10 Film Festivals That Support Women Filmmakers
ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL
Now in its seventh year, the Athena Film Festival — a celebration of women and leadership — is an engaging weekend of feature films, documentaries and shorts that highlight women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. The four-day festival, which includes conversations with directors and talent and workshops for filmmakers, has quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind.
LOCATION: NYC, NY
CITIZEN JANE FESTIVAL
This film festival has a deep commitment to fostering the growth of young women filmmakers. They even have a Camp Jane program for middle and high school girls who have an interest in film.
There call for women filmmakers on their website states:
Are you a female filmmaker? Then please submit to our 9th annual Citizen Jane Film Festival that will take place November 3-6, 2016. We screen films in all genres and short or feature length that are directed or co-directed by women. We program films made by filmmakers in all stages of their careers–from first time filmmakers to pioneers in the industry. If accepted, filmmakers are strongly encouraged to attend the festival in person to participate and collaborate with other female filmmakers throughout the weekend, and we work hard to help make this happen for you as much as possible!
LOCATION: COLUMBIA, MISSOURI
WOMEN’S FILM INSTITUTE FESTIVAL
“Amplifying the voices of women and girls” is the tagline and mission of the Women’s Film Institute.
The San Francisco Women’s Film Institute was conceived and founded in 2005 by filmmaker, media arts activist and community educator Scarlett Shepard. Shepard’s goal was to build upon the success of the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival (founded in 2004) and it’s mission of supporting, promoting and celebrating films directed by women as art and education and expanding its programming year-round.
The institute supports its mission by presenting the annual San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival, Generation HERstory filmmaking training program for young women (ages 12-19), and a variety of film screenings and educational programs.
LOCATION: SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Stands for Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival.
It is a mighty regional festival and even has some exciting summer workshops for aspiring teen filmmakers already planned.
Their mission is simple:
In recognition of the power of women’s voices in film, the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POW Fest) places a spotlight on women directors by showcasing their work and strengthening the community of women in film.
We feature the work of today’s top women directors, honoring the true pioneers while providing support and recognition for the next generation of leading women filmmakers.
LOCATION: PORTLAND, OREGON
UNDER WIRE FESTIVAL
If you are across the pond, or want to be, then check out this festival in the UK.
Underwire is the UK’s only film festival celebrating female filmmaking talent across the crafts. Founded in 2010 by Gabriella Apicella and Gemma Mitchell with the aim to change the face of the industry from the inside out, the festival has awarded training and mentoring opportunities to over 40 filmmakers, and has screened over 300 films.
The festival recognizes talent across Directing, Producing, Screenwriting, Editing, Cinematography, Sound Design, and Composing, and any short film that has a woman in one of those roles is eligible.
With women making up only 21.8%* of a typical feature film crew it is clear that these talents must be showcased early, to propel the women filmmakers of the future into their feature film careers.
LOCATION: LONDON, ENGLAND
CALIFORNIA WOMEN’S FILM FESTIVAL
This is a classic film festival that champions the voices of women in film.
They allow film submissions that range from features, shorts, documentaries, music videos, animation, and written screen plays.
Students can even enter this festival.
Here is an overview from their website:
The California Women’s Film Festival is deeply honored to celebrate women filmmakers, artists and writers by providing a showcase and networking forum in the heart of Hollywood.
The CWFF understands how important it is to hear and see the educated, entertaining and diverse stories of women from around the globe. We provide a platform so these voices can be heard and shared with audiences that want to be inspired. The California Women’s Film Festival accepts all projects that has at least one woman in one of the key production positions: (Producer, Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Lead Actress, Etc……). Projects that are produced and/or directed by men are accepted as long as there is a lead female protagonist and/or the story is based around women.
LOCATION: ENCINO, CALIFORNIA
FEMALE EYE FILM FESTIVAL
This film festival caters to more veteran women filmmakers but it is definitely worth attending to make industry connections if you are an aspiring or emerging filmmaker.
FeFF, an international film festival for women directors, bridges the gap between the written, visual, and media arts with an eclectic program of films, script readings, book signings, a photo exhibit, music nights, industry-initiative panels, and best-in-the-biz tributes. FeFF provides an exclusive showcase for Canadian and international independent women filmmakers. We present high-calibre short and feature films in drama, comedy, sci-fi, action, horror, documentary, animation, and experimental genres. The directors and their casts and crews participate in Q & As with audiences following their film screenings. In addition to the annual festival, FeFF also curates film programs throughout the year and produces community-outreach programs to raise awareness of issues that pertain to women.
LOCATION: TORONTO, CANADA
LES FEMMES UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
If you made more of an experimental film then this festival might be up your alley.
They truly see being a filmmaker as being an artist.
The International Les Femmes Underground is a film festival centred on the subversive, unique, and innovative. LEFUFF, showcases artists from all walks of life creating work which redefines the manner in which women are represented in mainstream cinema. Making its debut in 2016, Les Femmes Underground is premiering in Los Angeles as the first ever traveling women’s underground film festival. Les Femmes Underground was created as a response to the decline of feminist icons and role models in the media. As feminists, we believe it is our responsibility to empower new generations of young women to generate work which breaks away from society’s gendered roles. Les Femmes Underground seeks to premier first time under-represented emerging feminist film-makers and artists.
LOCATION: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
FLO FILM FESTIVAL
“Reel Women Power” sums up the aim for the FLO Film Festival based in Mumbai, India.
The FLO Film Festival creates a platform to address the representation of women and girls on screen, and exploring – through cinema – the themes unique to this side of the gender spectrum. The Indian and international features, documentaries, animation and short films showcased at the Festival will highlight relevant content dealing with women’s issues, as well as inspiring stories of hope, courage and empowerment. The mission is to start a dialogue breaking down stereotypes, and to enable audiences to become discerning viewers and critically reflect on their media consumption and how it _influences them.
LOCATION: MUMBAI, INDIA
WOMEN’S VOICES NOW
WVN is really a community and collective of women filmmakers that are dedicated to pushing boundaries and opening more doors for women in the industry.
They have organization ambassadors, plan screenings, coordinate college tours, and even provide fiscal sponsorship (which ideal for documentary filmmakers).
A distinctive feature about WVN is that their film festival takes place solely online. This allows more flexibility and diversity for emerging filmmakers to participate.
Their mission statement is as follows:
Women’s Voices Now amplifies the voices of all women by promoting the free expression of women’s struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights worldwide. By providing free online platforms for film, art, writing, and social-media activism, we connect people and resources striving for global women’s rights.
Women’s Voices Now fills a critical gap in global efforts seeking to elevate the status of women, especially women who are underrepresented and women with little access to resources. Through the narrative of films, writing, and art featured by Women’s Voices Now, our work continually inspires and challenges women and men to overcome obstacles in the advancement of women.
Through our annual online short-film festival, hosting platforms of written and visual expression, and coordinating community engagement, we foster and enhance the international dialogue on women’s rights and encourage engagement from a worldwide audience.
LOCATION: ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, CA
What do you think about our list? Are there any that you’d like to add, let us know.
We hope that there are a few that have your film’s submission’s name on it!
CJ CHILDRESS is a photographer that keeps true to having a documentary style and an emerging filmmaker that follows that same aesthetic. She can’t wait to go to New Orleans this summer and pretend that she’s filming LEMONADE part II. You can follow her on instagram.