Film Festival In Sun Valley Focuses On Women And War

Mar 1, 2013

Most of the films you’ll see this weekend at the Family of Woman Film Festival in Sun Valley come from overseas. The festival will feature films from Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, and India. Only one film comes from the U.S. The Invisible War, which exposed the sexual assaults in the U.S. military. That documentary was recently nominated for an Academy Award. 

Credit Courtesy of Family of Woman Film Festival

Peggy Goldwyn founded the festival six years ago after she joined the board of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The agency addresses reproductive health issues and women’s rights in more than 150 countries.  Goldwyn says what better way to tell that story than through film.

“So I got the idea to try and put on a small festival up here (Sun Valley ) with very interesting films,” Goldwyn explains. “But they told the kind of stories about the work that UNFPA does and how important it is to address issues that are sometimes called women’s issues but they are really human issues.”

The first year of the Festival, there were four films including one from Afghanistan and another from Pakistan. Goldwyn says that first year was well received.  “It was a very nice experiment and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

The Invisible War will be shown tonight at the Sun Valley Opera House. NPR reviewed the documentary last summer calling it “compelling.”

“In documentaries, showing is almost always more effective than telling. But The Invisible War, an expose of sexual assault in the U.S. military, is compelling despite being all talk. Footage of the many crimes recounted in the film is, of course, nonexistent — and would be nearly unwatchable if available.

So director Kirby Dick addresses the subject directly, without gimmicks or gambits. Stylistically, The Invisible War is conventional and plainspoken, from its opening clips of vintage recruitment ads for women to its closing updates on the central characters.

The movie's power comes from words and numbers, including the military's own official statistic that 20 percent of women in the services have been sexually assaulted — as well as the estimate that 80 percent of such attacks are never reported.” ~ NPR

Here's the schedule for this weekend's festival:

Friday, March 1 at 6 p.m. - The Sun Valley Opera House

“The Invisible War” Feature-length documentary (USA) presented by filmmaker Amy Zeiring and one of the subjects of the film, Trina McDonald. An invitation-only reception will follow immediately for Sponsors and guests of Higher Ground with filmmakers and speakers. * 2013 OSCAR NOMINEE *

Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m. - The Sun Valley Opera House

“Weapon of War” Feature-length documentary (Democratic Republic of Congo), followed by question and answer with Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA.

Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m. - The Sun Valley Opera House

“The World Before Her” Feature-length documentary (India), presented by filmmaker Nishua Pahuja.

Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m. - The Sun Valley Opera House

“Words of Witness” Feature-length documentary (Egypt).

Sunday, March 3 at 7 p.m. - The Sun Valley Opera House

“War Witch” Premiere of Feature-Length Drama (Canada/Democratic Republic of Congo).
* 2013 OSCAR NOMINEE *