Thursday, August 13, 2020
Virtual Family of Woman Film Festival Offers Look at Female Firefighters, Face Changing
“A Girl from Mogadishu,” is the true story of a Somalian refugee who became one of the world’s foremost activists against gender-based violence. COURTESY: Family of Woman Film Festival
Wednesday, July 22, 2020


The 13th annual Family of Woman Film Festival is going virtual this year. As such, films may be screened free through the Community Library’s website at 6 p.m. Sept. 9 through 13.

The Festival will present the Bonnie Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women  virtually at 6 p.m. Sept. 8 with a speaker yet to be announced. And it will present a virtual screening and interview for all donors, plus two virtual POV breakfast speakers.

“With a virtual Festival, we have the ability to expand our audience beyond the capacity of any theatre without worrying about social distancing,” said Festival Founder and Director Peggy Elliott Goldwyn. “Through the Community Library network, everyone can enjoy The Family of Woman Film Festival in their own homes with cocktails and dinner.”

“Apache 8” tells the story of an all-woman firefighting crew from the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona. COURTESY: Family of Woman Film Festival

It will also be easier to present interviews with filmmakers and film subjects following the screenings, no matter where in the world they may be located, Goldwyn added. In recent years, some have had trouble getting into the Untied States to take part in the Festival due to tightened travel restrictions.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Women Who Won’t Be Stopped.” The films are:

  • “The Perfect Candidate,” a 104-minute dramatic comedy from Saudi Arabia

    The film features Haifaa al-Monsour, Saudi Arabia’s first female director who burst into world view with her film “Wadjda” about a young Saudi girl who becomes a student of the Koran to win a bicycle in a contest.

    “The King of Masks” won many international awards when it was released in 1995. COURTESY: Family of Woman Film Festival

    “The Perfect Candidate” features a young Saudi doctor who runs for city council to get the unpaved, rutted, constantly flooded street near her clinic fixed. She is assisted by the grandson of a crotchety old man who insists on being examined by a real—i.e., male—doctor, and who remains a thorn in her side until he admits he voted for her.

    The film has not had a commercial theatrical release due to the COVID pandemic. Al-Mansour has been asked to record an interview in conjunction with its screening.

  • “Councilwoman,” a 57-minute documentary from the United States

    Carmen Castillo, an immigrant grandmother, wins a seat on the city council in Providence, R.I. A Dominican immigrant, she has a full-time job cleaning hotel rooms. And skeptics say she doesn’t have the education to govern while corporate interests fight her efforts to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    Both Castillo and filmmaker Margo Guernsey will do a live interview following the film.

  • “Apache 8,” a 57-minute documentary from the United States

    This film features the all-female Apache 8 unit, which has protected its reservation from fire for more than 30 years, in addition to fighting wildfires across the nation. The group has earned the reputation of being fierce, loyal, dependable and tougher than their male colleagues, despite gender bias and the problems that come with living on an impoverished reservation.

    Director Sande Zeig combines archival footage and present-day interviews to focus on four women from different generations of Apache 8 crew members. Zeig and firefighter Katy Aday will do a live interview following the screening.

  • “A Girl from Mogadishu,” a 113-minute drama from Somalia and the Republic of Ireland

    Based on a true story, this dramatization follows Ifrah Ahmed’s perilous journey as a refugee. Forced to marry as a teenager, she flees this abusive marriage and makes her way home in the midst of civil war to try to reconcile with her family.

    The audience will experience the terror of bombs falling and chaos just as Ifrah does and rejoice when she exercises the potential buried inside her to serve as a leader in a campaign to end female genital mutilation.

    Director Mary McGuikian and Ifrah Ahmed will participate in a recorded interview from their current home in Ireland.

  • “The King of Masks, a 91-minute drama from China

This film revolves around Wang, the King of Masks, an elderly street performer who enchants audiences with the complicated art of face-changing during the 1930s, a time of political turmoil in the Sichuan province.

Illustrating Chinese folk tales by split-second changes of masks is an art traditionally passed on to a son or grandson, but Wang has no heir. To compensate, Wang buys an orphan boy at an illegal child market but soon learns his new apprentice is a girl and sends her way away.

When she refuses to leave, she surprises him by performing street acrobatics to draw a crowd but he still refuses to relent. When she accidentally sets the sampan on which they live on fire, she runs away, then compounds her mistake by rescuing a kidnapped boy and taking him to Wang. But—whoops!-- Wang is arrested as a kidnapper and scheduled to be executed.

The exact order in which the films will appear has yet to be determined.

The Andrus Center for Public Policy’s Women and Leadership Conference will show three of the films—“Apache 8,” “The Perfect Candidate” and “Councilwoman”—virtually Sept. 15-17 with the help of sponsorship from Boise State University. 

Goldwyn founded the Family of Woman Film Festival in 2008 to bring attention to the work of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund of which she is a board member. Many of the films she’s presented have been American premieres and gone on to win major awards.

For more information or to learn how you can take part in the additional exclusive screenings and talks for donors, visit or email



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