Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Family of Woman Film Festival educates on global issues

Documentaries explore human rights, health and climate change

Express Staff Writer

Women around the world are doing extraordinary things to break barriers, change ideologies and save cultures. The fourth annual Family of Woman Film Festival will screen several films that reveal women's power to create change.

The festival will begin with a free talk at The Community Library in Ketchum with Robert Engelman titled "Helping Women Help the Planet" 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.

The opening night of the festival will take place at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18, with the film "Voices Unveiled: Turkish Women Who Dare," a documentary that explores the clash between East and West through the lives of three modern Turkish Muslim women: an activist, an artist and a dancer. The film's producer, Jill Lutz, will be present for a question-and-answer period following the film.

Lutz said she met the film's director, Binnuer Karaevli, who lives in Turkey, in Los Angeles.

"I always wanted to work on a documentary film," she said. "We started working together and as time went on, I got closer to the characters in the story—the women of Turkey."

Lutz said Turkey is a fascinating and diverse country, but many people group it as a Middle East country because of its culture and tradition.

"People know less than they think they do," she said. "The film is about women in Turkey, which is a secular country 90 percent Muslim, and it's unique because it bridges East and West."

The film is mostly in English with some subtitles.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, the festival will screen two films, "Sun Come Up" and "Sisters on the Planet," 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.


"Sun Come Up" is an Academy Award-nominated best documentary short subject directed by Jennifer Redfearn. It follows the relocation of some of the world's first environmental refugees, the Carteret Islanders, a community living on a remote island chain in the South Pacific threatened by rising seas.

"It's a compelling story to tell," Redfearn said. "It's an incredible process to go out and search for new homeland."

The 38-minute film is presenting in cinema veritae, which means it has no narrator. It is Redfearn's mission to let people know that climate change is happening right now and people are losing their homeland.

"What happens to their culture and rights?" Redfearn asked. "It's very human. There are women leaders who are on the forefront of this movement and their organizations are working with women leaders and communities."

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Planned Parenthood of the Northwest, a festival sponsor, will give a reception at the Cornerstone Bar & Grill in Ketchum. The event is open to the public.

"Climate Refugees," an award-winning documentary about women and the environment by Michael Nash and Justin Hogan, will screen at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The film reveals how there is a new type of refugee attempting to escape famine, drought and other natural calamities. The filmmakers will attend and join a panel of environmental experts afterward for a question-and-answer period.

On Sunday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. the festival will screen the feature-length documentary "Divorce, Iranian Style," which explores the difficulties women face in Sharia courts in Tehran. At 7 p.m. on Sunday, the festival will screen "Pink Saris," a film that deals with the difficulties faced by women from lower castes in arranged marriages in India.

For more details, visit

Festival schedule

What: Family of Woman Film Festival.

Where: NexStage Theatre, Ketchum.

When: Feb. 18-20.

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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