Click the link below to listen to interviews with Jeremy Tischer, Annie Eastman and Allison Shigo. A big thanks to KECH 93.5 fm!

http://kech95.com/2014/02/family-of-woman-in-film-festival-7/ 

Annie Eastman

A Walk to Beautiful is a film that follows five women in Ethiopia and their transformation after having surgery to repair their obstetric fistula. This is an issue that upwards of three million women worldwide suffer from, both physically as well as emotionally, as they are pushed out of their communities with their ailment. Allison Shigo, co-producer of the film, was so affected by the crisis in Ethiopia that she co-founded Healing Hands of Joy, a program designed to educate mothers about fistula, and reintegrate fistula survivors into society with educational and therapeutic methods. 

On Tuesday March 4th, Allison Shigo will be sharing her Emmy award winning film A Walk To Beautiful as a lead into our Festival this year. We had the privilege of catching up with her for a peak into her exciting work. See below for a snippet of the interview. 

Q: Was the filming of A Walk to Beautiful your first experience in Ethiopia?

A: Filming A Walk to Beautiful was my first time traveling to sub-sahara Africa and I feel in love with Ethiopia immediately. The countryside is beautiful, the people so friendly and kind and the experience unforgettable. At the time, I never dreamed I'd have the opportunity to return and build a center for fistula survivors. 

Q: A Walk to Beautiful was a hugely successful film - beautiful, moving and educational. How has your life changed since its success?

A: Working on A Walk to Beautiful changed my life dramatically. After spending time with Ethiopian women suffering from fistula, I felt called to work to eradicate fistula and support the social reintegration of fistula survivors. At the time, there were very few programs assisting fistula survivors post-surgery, and no programs that believed that these strong women could join the fight to end fistula by educating their communities. Over time I realized this work could not be part-time. I decided to leave my job in 2010 to work full-time to establish the Safe Motherhood Ambassador training program in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has become my home away from home...i would like to be here full-time one day once we have a full-time fundraiser to help me in the US.

Q: Elaborate on some of the educational and therapeutic methods employed by Healing Hands of Joy that are important to the 'whole' healing of a fistula patient.  

A: Education and counseling are vital in the holistic care we provide. Many of the women we work with have been married at a very young age, 10-13 and have had no opportunity for education. Our literacy training teaches them how to write their name for the first time, which empowers them. One SMA said of the training "my mind has become bright." Psychological and Spiritual counseling are also very important in their healing process. These women have been outcast by their families and communities and in some cases considered "cursed" by God. They have dealt with abandonment, divorce and anxiety over thinking they will never be cured. Our center also serves as a "retreat" where we provide a loving home environment, beds, water and meals that are difficult to come by in the rural Ethiopian countryside. 

Check out http://www.healinghandsofjoy.com/ for more info on this amazing organization. And don't forget to come to the Community Library on March 4th at 6 p.m. for Allison's presentation. 

Sun Valley, IDAHO—The 7th annual Family of Woman Film Festival in Sun Valley will take place March 7-9, 2014, at the Sun Valley Opera House. The festival supports the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which works in over 150 countries to achieve a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

“This year’s films were selected to represent a broad range of what the festival theme, Women and Education, might mean,” said Peggy Elliott Goldwyn festival co-chair. “While Anita Hills speaks to the power of truth, a small girl in Afghanistan only has a fantasy of school and an illiterate slum-dweller in Brazil finds life itself has given her an education.”

Films for the 2014 Family of Woman Film Festival include “Anita” U.S. (2013) by Freida Lee Mock, “Rafea, Solar Mama” (2012) by Mona Eldaief and Jehane Noujaim, Jordan, “Tall as the Baobab Tree” (2012) by Jeremy Teicher, Senegal, and “Bay of All Saints” (2012) by Annie Eastman, Brazil and “Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame” (2007) by Hana Makhmalbaf, Iran.

“Anita” is an acclaimed feature documentary film by Academy Award-winner and Sun Valley resident Freida Lee Mock. Now a distinguished law professor, in 1991, Anita Hill appeared before the Senate Judicial Committee during the confirmation hearing of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Public reaction to her testimony helped create groundbreaking legislation against workplace sexual harassment.

 

 

 

“Rafea, Solar Mama” documents the real-life story of Rafea, a Bedouin woman who struggles against tradition and society as she seeks to become the first solar engineer in Jordan. Living with her daughters in one of Jordan’s poorest desert villages on the Iraqi border, Rafea travels to India to attend the Barefoot College, where illiterate grandmothers from around the world are trained in six months to be solar engineers.

 

 

“Tall as the Baobab Tree” is a feature length dramatic film shot in Senegal and is the remarkable result of a student Academy Award-nominated film by Jeremy Teicher. Rooted in reality, the film tells the story of Coumba and her little sister Debo who are the first to leave their family’s remote African village to attend school. But when an accident suddenly threatens their family’s survival, their father decides to sell 11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage.

 

 

“Bay of All Saints” is a feature documentary filmed over six years by Annie Eastman in Brazil. Through an introduction by a handyman, who became an integral part of the story, Eastman met Geni, Jesus and Doña Maria, three single mothers, who, though illiterate, found their voices and roles as leaders in the ongoing fight to save their stilt community on the Bay from destruction.

 

 

 

“Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame,” is a dramatic feature length film from Afghanistan. Amidst the rubble from statues of Buddha blown up by the Taliban, poor families live in caves at the foot of the cliffs. Baktay, a six-year-old Afghan girl is challenged to go to school by her neighbor’s son who proudly reads his lessons. Finding the money to buy a precious notebook and taking her mother’s lipstick for a pencil, Baktay sets out. On her way, she is harassed by boys playing games that mimic the terrible violence they have witnessed.

 

 

 

“The Family of Woman Film Festival presents the clear need to educate and empower women and girls for the future of the world,” said Stephanie Freid-Perenchio festival co-chair. “Every year for the past seven years, our films portray this mandate—the challenges women and their families face and their successes.”