Our 19th Annual Film Festival!

The Through Women’s Eyes (TWE) Film Festival was back at the Sarasota Hollywood 11 this April, bigger and better than ever. Once again we partnered with the Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) and our fantastic line-up of 19 short and six feature TWE films included:

  • On Her Shoulders,” a riveting documentary about Nadia Murad, a Yazidi in Northern Iraq
  • Half the Picture,” Amy Adrion’s exploration of women in Hollywood, and, of course,
  • RBG,” the full-length feature which reveals the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg before, well, before she was notorious!

I’m delighted to add that RBG won the audience choice award for the entire combined Sarasota Film Festival and TWE.

Through Women’s Eyes is an annual program of the Gulf Coast Chapter of UN Women-USNC. Our Chapter works to educate the community about gender equality, advocate on behalf of women and girls, and fundraise to support the global programs of UN Women. As Chapter President, I get to witness both the incredible amount of work that goes into this festival as well as the final products on the screen – and of course the reactions of audiences as they see films that make them laugh, cry, and above all, turn to their seatmates and start discussing.

 

UNIFIED at UNA Tampa

 

United Nations Association (UNA) in Tampa/St Pete hosted UNIFIED, a Gender Equality Live Art Event in July.

I was delighted to help our sister UN agency by moderating a panel of fantastic women: Lorna Taylor, CEO of Premier Eyewear and Chair of Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA); Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida; and Beth Houghton, Executive Director of St. Petersburg Free Clinic

Thanks to the entire team at UNA for such a great event.

 

Education and Thought

Believe it or not, Chris Hedges wrote this in 2011, when our current political climate was nowhere on the horizon.

When you think about education and what it should do, contemplate this afresh:

The truly educated become conscious. They become self-aware. They do not lie to themselves. They do not pretend that fraud is moral or that corporate greed is good. They do not claim that the demands of the marketplace can morally justify the hunger of children or denial of medical care to the sick. They do not throw 6 million families from their homes as the cost of doing business. Thought is a dialogue with one’s inner self. Those who think ask questions, questions those in authority do not want asked. They remember who we are, where we come from and where we should go. They remain eternally skeptical and distrustful of power. And they know that this moral independence is the only protection from the radical evil that results from collective unconsciousness. The capacity to think is the only bulwark against any centralized authority that seeks to impose mindless obedience. There is a huge difference, as Socrates understood, between teaching people what to think and teaching them how to think. Those who are endowed with a moral conscience refuse to commit crimes, even those sanctioned by the corporate state, because they do not in the end want to live with criminals—themselves….

“The greatest evil perpetrated,” Hannah Arendt wrote, “is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons.”

As Arendt pointed out, we must trust only those who have this self-awareness. This self-awareness comes only through consciousness. It comes with the ability to look at a crime being committed and say “I can’t.” We must fear, Arendt warned, those whose moral system is built around the flimsy structure of blind obedience. We must fear those who cannot think. Unconscious civilizations become totalitarian wastelands.

From “Why the United States is Destroying its Education System”