Festival History

The Family of Woman Film Festival was founded in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2008, by Friends of UNFPA Board Member, Peggy Elliott Goldwyn, to bring attention to the work of the United Nations Population Fund, which works in more than 150 countries to assure women and girls have access to reproductive health care, education and basic human rights. Stephanie Freid-Perenchio became Co-Director of the Festival in 2012.

Five feature documentaries and dramas from around the world are presented each year, personalizing the status of women in different societies. The Festival has collaborated with many community organizations, such as Wood River High School, Community School, Hemingway School, The Advocates, I Have a Dream Foundation-Idaho, and The Community Library. Films premiered at the Festival have also been screened at a satellite Family of Woman Festival in Wilmette, Illinois, as well as at individual film screenings in Minneapolis and Seattle.

In 2014, the annual keynote address was named the Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women, in honor of a local philanthropist deeply committed to working on behalf of women and children around the world. In the same year, a new feature was added, Filmmaker Retrospective, honoring a previous filmmaker participant for their work, and a collaboration with Boise State University was initiated, bringing a Festival film and speaker to the campus.

In 2015, The Family of Woman Film Festival launched a new partnership with Women Deliver, a leading global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights and wellbeing. POV Breakfasts, two intimate discussions with international speakers, were added to the Festival events, open to donors of $500 and above. Boise State University became a major Festival sponsor, with films and speakers at the University in conjunction with the main Festival in Sun Valley.

2016

The theme of the Festival was “Women Thinking Globally and Acting Locally”

The Sound of Torture, documentary from Israel and the Sinai desert, with Meron Estefanos, the subject of the film

The Hunting Ground, documentary from the United States, with Amy Herdy, Investigative producer of the film

Dreamcatcher, documentary from the United States, with Brenda Myers-Powell, Stephanie Daniels and Temeka Funches, subjects of the film

India’s Daughter, documentary from India, with Leslee Udwin, filmmaker

Speed Sisters, documentary from Palestine, with Amber Fares, filmmaker, and Maysoon Jamal, subject of the film

Christy Turlington Burns, Festival Retrospective Filmmaker, presented No Woman, No Cry, first shown as a special Festival event in 2011.

In her role as Founder of Every Mother Counts, Christy Turlington Burns also delivered the Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women.

Pulitzer Prize winning international photojournalist, Stephanie Sinclair was the POV Breakfast speaker.

Due to illness, the second POV Breakfast speaker, Sarah Costa, Executive Director of the Women’s Refugee Commission was rescheduled for 2017.

Boise State University presented The Sound of Torture, with film subject Meron Estefanos; The Hunting Ground, with film subject Sofie Karasek; and India’s Daughter, with filmmaker Leslee Udwin.

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2015

The theme of the Festival was “Women and their Dreams”

The Supreme Price, documentary from Nigeria, with filmmaker Joanna Lipper, and Hafsat Abiola, subject of the film

Sepideh, documentary from Iran, with filmmaker Mona Rafatzedeh, and former astronaut, Barbara Morgan

Kicking Machismo, documentary short from Brazil, and Fists of Fury, documentary short from India, with filmmaker Reed Lindsay and international journalist Jihan Hafiz

Light Fly, Fly High, documentary from India, followed by discussion with Reed Lindsay, Jihan Hafiz, and Jordan Hawkes

#chicagogirl, documentary from Syria, with filmmaker Joe Piscatella, and Alaa Basatenah, subject of the film

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, documentary from Pakistan, with filmmaker Mohammed Naqvi

Mohammed Naqvi was also honored as the Festival Retrospective Filmmaker, re-showing Shame, which was first presented at the 2008 Festival.

Jill Sheffield, President and Founder of Women Deliver, was the Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women speaker.

Two POV Breakfasts were inaugurated featuring Elizabeth Scharpf, Founder of Sustainable Health Enterprises, a social enterprise addressing girls’ and women’s lack of access to affordable menstrual pads in Africa, Asia and South America, and Jennah Scott, Director of the Liberia Philanthropy Secretariat in the Office of the President of Liberia.

Boise State University presented The Supreme Price, with filmmaker Joanna Lipper, and Hafsat Abiola, the subject of the film, as well as Sepideh, with filmmaker Mona Rafatzedeh and former astronaut, Barbara Morgan. Elizabeth Scharpf also spoke at BSU at a separate event.

Idaho State University presented Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, with filmmaker Mohammed Naqvi.

At a satellite festival in Wilmette, Illinois, three films were shown: India’s Daughter, with filmmaker Leslee Udwin, #chicagogirl, with the film’s subject, Alaa Basatneh, and The Supreme Price.

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2014

The theme of the Festival was “Women and Education”

Anita, documentary from the United States with filmmaker Freida Mock

Bay of All Saints, documentary from Brazil, with filmmaker Annie Eastman

Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, drama from Afghanistan

Rafea, Solar Mama, documentary from Jordan and India, with Senior Advisor of The Barefoot College, Meagan Carnahan Fallone

Tall as the Baobab Tree, drama from Senegal, with filmmaker Jeremy Teicher

This is Us, bonus free screening of short documentary with filmmaker Jeremy Teicher and co-producer Alexi Pappas

The Festival was introduced by former astronaut and Distinguished Educator in Residence at Boise State University, Barbara Morgan.

Meagan Carnahan Fallone, Senior Advisor of the Barefoot College, presented the inaugural Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women.

A new feature, Filmmaker Retrospective, was inaugurated with Allison Shigo presenting her Emmy Award-winning film, A Walk to Beautiful.

Anxaira Rojas, a nurse-midwife from the Philippines and recipient of the Friends of UNFPA International Award, spoke on her work in typhoon crisis relief.

As part of a new collaboration with Boise State University, Rafea, Solar Mama was presented on campus with Meagan Carnahan Fallone. Anxaira Rojas made a separate presentation.

A satellite festival was held in Wilmette, Illinois, presenting Anita, A Walk to Beautiful with Allison Shigo, and Salaam Dunk, with the film’s subject, Ryan Bubalo.

“Anita”, documentary from the United States with filmmaker Freida Mock

2013

The theme of the Festival was “Women and War”

The Invisible War, Oscar nominated documentary with filmmaker Amy Ziering and Trina MacDonald, subject of the film

Weapon of War, documentary from Democratic Republic of Congo

The World Before Her, documentary from India with filmmaker Nisha Pahuja

Words of Witness, documentary from Egypt

War Witch, Oscar nominated drama from Canada/Democratic Republic of Congo

The principal speaker was Kate Gilmore, Deputy-Executive Director of UNFPA, who presented a lecture on Women and War.

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2012

The theme of the Festival was “Women and the Arab Spring”

Cairo 6.7.8, drama from Egypt

Box With Her, documentary from Tunisia

Salaam Dunk, documentary from Iraq

The Price of Sex, documentary from Bulgaria

Saving Face, Academy Award-winning documentary from Pakistan with filmmaker Daniel Junge and Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr. Mohammad Jawad, subject of the film.

The principal speaker was Sherin Saadallah, UNFPA Regional Advisor for Arab States, who explained women’s roles in the Arab Spring movement and answered questions following screenings.

In addition, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended the Festival and made remarks before the films.

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2011

The theme of the Festival was “Women and the Environment”

Voices Unveiled: Turkish Women Who Dare, documentary from Turkey with filmmaker Jill Lutz

Pink Saris, documentary from India

Divorce, Iranian Style, documentary from Iran

Climate Refugees, documentary with filmmakers Justin Hogan and David Nash

Sisters on the Planet, documentary short subject

Sun Come Up, Academy Award-winning short documentary

The principal speaker was Robert Engelman, Vice President for Programs for the Worldwatch Institute.

In January of 2011, No Woman, No Cry, a documentary by Christy Turlington was screened as a free public presentation at The Sun Valley Opera House. Dr. Thomas Burke, Harvard Medical School Professor and advisor to the governments of Liberia, Zambia and South Sudan, discussed maternal mortality with Arlene Samen, nurse practitioner and Founder of One Heart-World-Wide.

2010

Bliss, drama from Turkey

The Maid, award-winning drama from Chile

Lemon Tree, drama from Israel

Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter, documentary from Mali with filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater

Sari Soldiers, documentary from Nepal with filmmaker Julie Bridgham

The principal public speaker was Dr. Hailegiorgis Aytenfisu, Chief Surgeon of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation sponsored his appearance and he also presented to hospital staff.

In addition, three short films from the BBC series Women on the Frontline about gender-based violence screened at Community School. Co-sponsors, The Advocates and the Wood River Religious Leaders Alliance, conducted a panel discussion afterward.

2009

Lumo, from The Democratic Republic of Congo with filmmaker Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt

A Walk to Beautiful, Emmy-winning film from Ethiopia with filmmaker Allison Shigo

Pray the Devil Back to Hell from Liberia

My Home, Your War from Iraq

Pamela Delargy, Chief of UNFPA’s Humanitarian Response Unit, was the principal public speaker.

2008

Water, Academy Award-winning drama from India

Moolaade, drama from Senegal by Africa’s most distinguished filmmaker, Ousmane Sembene

Motherland, Afghanistan, documentary with filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi

Shame, documentary from Pakistan with filmmaker Mohammed Naqvi

Dr. Amreen Hussain, a surgeon repairing debilitating injuries resulting from unattended childbirth in Eritrea, spoke to the general public at The Community Library.