Title

Resources

T1D Documentaries: Lights, Camera, Insulin!

Documentaries have made their mark in society, and it’s no surprise. Often acting as the “untold truth” to our reality, they tell unique, riveting stories about humanity, providing entertainment and education simultaneously. With multiple type 1 diabetes docudramas to explore, we've narrowed your must-watch list to include these five best T1D films.

T1D Documentaries: Lights, Camera, Insulin!

Though documentaries often concentrate on common subjects, such as true crime and nature, lesser-known content can be just as stimulating and informative. Here's a deep dive into the world of type 1 diabetes (T1D), which is becoming a seemingly heightened topic of interest due to the diabetes epidemic becoming a global health concern.

5 Best Type 1 Diabetes Documentaries

With the great misunderstanding surrounding type 1 diabetes, especially regarding its differences from type 2 diabetes (T2D), the diagnosis process, and the lifestyle of a T1D, it’s no wonder a few inspired individuals saw this knowledge gap as the perfect space for a documentary. From big-time coverage to YouTube videos, there are several ways in which the truth behind T1D has been brought to light through documentaries. 

The Human Trial

Possibly the most well-known documentary to illuminate the type 1 diabetes epidemic, The Human Trial commands a cure to be found while commending the trial researchers’ painstakingly hard work. Directed by Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman, the documentary made waves with its raw truth-telling regarding what searching for a cure looks like.

Hepner is not only an advocate for finding a cure but also a woman battling type 1 diabetes. In The Human Trial, she emphasizes the need for a cure by highlighting a clinical trial that details the magnitude of the many adversities those with type 1 diabetes have to face every day that no cure exists. The San Diego biotech company ViaCyte conducted this sixth-ever embryonic stem cell trial.

This profound documentary gives people with type 1 diabetes a voice, as well as their caretakers. In addition to Hepner's struggles, Executive Producer Marla Oringer is a personal advocate and mother to two children with T1D.

The Human Trial is available to stream on many major platforms, such as Apple TV, Google Play, and Prime Video.

Pay Or Die

Those with type 1 diabetes are no strangers to the high cost of living that comes with bearing the disease or even its deadly consequences. Pay Or Die is an emotional film co-directed by Rachel Dyer and Scott Alexander Ruderman, who has LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults).

“Most of my adult life has been defined by one inescapable question: How can I make enough money as a filmmaker to afford the insulin I need to stay alive?” – Scott Alexander Ruderman.

The film hones in on the financial and emotional hardships caused by T1D. It shares the story of a young man, Alec Holt, who tragically passed away due to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a life-threatening complication that arises when the body has a severe shortage of insulin.

Holt was forced to ration insulin due to an inability to afford the lifesaving medicine. Ruderman and Dyer rival the acceptance of the societal norm of high insulin prices by showing how pharmaceutical greed causes real-world hardships and inexcusable pain.

This documentary provides a space for Holt’s mother, Nicole Smith-Holt, and her husband to share their story and advocate for much-needed change. The docudrama was featured at various film festivals, notably the 2023 SXSW Film Festival, where it was initially premiered, and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Today, this documentary can be easily accessed to watch on Paramount +.

Type 1 Diabetes - A Just Like You Film –by Breakthrough T1D (formerly JDRF)

More of a short but mighty YouTube video than a full-blown documentary, Type 1 Diabetes—A Just Like You Film—by Breakthrough T1D tugs at your heartstrings by showing viewers just how caring and crucial a friend can be.

The video shares stories from a series of T1D best friends who explain, answer, and address common misconceptions and questions often posed to the diabetes online community (DOC). The featured shorts’ goal is to break down the barrier between those with type 1 diabetes and others curious about the disease.

Grace, diagnosed at age five featured in Type 1 Diabetes, A Just Like You Film

Available for free on YouTube, this quick 30-minute video allows young viewers to gain a wealth of knowledge about T1D from those who know it best.

Life for a Child

This documentary, produced by Lilly Diabetes, features three T1D children in Nepal, South Asia. Angi, Ashok, and Anupa, as well as their strong parents, are asked to share their stories and what it means to have type 1 diabetes in a developing country. As many viewers may already be familiar with the trials of T1D, Life For a Child pulls back the curtain on insulin prices and poverty.

Supported by the International Diabetes Foundation Life for a Child Programme, this documentary shows what foundations are fighting for. Lilly Diabetes is one of several reinforcements of the Life for a Child Programme.

This telling tale is available on Hulu.

Safely in the Rainbow

Rounding out this moving T1D advocacy-fueled list is the new documentary Safely in the Rainbow, a vulnerable story that follows a young boy named Pâris throughout his childhood and beyond. The footage used for this documentary spans several years, and it provides an inside glimpse into just how harrowing coming to terms with a lifelong disease can be, along with its impact on loved ones.

The film aims to answer questions others may have about T1D and acts as a space for Pâris to demonstrate his diabetes management methods throughout the years. The film touches on blood sugar levels, glycemic control, and the dangers when blood sugar doesn’t cooperate.

Also, the film’s producer, Wendy Mangeant, is the mother of Pâris. She began creating this film using valuable home videos originally sent to the family. Though set in Europe, this film can be viewed online.

Interesting Fact: Type 2 diabetes also has several shorts, including 3 Teaspoons of Sugar, an animated T2D film featured on World Diabetes Day and throughout November. This documentary is based on the real lives of three family members who struggle with T2D and its complications.

Self-Expression Through Art

No matter whether the child, adult, family, or friend is affected by type 1 diabetes— these feelings, emotions, and experiences need to be shared. Documentaries allow us to glimpse into the lives of those around us and reveal hidden truths.

Though many docudramas thrive off their ability to surprise and shock viewers with incredible imagery and storytelling, there is great value in learning and relating to these heartfelt films. Whether it's a new documentary or an oldie, every advocacy effort toward T1D cure research or beyond is worth watching.

Latest News

Read all
T1D Strong NewsAchieving the Milestone - 100 Articles Published!

We're just getting started! Committed to empowering the T1D community, we continue to share knowledge and stories.

T1D Team

T1D Team

T1D Strong NewsIntroducing Kelsey McShay: A New Voice at T1DStrong!

Kelsey McShay joins T1DStrong, sharing her stories and insights.

T1D Team

T1D Team

T1D Strong NewsCelebrating a Milestone: 1000+ Followers on Our Social Media Platforms!

We've surpassed 1000 followers on social media, a significant milestone in growing our Type 1 Diabetes community!

T1D Team

T1D Team

Read all

Related Articles

The latest news, technologies, and resources from our team.

PCOS and Type 1 Diabetes: What’s the Link? 
ResourcesPCOS and Type 1 Diabetes: What’s the Link? 
Double Diabetes: Can You Get Type 1 and Type 2?
ResourcesDouble Diabetes: Can You Get Type 1 and Type 2?
Understanding Diabulimia: A Type 1 Diabetes Eating Disorder
ResourcesUnderstanding Diabulimia: A Type 1 Diabetes Eating Disorder
JDRF is Now Breakthrough T1D™
ResourcesJDRF is Now Breakthrough T1D™
Breakthrough T1D (Formerly JDRF) Offers Resources to Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesBreakthrough T1D (Formerly JDRF) Offers Resources to Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
LADA Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know about Type 1.5
ResourcesLADA Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know about Type 1.5
Diabetes and Your Weight: Helpful Tips to Manage the Risks
ResourcesDiabetes and Your Weight: Helpful Tips to Manage the Risks
9 Tips for Better Time in Range
Resources9 Tips for Better Time in Range
Type 1 Diabetes and Family History
ResourcesType 1 Diabetes and Family History
Different Types of Diabetes
ResourcesDifferent Types of Diabetes
Low Blood Sugar Anxiety
ResourcesLow Blood Sugar Anxiety
7 Summer Safety Tips with Type 1 Diabetes
Resources7 Summer Safety Tips with Type 1 Diabetes
Best Diabetes Apps of 2024
ResourcesBest Diabetes Apps of 2024
Gluroo: A User-Friendly App that Streamlines Diabetes Management
ResourcesGluroo: A User-Friendly App that Streamlines Diabetes Management
Top Questions to Ask Your Endocrinologist
ResourcesTop Questions to Ask Your Endocrinologist
The 2024 Insulin Shortage and What You Need to Know
ResourcesThe 2024 Insulin Shortage and What You Need to Know
Camping with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesCamping with Type 1 Diabetes
The Down Low on DKA
ResourcesThe Down Low on DKA
The Special Diabetes Program and Why it’s Important
ResourcesThe Special Diabetes Program and Why it’s Important
What to Do With Extra Diabetes Supplies 
ResourcesWhat to Do With Extra Diabetes Supplies 
GLP-1s for Weight Loss and People with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesGLP-1s for Weight Loss and People with Type 1 Diabetes
Pumping Iron and Pumping Insulin: How the Two Go Hand in Hand
ResourcesPumping Iron and Pumping Insulin: How the Two Go Hand in Hand
Diabetes and Nutrition: Why What You Eat Matters
ResourcesDiabetes and Nutrition: Why What You Eat Matters
Inhaled Insulin – Everything You Need to Know
ResourcesInhaled Insulin – Everything You Need to Know
Top 12 Type 1 Research Breakthroughs to Watch in 2024
ResourcesTop 12 Type 1 Research Breakthroughs to Watch in 2024
Most Popular Films with a Diabetes Twist
ResourcesMost Popular Films with a Diabetes Twist
 9 Ways to Raise Blood Sugar Quickly
Resources 9 Ways to Raise Blood Sugar Quickly
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Seeks Solutions to Cure T1D
ResourcesVertex Pharmaceuticals Seeks Solutions to Cure T1D
Keep it Simple This Year with No Resolutions—Just Healthy Habits
ResourcesKeep it Simple This Year with No Resolutions—Just Healthy Habits
DiabetesSangha – A Meditation Community Where All is Welcome
ResourcesDiabetesSangha – A Meditation Community Where All is Welcome
The T1D Thyroid Disease Connection
ResourcesThe T1D Thyroid Disease Connection
8 Tips to Help You Sleep with Diabetes
Resources8 Tips to Help You Sleep with Diabetes
Tandem Diabetes Care Revolutionizes Insulin Delivery with Dexcom G7 Integration
ResourcesTandem Diabetes Care Revolutionizes Insulin Delivery with Dexcom G7 Integration
Top 7 Diabetes Podcasts to Educate, Empower and Entertain
ResourcesTop 7 Diabetes Podcasts to Educate, Empower and Entertain
Diabetes and Addiction
ResourcesDiabetes and Addiction
Connected in Motion: A Diabetes Camp for Adults
ResourcesConnected in Motion: A Diabetes Camp for Adults
StartUp Health’s T1D Moonshot Ignites a Call to Action 
ResourcesStartUp Health’s T1D Moonshot Ignites a Call to Action 
Empowering Lives: Nonprofits Making a Difference in the Type 1 Diabetes Community
ResourcesEmpowering Lives: Nonprofits Making a Difference in the Type 1 Diabetes Community
Navigating the Sweet Spooks: A Guide to a Safe Halloween with Diabetes
ResourcesNavigating the Sweet Spooks: A Guide to a Safe Halloween with Diabetes
Enhance-d: A Software Solution to Simplify Glucose Management
ResourcesEnhance-d: A Software Solution to Simplify Glucose Management
Amazon Pharmacy Now Offers Insulin for $35 a Month
ResourcesAmazon Pharmacy Now Offers Insulin for $35 a Month
Diabetes and School - Know Your Rights
ResourcesDiabetes and School - Know Your Rights
Diabetes Support Groups for Young Adults
ResourcesDiabetes Support Groups for Young Adults
Dry Eye Syndrome and Diabetes
ResourcesDry Eye Syndrome and Diabetes
Undermyfork, a Mobile App Success in Diabetes Management
ResourcesUndermyfork, a Mobile App Success in Diabetes Management
Preparing for Emergencies with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesPreparing for Emergencies with Type 1 Diabetes
Finding the Right Automated Insulin Delivery System for You
ResourcesFinding the Right Automated Insulin Delivery System for You
Enable Biosciences – Transforming Early T1D Detection
ResourcesEnable Biosciences – Transforming Early T1D Detection
Load More

Knowledge Base

Resources

Knowledge hub for advanced information on Type 1 Diabetes.

Learn more

I May Have T1D Rather Than T2D?

Understanding common queries and exclusive information about diabetes of any type.

Learn more

Life with T1D

Strategies to enhance lifestyle optimization with Type 1 Diabetes.

Learn more

Personal Stories

Life stories of relentless individuals fostering resilience and empowering others.

Learn more

Newly Diagnosed

Insightful guidance, strategic tips, and inspiring narratives.

Learn more

T1D Basics

Fundamental lifestyle suggestions for optimal nutrition, emotions and innovative routines.

Learn more

Daily Management

Revamp your lifestyle with our transformative guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes management.

Learn more

T1D Strong News

Stay updated with the latest from T1D Strong: product updates, company events, notable achievements and our future plans.

Learn more