Reel Women’s Film Festival to Benefit Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest

PALM SPRINGS — For the ninth year, the Reel Women’s Film Festival, is back in this international tourist destination. It marks the first time this beloved and popular event will be held in person since 2019. It was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID 19.

Each year, this festival showcases powerful films that tackle important issues, entertain, and raise money for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. These critical funds go toward local programs and services for communities throughout San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties.

The Reel Women’s Film Festival is an opportunity for Planned Parenthood supporters in the region to come together and support access to critical and high-quality reproductive health care. In light of attacks against reproductive rights across the nation, California continues to serve as a refuge for abortion care. Now more than ever, it is critical that Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest continue providing vital, compassionate care to all patients who come to the organization’s health centers.

“The Reel Women’s Film Festival plays an impactful role in supporting Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest’s programs and services, helping provide the high-quality and compassionate sexual and reproductive health care that all patients deserve,” Darrah DiGiorgio Johnson, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement. “As we continue to face attacks on abortion access at the national level, providers in California are stepping up to ensure all patients can access the care they need, and we are grateful for all the support that helps make this possible.”

Here is a peek at some of the films:

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power

Film Festival to Benefit Planned Parenthood 

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power, a feature length documentary, tells the complex story of Representative Barbara Lee, a steadfast voice for human rights, peace and economic and racial justice in the US Congress who cut her teeth as a volunteer for the Black Panther Party and was the lone vote in opposition to the broad authorization of military force following the Sept. 11th attacks. In 2001, she issued a strident warning in the House of Representatives: “Let us not become the evil we deplore,” and today she continues that clarion call, demanding that Congress stand up to a president who has escalated tensions with numerous foreign governments, while seeding division within his own country.

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power reveals how many of the challenges faced by Barbara Lee early in her life provided her with the motivation and commitment to improve the lives of others throughout her tenure as an elected representative.  With unique access to a sitting member of Congress, this film not only introduces the public to Barbara Lee but to many others such as Senator Cory Booker, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, CNN commentator Van Jones, actor Danny Glover and author Alice Walker who all share insights about what makes Barbara Lee unique as a public servant and as a truth-telling African American woman.


Film Festival to Benefit Planned Parenthood 


Barbara Miller’s feature documentary #FEMALE PLEASURE portrays five courageous, smart and self-determined women, breaking the silence imposed by their archaic-patriarch societies and religious communities, according to the official website. With incredible strength and positive energy, Deborah Feldman, Leyla Hussein, Rokudenashiko, Doris Wagner and Vithika Yadav are fighting for sexual liberation and autonomy for women, beyond religious rules and cultural barriers. But their victory comes at a high price: they all have experienced public defamation, threats and prosecutions, have been excommunicated by the society they grew up in and even received death threats by religious leaders and fanatics.

#FEMALE PLEASURE shows the universal mechanisms at work that determine the position of women until today, spanning cultures, religions and continents: from Japan and India and the Somali Muslim diaspora to the Hasidic community in Brooklyn and the Catholic clergy in Europe. All protagonists have come to the same conclusion: the female body is subjected to male lust and first and foremost meant for procreation, without any regard for female sexual pleasure and autonomy.

These women decided to speak up and are the ultimate example on how courage, strength and zest for life can indeed alter societal structures.


Film Festival to Benefit Planned Parenthood 


A socially awkward, environmentally conscious teenager named AJ is dragged to a coastal holiday park by her painfully ‘normal’ family, where she becomes unexpectedly captivated by a chlorine smelling, sun-loving lifeguard named Isla.

Written and directed by Marley Morrison in her feature debut, Sweetheart is a heart-warming look at growing up and grappling with your identity as a young member of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Annual Reel Women’s Film Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 15 at The Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road. Full vaccination against COVID-19, as defined by CDC Guidelines, is required for all in-person attendees.

The films will run online from Oct. 1-15 by clicking here.

There will also be two bonus streaming-only films, “Miss Representation” and “Catch and Release.”

Sponsorships, platinum passes, and individual passes are available for purchase by clicking here.

Special closing reception directly following the festival programming on Oct. 15 at the iconic Lear House.

The event is chaired by Eileen Stern and a dedicated film festival committee.


Image Sources

  • Speaking-Truth-to-Power: Shutterstock