Film fest aims to raise awareness of women's issues through film

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Sarasota Film Festival opens this week, bringing filmmakers from across the globe to the Suncoast to showcase and to promote their films – including a group of films made by women about women.

The Through Women's Eyes festival has been a part of the Sarasota Film Festival for the last 15 years. It's sponsored by the Gulf Coast Chapter for the U.S. National Committee of U.N. Women. Its purpose is to raise awareness of women's issues around the globe and showcase women filmmakers.

"We have shorts and features from 27 countries, representing women issues; covering topics from sexual abuse, sexual trafficking, right down to Lies I Told My Little Sister," says event co-chair Mary Dailey.

And many of the filmmakers will be in Sarasota to discuss their work. "Our filmmakers are coming from all over the world; two from Australia, one from India, one coming from Canada," says co-chair Terry Brackett.

Only 2% of all directors in the film business are women.

One purpose of the Through Women's Eyes Festival is to give women filmmakers a boost. "We look for films that are directed by women and showcase women artists."

And proceeds go to support their projects. "We support the programs of U.N. Women Internationally. The funds we raise will be used to advocate for women worldwide."

Saturday night, Through Women's Eyes is hosting a big celebration, a filmmakers reception, where you can come and hobnob with the movie makers. "You get to talk to the filmmakers…we love being able to introduce them to members of our own community here," says celebration co-chair Abigail Shearer Robinson.

And at the end of the day, they believe these films by women will make a difference to the women who see them. "I hope women walk away being proud that they are women, knowing they can make a difference and knowing there are women all over the world who are making a difference."

The 15th Annual Through Women's Eyes Film Festival has films that will make you cry, films that will make you laugh, and films that will make you think. Films will be shown Saturday and Sunday at the Hollywood 20.