Family Of Women Film Festival Highlights Women’s Rights, Healthcare & Education


If you haven’t heard of the Family of Women Film Festival, you are in for a treat! There are a number of awesome film festivals dedicated to women in film that have started popping up all over the place here in the US and around the world. The Athena Film Festival which was launched 5 years ago has become an industry leader in promoting women both in front of the camera as well as behind.

The Family of Women festival was launched in 2008 in Peggy Elliott-Goldyn in Sun Valley, Idaho to “bring awareness of the work of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the leading global agency working to ensure that all women and girls have access to reproductive health care, education, and basic human rights.”

Peggy has had a long history in Hollywood, most notably as the VP of the Samuel Goldwyn Company from 1986 to 2003. She has made documentaries for Planned Parenthood-Los Angeles and UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and has been involved in a number of education initiatives and organizations.

For the past few years, the film festival has been centered around specific themes such as Women and Education, Women and War, Women and the Environment and more. This year’s festival which ran from Feb 26-March 1st was focused on Women and their Dreams and each film showcases a different aspect of life as a girl who has taken control of her destiny.


The films being shown this year are documentary ‘Sepideh’ from Iran (made in conjunction with Gucci’s Chime For Change initiative) about a young girl who wants to battle societal norms to become an astronaut, documentary ‘#Chicagogirl’ from Syria about a young girl in America who organizes protests in Syria in conjunction with citizen journalists on the ground through Facebook, Twitter and Skype, ‘Pakistan’s Hidden Shame’ about the nearly 1.5 million street kids who are at risk of being sexually exploited, ‘Light Fly, Fly High’ from India about girls from traditionally conservative societies turning to sport to break the mold, and ‘The Supreme Price’ from Nigeria (also produced by Chime For Change) focused on the pro-democracy movement of Nigeria which started in the mid-1990s as a way to increase women in leadership roles in politics.

This year the festival teamed up with Women Deliver, a non-profit from New York, which is a leading global advocacy organization dedicated to raising awareness for maternal, sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights.

Joanna Lipper, filmmaker of ‘The Supreme War’ opened the festival with her timely film as it closely ties in with that is going on in Nigeria right now. President Goodluck Jonathan has been publicly vowing to elevate the status of women in his country, which is something former assassinated president M.K.O Abiola promised to do in the 1990s.


After he was democratically elected, the military at the time stages a coup overthrowing president Abiola and putting him in prison where he was eventually killed. His wife Kudirat rose up to take control of the pro-democracy before ruthlessly being assassinated by the military. Now their daughter Hafsat is mobilizing women in the country to be empowered to take up leadership positions and dismantle the patriarchal system that has made life unbearable for Nigerians for so long.

President Goodluck Jonathan has an equally large fight on his hands with the growing power of extremist group Boko Haram who have been killing and kidnapping thousands of Nigerians. Their mission is to keep women subdued, but with the eyes of the world watching them it may only be a matter of time before they too are taken down.

“The volatile situation in Nigeria has made international headlines since the kidnapping of over 250 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014,” Joanna said in a press release. “This film offers a moving story of a mother and daughter against the backdrop of a landmark presidential election and its tumultuous aftermath along with historical context for the complex current political climate in Nigeria and its impact on the rights of women and girls.”


The film was released in 2013 but has never been more relevant than today, with the fight for gender equality increasing over the past couple of years thanks to increased interest in feminism in pop culture.

We think we have found our new favorite film festival! It may not be the most talked about event on the annual film calendar, but the issues they are covering are vital to keeping the issues of healthcare, education and women’s rights for the female population around the world alive and part of our collective conscience.

Take a look at the trailers below for all five films and support documentary filmmakers who are bringing women’s stories from all over the world to us:

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