Film Scene

What Not to Miss at This Year's Through Women's Eyes Film Festival

The festival's Friday evening red carpet event offers the first North American screening of a standout film.

By Staff March 8, 2023

Until We Are Free will screen on Friday, March 10.

The 24th annual Through Women's Eyes International Film Festival returns from Friday, March 10, through Monday, March 13. The festival consists of both virtual screenings and two in-person events: a Friday opening red carpet celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. in Ringling College's Morganroth Auditorium and, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, four short films will be followed by a meet-and-greet with visiting filmmakers, thematic speakers, a reception and an awards ceremony at Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center. Net festival proceeds support women’s rights and gender equality programs.

The documentary Shirin Ebadi: Until We Are Free is the standout film of the festival, featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner and Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi. Following the screening, festival organizers will present a program on the current state of the uprisings in Iran and the struggle for human rights there. In addition, the festival will spotlight fresh voices and perspectives from around the world.

“We are delighted that the Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival will return this year with both in-person and virtual events that allow a global audience to access these phenomenal films from anywhere,” says Scott Osborne, the festival chair. “We offer a carefully curated selection of films unlike what viewers see anywhere else.”

This year’s selections include seven features, 21 shorts and 10 Emerging Filmmaker films. They come from China, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, England, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Belgium, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. After receiving more than 325 submissions from 43 countries, the selection committee chose 38 films that reflect a diverse array of experiences by and about global women and the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the filmmakers are expected to attend the festival and meet with audiences to share what inspires them and how they created their films.

The festival will also celebrate excellence with an awards ceremony that will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at Fogartyville. Awards include Best Feature, Best Narrative Short and Best Documentary Short. Local secondary students from the New Gate Montessori IB Global Program will also participate in judging and presenting an Impact Award.

Here are some of the films up for awards:

Shirin Ebadi: Until We Are Free could not be more timely. Iranian-born Shirin Ebadi, the first Muslim woman to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize (2003), has been fighting for justice all her life. This gripping story shows how fragile democracy and human rights can be, and it is a tale of one womanʼs struggle to restore the rights that women—and men—are losing. In-person viewing followed by audience discussion.

The Bond packs a phenomenal emotional punch in just 16 short minutes. What happens when a woman gives birth while incarcerated? It probably isn’t like what you imagine. This true-life tale was inspired by the birth experience of director Jahmil Eady, an associate producer on documentary projects for the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Klondike offers us a vision of war in Ukraine but through a woman’s eyes. We meet a family living on the border of Ukraine and Russia during the start of the war in the Donbas and discover that pregnant Irka refuses to leave her house even as the village is captured by armed forces. They soon find themselves at the center of an international air crash catastrophe and a family divided in its loyalties. A must-see.

Intentionally Erased, directed by victim’s rights advocate and domestic violence survivor Kimya Motley, explores what happens when Black men and Black trans women talk about manhood, acceptance, violence, the South and much more. An important conversation for all men and a documentary that unfolds like a story.

Take the Ice follows behind the scenes with the founder and commissioner of the first professional women’s hockey league and the athletes competing to win its inaugural championship. As the commissioner struggles to keep the league afloat, the players must come together in the wake of an on-ice accident that leaves a teammate paralyzed. Take the Ice is a moving look at elite athletes making strides for recognition and equality within their sport and, in the process, making history. Plus: There are some great ice hockey scenes.

Searchlight, Two Kinds of Water and Salt Lines: A Water Triptych is a series of three short films about the lives of people who live and work around water. With stunning photography from Senegal, Scotland and Maine, filmmaker Dan McDougall sheds light on the work of lobstermen and women, search and rescue teams, how women and men navigate life on the sea and the almost spiritual pull of the ocean that is passed down from generation to generation.

In-person screenings will be held 5-9 p.m. on Friday, March 10, in Ringling College's Morganroth Auditorium and 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at Fogartyville. Tickets and event passes are available through the film festival website: Learn more about the organization at

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