Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Family of Woman film fest brings the world to Ketchum

Filmmakers and films help women around the globe

Express Staff Writer

“Pink Saris,” a documentary film from India, presents a look into the world of lower-caste women in arranged marriages. Photo by

Inspired by her work as a board member of the United Nations Population Fund, Sun Valley resident Peggy Goldwyn founded the Family of Woman Film Festival four years ago. The festival was spawned from a photo exhibition, "The Family of Woman," which Goldwyn said was a good depiction of how the work of the United Nations Population Fund benefits women all over the world.

"I was so taken with the title that I felt it appropriate to use for a festival of moving images illustrating the need for the work of UNFPA," Goldwyn said. "We serve as the connection between UNFPA and the American people. Not many people know that the United Nations has an agency dedicated to the health and well-being of women.

"Our goal is to make UNFPA as well known and respected as UNICEF. Since the United Nations neither lobbies nor solicits funds from other than nations, we serve as fundraisers with the American public and also try to educate legislators as to the importance of elevating the status of women worldwide."

In the first year of the festival, Goldwyn had young filmmakers show documentaries from Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as dramas from filmmakers from India and Senegal.

"The most gratifying response was when someone said 'I had no idea,'" Goldwyn said. "Now that we are in our fourth year, it seems like everyone in the valley knows the work of UNFPA. Since so many people have homes elsewhere, they are attending Americans for UNFPA events in Seattle, San Francisco, Washington and New York and introducing their friends to UNFPA as well."

Goldwyn also works with students at the Community School, Wood River High School and Hemingway Elementary School every year for the festival. In addition, she has worked with local clergy leaders and the Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, based in Hailey.

"Every year, The Community Library has been extremely supportive and sponsored our keynote speaker," she said. "My dream is to have a reunion of all the wonderful filmmakers who have come in the past and hear their current projects. I would also like to be able to have rescreenings of all the films we have shown. They are all available at The Community Library."

Goldwyn said the goal of the festival is to generate greater awareness of the work of the United Nations Population Fund and the importance of helping women and girls have a better life around the globe. This year the festival will feature Robert Engelman of the Worldwatch Institute to speak on that subject on Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Community Library in Ketchum at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, at 3 p.m., Wood River Valley native Aimee Christensen of Christensen Global Strategies will discuss "Sisters on the Planet," a short film on how individual women have made an environmental difference around the world. In addition, the festival will screen an Academy Award-nominated best documentary short subject, "Sun Come Up."

Also screening are "Voices Unveiled: Turkish Women Who Dare" on Friday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m., "Climate Refugees" by Michael Nash and Justin Hogan, who will be present, on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., "Divorce, Iranian Style" on Sunday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. and "Pink Saris" on Sunday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. For details, visit or call 622-1554.

Film festival information

What: Family of Woman Film Festival

Where: nexStage Theatre, Ketchum

When: Feb. 18-20

A free talk at The Community Library with Robert Engelman will take place on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. Engleman is a specialist in issues of population, reproductive health, global public health, climate change and food security at the Worldwatch Institute.

Cost: Tickets, $15 per film or $60 for all films, are available at the nexStage Theatre, Chapter One Bookstore and Iconoclast Books in Ketchum.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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