These incredible short films give voice to the migraine community and educate viewers about the various challenges of living with migraine. Learn more about the amazing work of this year’s contest winners.

The Migraine Moment Short Film Contest is an annual collaboration between the American Headache Society (AHS) and the American Migraine Foundation (AMF). Started in 2016, it was designed to inspire individuals to create short videos promoting migraine education, advocacy and awareness.

As always, this year’s contest was open to people of all experience levels. We received an incredibly varied range of submissions, featuring monologues, films showcasing a day in the life with migraine, educational documentary films and more. The panel of judges was led by Dr. Dawn Buse, Chair of the Migraine Moment Short Film Contest.

After careful consideration, the judges announced the winning videos based on the following scoring criteria: creativity, narrative/story/message, advocacy potential, technical craftsmanship/film quality and overall message.

First Place: What Is Migraine?

The grand prize was awarded to Erik Zorrilla for his film, “What Is Migraine?” Zorrilla uses a creative mix of text, animations and other visual elements to break down “the complex neurological disorder that we know as migraine.” In addition to delivering a lot of information in a way that’s easily digestible for all viewers, the film also clarifies some misconceptions about migraine.

“When most people hear the word migraine, they often think of migraine as a headache. Migraine is much more than a headache,” Erik says in the film. “It’s one of the most prevalent neurological disorders and a leading cause of disability in the world.”

As a PhD student studying migraine, Erik saw this contest as a chance to bring awareness to the disease through his research. In an interview with Dr. Buse, Erik shared that he was inspired by his desire to promote diversity in the migraine community and reach patients in minority groups, like himself.

“It’s not every day that a first-generation college student from Miami is able to share this message,” says Erik. “So thank you so much for giving me this platform.”

Second Place: Migraines: The Silent Attacker

The first runner-up is Melissa Miller’s short film, “Migraines: The Silent Attacker.” With simple visuals and dramatic instrumental music, the film gets straight to the heart of the migraine experience by capturing how difficult it can be for a person living with migraine to get through their day.

“Your head feels like it’s going to explode and nothing seems to help. You lay down for a little bit, but when you wake up your head hurts just as bad,” Melissa writes in her film. “Most of the time you feel like you don’t belong. If you are lucky enough to start out without a headache, you are always afraid of how bad it will be when it hits you.”

Third Place: Hemicrania

“Hemicrania” by Philip Woolridge was named as our second runner-up. Philip’s short film uses distorted visuals and a fragmented, throbbing soundtrack to visually and audibly capture what it’s like to experience a migraine attack.

“Hemicrania is the first in a trilogy that explores the complex symptoms of migraines,” Philip says. “Part one depicts the vicious cycle of a migraine attack and is an expression of pain and anger.”

“Each video impacted me—and increased my awareness and understanding of migraine—in a different way. Individualized artistic expression around migraine is the heart of this project,” said Amy Wickstrom, the Executive Director of the American Migraine Foundation. “We are so grateful for the tremendous leadership of Dr. Buse and every member of the committee. We cannot wait to experience next year’s submissions!”

The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.