Ditch the Oscars Tonight and See These Sarasota Film Gems Instead!

The 95th Academy Awards are tonight at 8pm, but for those who want to watch a series of new, creative, trendy and artistic movies, documentaries and shorts, point your mouse to the URL: twe2023.eventive.org. Here you’ll have a choice of virtual streaming on demand films from the USA and 13 countries, plus films for all ages to enjoy with everyone at home.

The  Sarasota “Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival” started this weekend but runs through the end of tomorrow evening, March 13, when you can watch women’s stories and perspectives from around the world. Now in its 24th year, the festival will spotlight women facing Covid lockdown, women in wartime and as refugees, reproductive health and safety, gender roles, and also humorous approaches to taboo subjects through animation and creative storytelling.

This year’s selections include 7 features, 21 shorts, and 10 Emerging Filmmaker
films, with all available online and on-demand through midnight, March 13. They represent China, Ireland, Ukraine, England, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Belgium, the Philippines, UAE, and the USA. After receiving over 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. A number of the chosen independent filmmakers are expected to attend the festival and meet with audiences to share what inspires them and how they created their films.

Sarasota Events Calendar attending opening night on Friday at the Ringling School of Art & Design and saw a compelling documentary not to be missed: “Shirin Ebadi: Until We are Free,” featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. This film 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.

“We are delighted that the Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival can present virtual events that allow a global audience to access these phenomenal films from anywhere,” said Scott Osborne, President of Through Women’s Eyes.“We offer a carefully curated selection of films unlike what viewers see anywhere else.”

I attended the awards ceremony on Saturday, and while there were no Oscars to be given to the winners, they all deserve five stars and a standing ovation for their masterful and artistic work.  AND THE WINNERS ARE…….

Best Feature: Klondike

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.

Best Short Documentary: #NoRegrets

How DO women feel about abortion? How about we listen to them? A gripping first person documentary by three articulate women about their right to abortion. Timely in light of overturned Roe v Wade. Oh, and remember Paxton Smith, the high school student in Texas who used her valedictorian speech to address choice? You’ll hear from her too.

Note: local secondary students from the New Gate Montessori IB Global Program also participated in judging and presenting an Impact Award.

New Gate Inspiration Award: Two Kinds of Water

Two Kinds of Water explores the lives of a family living in the Guet Ndar fishing community on Senegal’s north coast – a country whose name literally means ‘our boat’. The 5,500km coastline of West Africa is home to some of the most diverse and dangerous fishing grounds in the world. It provides a livelihood to eight million people as skills are handed down from generation to generation, yet climate change, over-fishing, and contested waters are producing new and deadly threats every day. The film charts the unbreakable bond between a fisherman and his wife as they fight to keep their young family afloat in one of Africa’s most vulnerable fishing communities. A combination of deeply poetic voices and lyrical journeys vividly illustrate the lives of people in ocean communities on the frontline of the climate crisis, people who lay their lives on the line each time they leave the shore.

Best Short Narrative: The Radio

An elderly widower depends on his radio to keep a foothold on his daily routine. What happens when it breaks?

Best Team Short: Kiss My Ass

Anna gets an abortion, accompanied by the ghost of her Yiddish speaking great grandmother. And no, you probs don’t know what will happen. Just when we think there are no fresh perspectives on a woman’s right to choose, it’s perfect timing and tone. Fact and fantasy work together beautifully.

Best Emerging Filmaker: The Bond

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

Buy Tickets Here

Through Women’s Eyes is a 501c3 advocacy organization based in Sarasota and dedicated to women’s rights and gender equality.  Net festival proceeds support women’s rights and gender equality programs. See their 90-second video here from Amazing Promo Videos.


From a speech from Scott Osborne, President of Through Women’s Eyes, and the International Women’s Film Festival Chair.

“Inequality is a crisis. We should treat these inequalities as a crisis. But we don’t.

Why? Well, partly because we’re getting a skewed view of the world.

We get our news and images and perceptions of the world fed to us overwhelmingly by men; we see the world as men see the world. Men write the history books, run the businesses and write the laws. And they create the news and entertainment images that form our constant media diet.

Associated Press reporters? 73% men. Print journalists? 58% men. Photojournalists? 90% men. And when it comes to news reporters and specific beats, 64% of legal affairs reporters are men – and 60% of opinion columnists are men. (Women still pretty much write all the style pages, though, in case you were wondering.)

In film and television, men have more speaking parts and get far more director and cinematographer jobs – and they don’t have to get naked nearly as much as women must in order to get attention. Yes, this is still true in 2023.

We all know that our personal, lived experiences in life make a difference in our perspectives. So why aren’t all these varied perspectives reflected in our media.

Unless and until we fully see and hear the perspectives of half the population, we’re never going to fully understand the world. So on International Women’s Day – and every day of the year – let’s focus on what the world looks like through the eyes of women.”


AMEN. ~ Andrea Martone


Andrea Martone

Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing. She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.

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