The 2019 Family of Woman Film Festival: A Celebration of Women

The Family of Woman Film Festival, held in idyllic Sun Valley, Idaho, wrapped up earlier this month. Founded by Friends of UNFPA Board of Directors Member Peggy Elliot Goldwyn, the festival was both sponsored by and benefited Friends of UNFPA. Since 2008, it has helped bring attention to UNFPA’s lifesaving work in more than 155 countries around the world.  

In a recorded address to festival organizers and attendees, UNFPA’s Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem stated, “This festival is a celebration of the family of women. It is a celebration of women in all our diversity. We are still united in one aim: Full equality.” 


“This festival is a celebration of the family of women. It is a celebration of women in all our diversity. We are still united in one aim: Full equality.”  – Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA

Five feature documentaries and dramas from around the world are presented each year. Films shown at this year’s festival included On Her Shoulders, a film about a woman who survived ISIS violence and sexual slavery, and I Am Not A Witch, a film about a young girl accused of being a witch that was characterized by British film critic Jason Solomons as being “A haunting, funny, strange satire on African Womanhood.” A full list of films shown this year can be found here.


Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief of the Strategic Partnerships Branch of UNFPA

The festival also features discussions and presentations related to global women’s empowerment and reproductive health. This year, Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief of the Strategic Partnerships Branch of UNFPA, discussed UNFPA’s global priorities. “Zero unmet need for family planning, zero maternal deaths, and zero girls subjected to harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage by 2030,” she stated, are the organization’s long-term goals.


“Zero unmet need for family planning, zero maternal deaths, and zero girls subjected to harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage by 2030.” –
Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief of the Strategic Partnerships Branch of UNFPA

Bouwe-Jan Smeding, a Senior Program Adviser in UNFPA’s Humanitarian Branch, discussed UNFPA’s work in Yemen. “At this point, we have 235 clinics in the country that we support to help women and girls get safe deliveries and protection.”  

He explained the agency’s work in the country as difficult and complicated because of the divided and weakened state of the government. “We provide incentives to midwives to do their work because the salaries they are receiving from the government are so little that they can’t sustain their families.” 


Peggy Elliott Goldwyn, Founder of the Family of Woman Film Festival and Friends of UNFPA Board Member

Taking place around the time of International Women’s Day, The Family of Woman Film Festival helped highlight the struggles faced by women but also demonstrated their strength and ingenuity. “The Family of Woman Film Festival had an amazing week because we were able to share the power, passion, and spirit of the women featured in this year’s films,” said Peggy Elliott Goldwyn.  
 

This year’s festival raised nearly $90,000 that will help further Friends of UNFPA’s mission to build support and awareness for UNFPA. 


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