Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA and Under Secretary General of the United Nations, summarizes UNFPA’s current work in Ukraine as well as Afghanistan

(5 minutes)

2022 Film Schedule:

The Babushkas of Chernobyl

(Documentary, Ukraine) Running time 72 minutes

The Babushkas of Chernobyl

Thirty years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a small group of determined women cling to their ancestral homeland inside the radioactive “Exclusion Zone”.  While most others have long since fled and their husbands have died, this stubborn sisterhood hangs on – even thrives – cultivating fruit and vegetables and raising chickens and pigs in an abandoned landscape guarded by soldiers and rife with wildlife

“Starvation is what scares me, not radiation,” one says.  These women have lived through Stalin’s enforced famines, Nazi occupation, and nuclear disaster.  Filmmaker Holly Morris will join The Family of Woman Film Festival founder, Peggy Goldwyn, post screening for a discussion and update on the Babushkas, who are now facing yet another extraordinary challenge in their lives with the Russian invasion.

Holly Morris (Filmmaker)

Holly Morris is a filmmaker, author and journalist.  She has hosted documentary television series, including PBS’s Globe Trekker, for which she filmed in dozens of countries.  Her book, Adventure Divas:  Searching the Globe for a New Kind of Heroine, was a The New York Times Editor’s Choice.  She contributes to many publications, including O, The New York Times, The Week, The Independent and The Telegraph.

The Babushkas of Chernobyl was her first feature length documentary, premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it won the Jury Award for Direction. The film has gone on to win more than 20 awards.  Holly has written and directed several other documentaries.  Her latest film, Exposure, follows an international group of women dogsledding to the North Pole.


(Documentary, US) Running time98 minutes


Sundance award winner, Dreamcatcher, was the first film made in the US by prominent English documentarian, Kim Longinetto, known for films highlighting female victims of oppression or discrimination.  In Dreamcatcher, she takes the viewer into the hidden world of prostitution and sexual trafficking through the eyes of one of its survivors, Brenda Myers-Powell.  Defying all odds, Brenda has become a powerful advocate for change in her community in Chicago, working to help women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation through the Dreamcatcher Foundation, which she co-founded.

In a classroom session with at-risk teens, they reveal their desperate stories of childhood rape and abuse to Brenda, who has been there herself.  She shares that same empathy with a prostitute working one of the most dangerous areas in Chicago, reaching beneath her air of bravado and helping her to turn her life around.

Brenda (Co-Founder & ED of The Dreamcatcher Foundation, Actress)

Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Dreamcatcher Foundation, Brenda escaped an abusive home life at the age of 14 and became the prey of human traffickers.  After living through physical and mental abuse, she survived to be a model for the women and girls she now mentors, bringing insight and depth to help others change their lives and live their dreams. 

Her knowledge of the human trafficking industry has led to research in association with DePaul University and promoted awareness in the Chicago area.  She has recently published her autobiography, Leaving Breezy Street.

Brenda appeared at The Family of Woman Film Festival in 2016 with Dreamcatcher and has been invited by The Andrus Center to be a keynote speaker at this year’s Women and Leadership Conference, as well as to be part of a closing panel discussing gender violence and sexual trafficking. 

After the screening of the film, Family of Woman Film Festival founder, Peggy Goldwyn, will interview Brenda, bringing the remarkable story of her life – and The Dreamcatcher Foundation – up to date.