide will help those presenting the film to break down the information about the science of Tuberculosis and how it can be treated. Anyone can download the film and host an event to share the story and tuberculosis facts with friends, family, schools and communities. The website will also feature additional resource information about tuberculosis and links to websites for additional information about the disease. 

The Kenyan preview of the film took place as part of the 2017 Wellcome Trust International Engagement Workshop, with the film first previewed in South Africa in February 2017. Read one of the Wellcome Trust workshop participant's reflections on the film and the workshop more broadly here.

Similar Projects

In 2012, Discovery Learning Alliance (producers of The Lucky Specials) partnered with USAID, PEFPAR, Chevron, Access Bank, Quizzical Pictures and others to address the fight against HIV through a full-length, award-winning feature film, Inside Story. The film again used visual storytelling to engage audiences with the medical, cultural and social issues around HIV. At the time of writing, Inside Story is the most watched movie in Africa having been broadcast to more than 330 million people.       

Caption: Trailer for Inside Story.

The Team

The Lucky Specials was produced by Discovery Learning Alliance and Quizzical Pictures in association with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, with support from Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and USAID and PEPFAR through Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

The content on this page forms part of the online report for the 2017 International Engagement Workshop "It's Complicated: navigating scientific complexity in public and community engagement". To read more articles related to the theme of narrative and storytelling from the workshop visit the Narrative and Storytelling page. To read more about the full workshop and access the rest of the report including video presentations, discussion summaries, and tools, visit the workshop page.

Creative Commons License

This work, unless stated otherwise, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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