Women’s Film Festivals Around the World: Update

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Women Make Waves 2020

This update is research for an eBook.

Please let me know if you’d like me to change the entry for your festival! Or to add your festival if I’ve missed it.

Background

Everything’s changed since I started this page in 2011–13, hoping to encourage women’s film festival tourism, and I miss some of the festivals that have closed, like the legendary Bluestocking Film Series.

There’s now broader awareness of the equity issues facing women filmmakers. Broader awareness of gender fluidity. More actions that reflect a commitment to intersectionality and inclusion.

Some festivals established since 2011, like Aotearoa New Zealand’s Māoriland (Ōtaki), consistently select equal numbers of films directed by women and by men.

Others, like Season Film Festival (Helsinki, Finland), replacing Artisokka, have changed over time from a women’s film festival to one with mixed genders… ‘female filmmakers and subjects still have an important role and focus in the festival [and we] have a seminar each year that concentrates on different issues regarding female filmmakers’. (As before, there’s some crossover with queer festivals: Mel Pritchard’s marvellous and definitive Big Queer Film Festival List is still here.)

And, thanks to Le Collectif 5050x2020, many major festivals have agreed to work towards gender parity.

But women still struggle to find resources to make their films. And, when they do make them, struggle to find ways to exhibit and distribute their films. In her magnificent book about women in film, The Wrong Kind of Women (2020) Naomi McDougall Jones cites Deb Verhoeven’s research. It shows that globally in 2016 women directed only 16% of all feature films distributed in any fashion and directed only 2% of of all the films that received a theatrical release.

Because we lack opportunities to see films directed by women, even online, the work of women’s film festivals as exhibitors is vital. This is how renowned British director Andrea Arnold described her experience at one of the ‘grandmother’ festivals, Créteil International Women’s Film Festival in Paris, almost two decades ago. She always noticed how few films by women there are at film festivals and when she went to Créteil with Wasp, for which she won an Academy Award she stayed on for a few days and watched ‘all these films by women’. This is what happened:

‘I spent the whole time crying because there were so many films that had so much resonance for me, being female. It actually made me realise how male-dominated the film industry is in terms of perspective.

If you think about a film being a very popular and expressive way of showing a mirror on life, we’re getting a mainly male perspective. It’s a shame. I saw a lot of fantastic films at Créteil that I never heard about again.’

Women’s film festival screenings and associated events, usually organized primarily by volunteers, continue to seek specific goals for their communities, as well as supporting local, national and international filmmakers. B. Ruby Rich wrote about some of these in her classic Chick Flicks, published back in 1998.

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- information and associated discussion about a variety of issues that specifically affect and are affected by women.

- opportunities to see films that will never make it to a local cinema or be readily available online.

- thematic and genre options like women in horror, women in sport, women leaders, showcases for local and international women filmmakers’ work, both recent and historical.

- building communities and providing education: opportunities for women filmmakers to meet and share their experiences and to host and participate in workshops and seminars.

Covid has profoundly affected women’s film festivals in 2020.

Some festivals happened before Covid took hold.

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Assen Festival in March 2020
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Female Eye 2020

Others pivoted to online screenings and events and often have to geoblock films (so I haven’t listed any of these festivals in Worldwide). But their associated online events are usually available to all. And even those online events are so varied. Female Voices Rock’s experience probably wasn’t unique —

‘When we made the decision to go virtual this year, we didn’t really know what to expect. Fast forward 6 months, we are immensely proud to announce that what could have broken us, actually made us stronger, and this year we have 70+ of the best women-made short films the world has to offer, as well as 7 days of panels and workshops with leading industry experts from Sony Pictures, NBC, Blumhouse (and much more), Q&As, networking events, happy hours, and parties!

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Other festivals haven’t had the resources to pivot, or have presented hybrid festivals, partly online, partly in real life, sometimes in partnership with local cinemas (Bloody Mary in Canada, Female Filmmakers Festival in Berlin), a museum (Women’s Museum of California), or a drive-in cinema (London Lesbian Film Festival). URUSARO International Women Film Festival (Rwanda) broadcast their programme on TV this year.

There have been many ‘one-off’ events, like this one.

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And events held by groups that include a women’s filmmaking element. Like this one, connected to the now-defunct Hong Kong Women’s Film Festival.

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There have also been online opportunities for sharing ideas about women’s film festivals.

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Many organisers would probably echo Some Prefer Cake’s message to its audience when it went online:

‘We want to thank you all and tell you that we miss you. We miss the festival as we always have, we miss hugs, last minute setups, the many women who come from different parts of Italy and find themselves at Nosadella cinema, every year. We miss voices, chaos, late hours, sleepy breakfasts after party, music, dancing. We miss the soul of the festival that is all the women and subjectivity that support and live it.’

Regardless of how each festival responded to Covid, when I tracked them down I was truly impressed by the energy and commitment of most, their persistence when facing multiple challenges as they get through this year and plan for next.

How this update works

I’ve divided the festivals according to geography and then alphabetically within their region. Sometimes I haven’t translated from the main language of the festival. I’ve tried to give each festival equal attention and space and to use their own words where I can. In the eBook each will have an associated image.

If a festival is perhaps defunct, but is still listed on filmfreeway or festhome, I’ve usually included it.

For most festivals, the most up-to-date information is on their facebook page.

WORLDWIDE

Directed By Women

Annual celebration, created by Barbara Ann O’Leary. All September every September.

You choose how you want to celebrate, wherever you are. Solo Celebrations, House Parties, Twitter Chats, Community Screenings, Festivals, Panels, etc. etc. etc.

What would you like to do? Look around in your community and get something going? (In Aotearoa New Zealand, I organise a series of pop-up events, sometimes at other times of year.)

Directed By Women Aotearoa New Zealand

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Directed By Women Spain

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Directed By Women Turkey

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Etheria TV series

The Horror Collective is releasing six seasons of Etheria on Amazon, an anthology series of stand-alone short horror, science fiction, fantasy, action, and thriller episodes directed by women, inspired by the Etheria Film Festival’s programming and created to introduce amazing directors to devoted genre fans.

Femflix

24/7 access to premium, female-centred, highly curated entertainment on-demand. Australia-based. twitter instagram facebook

Herflix

The online movie theatre with films about, for & by women. The many voices of Women Filmmakers need a special home. Herflix sees content through a lens that shows HER point of view, consciousness, and intuition. instagram

MOM Filmfest

Online short-form fest dedicated to elevating and celebrating filmmakers who are mothers. twitter instagram facebook

Women in Horror Recognition Month (February)

International grassroots initiative. Encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries: on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in other ways.

WiHM also celebrates these contributions throughout the year, via the official WiHM blog, and official WiHM database each February. This database — in conjunction with the WiHM social media fan base — actively promotes do-it-yourself annual film screenings, blogs/articles, podcasts, and any other form of creative media with the ultimate goal of helping works by and featuring women reach a wider audience. twitter instagram facebook

Women’s Voices Now

Non-profit that uses film to drive positive social change that advances women’s and girls’ rights globally.

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Promotes female and femme-identifying filmmakers. Free online archive all year.

Next virtual edition March 2021. twitter instagram facebook filmfreeway

AFRICA

Beti Ellerson’s African Women in Cinema is a primary source of information about women’s film festivals in Africa, regularly updated.

African Women Arts & Film Festival (AWAFFEST) (Dar Es Salaam, Kenya)

Platform to appreciate arts and stories of African women; to celebrate female film practitioners; and to empower aspiring artists.

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Cairo International Women’s Film Festival (Cairo, Egypt)

Dedicated to introducing films directed by women from around the world — not necessarily addressing women’s issues — to explore the perspectives of female filmmakers.

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Covid status: virtual Between Women Filmmakers Caravan.

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Le Festival international du film de femmes de Salé or FIFFS (Salé, Morocco)

Conçu au départ pour accueillir des films de réalisatrices, il accueille finalement aussi des films de réalisateurs, permettant ainsi au regard de réalisatrices et réalisateurs de se croiser sur les femmes.

A cause des circonstances actuelles de la propagation du Covid 19, nous avons reportée la 14ème édition du Festival à septembre 2021. Nous avons pas les moyens de la faire on line.

Covid status: delayed to 2021.

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Festival International de Films de Femmes de Cotonou (Cotonou, Benin)

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Le premier festival de film béninois consacré aux femmes. Il met en lumière le travail des femmes cinéastes. 1st edition 201

Covid status: 2d edition September 2021.

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Holiday Market (Stone Town and West Town, Unguja, Zanzibar, Tanzania)

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Exhibits and empowers women in film talents from across the African continent. Priority given to films from Africa and by Africans, on theme of women, or directed by women.

2d edition: 10–14 March 2021.

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Udada International Women’s Film Festival (Nairobi, Kenya)

About women, by women, for women. Features the work of women in different genres: drama, comedy, fiction, documentary, animation and experimental film. Born out of the need to recognise women’s participation, contribution, and support of cinema internationally, Udada’s desire is to create and foster sisterhood(s) in film around the world.

Present status: uncertain. twitter instagram facebook filmfreeway

URUSARO International Women Film Festival (Kigali, Rwanda)

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Annual celebration and cultural exhibition that promotes women in cinema for the benefit of society and gender equality. Created and managed by CinéFEMMES Rwanda since 2016.

Covid status: TV broadcast programme. Theme: Cinema, Tool for Development.

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ASIA

Afghanistan International Women’s Film Festival (Kabul, Afghanistan)

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Films about women and/or executed by women, to highlight the power of women in different life situations, promote a positive image of women struggling with dignity to change their environment, discover new talent, films, and filmmakers with potential, and recognize the collaborative work the art form is founded on. Short or long feature and documentary films.

Used to be Herat International Women’s Film Festival.

Covid status: 2020 edition cancelled, but some IRL workshops given.

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Aichi International Women’s Film Festival (Nagoya, Japan)

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Films under 50 minutes directed by female directors, world-famous and rising female directors. Guest talks and symposium that provide the participants with opportunities to exchange their views and ideas in order to promote the realization of a gender-equal society.

Covid status: IRL.

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Asian Women’s Film Festival (New Delhi, India, International Association of Women in Radio and Television)

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Filmmaker has to be a woman/ transwoman of Asian origin, residing in any part of the world. All genres. Different themes each edition. Sections of the festival travel outside New Delhi.

Covid status: IRL.

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Beirut International Women Film Festival (Beirut, Lebanon)

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Films by and about women.

Covid status: virtual. Next edition March 7–12 2021.

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China Women’s Film Festival/ Bataru International Cultural Festival (Beijing/ Hong Kong, China)

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Promotes public awareness, understanding and advancement of women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights by highlighting the discrimination faced by these communities around the world, invigorating the movement towards greater rights in China and abroad via the means of film and art.

Covid status: cancelled.

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One International Women’s Film Festival (Chengdu, China)

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First and only women-themed film festival officially approved by Chinese government. Also hosts seminars every year to explore women’s multi-dimensional opinions from perspective of academic, industrial and female issues. Includes project market to inject new energy of women’s film or female filmmakers into the film industry.

Covid status: cancelled?

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Senior Women’s Film Festival (Osaka, Japan: formerly Women Make Sister Waves Film Festival)

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Films about senior women or films by senior women directors. Annual.

Covid status: IRL.

Seoul International Women’s Film Festival (Seoul, Korea)

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World’s largest international women’s film festival, with central role in building a women’s film network across Asia and the world. Discovers Asian women filmmakers and supports women’s film projects.

Covid status: hybrid. (Opening film, ‘Mutual Gaze in the Age of COVID-19’ came from its ‘Mutual Gaze: Women Filmmakers Support Fund’ project, which aimed to support 50 teams of women filmmakers to continue filmmaking and meet their audiences during Covid, and help them gaze at one another in the name of friendship and solidarity, with a work of one minute or shorter running time. The teams each received a production fund worth 1 million KRW.)

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Tokyo Women’s Film Festival (Tokyo, Japan)

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Covid status: IRL.

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Women Make Waves (Taipei, Taiwan)

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Provides a perspective on humanities and the arts through film, gender diversity, a strong network between social groups, and the establishment of feminist film resources. A window or stage for local filmmakers, and a platform for their international exposure. Also publishes books and distributes films.

Covid status: IRL.

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WOW Film Fair Middle East (Dubai UAE)

Short film fair that promotes and awards the talents of women directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers in internationally and offers emerging and established filmmakers the opportunity to ‘see the world through the eyes of women’. Aims to be a festival of discovery, celebration, debate, networking and an inspiration for new work.

Next edition 2021.

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CANADA & UNITED STATES

African-American Women In Cinema International Film Festival (AAWIC)

Provides platform and showcase for aligning experienced and novice filmmakers directors, producers, and screenwriters. Creates business opportunities for minority women filmmakers in entertainment.

COVID status: monthly online media series.

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Another Experiment By Women Film Festival (AXWFF) (New York US)

Promotes and screens moving images in any media, made by women, that encourage critical thinking and dialogue, feature alternative forms not covered in film school and/or represent themes and issues distinct to women and girls, with the hope to inspire others to make and hone their own experimental work to be shared with others.

Streams short films here.

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Arizona Women’s Film Festival

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International: exploring the femxle experience from any avenue in 2020.

Covid status: virtual.

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Artemis Women in Action Film Festival (Beverley Hills, California US)

Narrative, animated, documentary films and scripts featuring women
either starring or co-starring as a physical action character or agent of social change.

Next edition April 2021.

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Athena Film Festival (Barnard College, New York US)

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Weekend of inspiring films that tell the extraordinary stories of fierce and fearless women leaders. Includes writing labs for TV and film writers, masterclasses and works in progress programs for women filmmakers and the Athena List, an annual competition for screenplays with women leaders at the heart of their stories.

Next edition online throughout March 2021.

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Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest (Baltimore, US, on the unceded land of the Piscataway, Lumbee, and Cherokee peoples. )

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Centers femme-identified black people of all ethnicities and nationalities.

Covid status: virtual, with Q&As; ongoing online discussions

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Black Laurel Films (San Francisco US, formerly International Black Women’s Film Festival)

Uses the cinematic narrative to normalize the presence of women of color as equitable partners in creative visual storytelling without sacrificing their intersectionality in the cinematic gaze. Screens the best in narrative feature, shorts, animation, and documentary films.Event flanked by the Equity Film Market to expand the options for participants to network with industry insiders while finding new pathways for distribution and resources.

Current status: no programme for a couple of years but still very active on social media.

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Bloody Mary Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)

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Celebrates Canadian women making horror, scifi and fantasy. Short films and feature films

Covid status: postponed.

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Breakthroughs Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)

Short films by emerging women and non-binary directors from all over the world. Events throughout the year.

Covid status: virtual.

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Broad Humor Film Festival (Venice, California, US)

Covid status: cancelled 2020.

Only festival to showcase only comedic films written and/or directed by women filmmakers. Animation, music video, short films, webseries, features. Screenplay competition: short, pilot or webseries, features and work by finalists in attendance at festival is included in a professional reading.

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Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival (Bellingham, WA, US)

Annual international festival showcasing films directed by women. Provides educational opportunities relating to the viewing, making, and distribution of films, promotes Bellingham, Whatcom County and the surrounding area as a destination for filmmakers and film enthusiasts. Short films selected through submission. Features curated.

Covid status: Virtual. Attendance as high as the ‘live’ festival, films viewed by U.S. and international audiences. Live and pre-recorded Q&As, panel discussions and interviews with filmmakers now available on website. Plans an online version of the festival in 2021 if necessary.

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Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival (Charleston, Illinois, U.S.)

Promotes the mission of Women’s Studies Program: to promote an understanding of how issues related to gender, age, race, economic status, sexual identity, and nationality affect women’s lives and the communities in which they live, in order to promote an equitable and sensitive environment for all persons. Short films of high artistic quality.

Covid status: unknown.

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Chicago Feminist Film Festival (Chicago, U.S.)

Covid status: on hiatus 2020 (director sabbaticals).

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Cinema Femme

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Virtual short film festival includes panel discussions. winners paired with seasoned female-identifying filmmaker for Womxn to Womxn in Film mentorship program.

Cinema Femme is the voice of the female film experience, a media platform that elevates the diverse voices of women in film, from film critics and filmmakers to moviegoers.

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Cinema Systers Film Festival (Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.)

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Uplifts the visions and voices of lesbian filmmakers, and provides a dedicated space to publicly showcase their art. An ‘acorn’ from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

Covid status: postponed to May 2021.

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Colorado Independent Women of Film (Denver, US)

Celebrates a unique style, perspective, and artistic vision within Colorado’s indie filmmaking community. ‘Go ahead, call them chick flicks. We dare you.’

Covid status: have enquired*.

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Coven Film Festival (San Francisco US)

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Films by emerging women and non-binary filmmakers from the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world.

Covid status: Virtual COVEN Film Festival — Quarantine Film Challenge Fest, with support from Seed & Spark.

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Davis Feminist Film Festival (Davis, California US)

Provides inclusive public space for under-represented artists — particularly women and people of color — to raise consciousness about gender, race, class, sexuality, and other dimensions of social inequality. Increasingly international in scope.

Covid status: virtual.

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Drunk Feminist Films (Toronto, Ontario)

Feminists who would rather laugh than cry their way through Hollywood representations of gender, race, class, sexuality and other aspects of identity. DFF hosts bi-monthly live screenings in Ontario and produces a web series.

Covid status: virtual events, including watch parties.

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Etheria Film Night (Hollywood, California)

Etheria Film Night screens the best new short science fiction, fantasy, action, thriller, comedy, and horror films directed by women.

Covid status: virtual.

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Everett Film Festival (formerly Everett Women’s Film Festival) (Everett, WA, US)

Dedicated to highlighting the strength, humor and creativity of women through provocative and entertaining films. Main focus on female written, directed, or produced films, but willing to consider all films. Especially interested in locally made films or films with a Northwest flavor.

Covid status: postponed.

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Family of Woman Film Festival (Sun Valley, Idaho, US)

Founded to bring attention to the issues confronting women and girls around the world through compelling cinematic stories. Presents five feature films each year, most of which center on the year’s selected theme.

Covid status: virtual.

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Female Eye Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)

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Competitive women directors’ festival for debut, emerging and internationally recognized directors. Drama, comedy, sci-fi, action, documentary, experimental and animation.

Films, script development, a photo exhibit, pitch sessions, master classes, tributes, and industry-initiative programs. FeFF mentors youth on their debut films, which are premiered at the festival

Has guest-curated programs in Armenia, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, and the United States. In 2020, partnering with sister festivals in Chile, Lebanon, Sweden, and Russia.

Covid status: IRL at TIFF Light Box in March.

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Female Filmmakers Fuse (Los Angeles)

The movement for diversity, equality and inclusion and a safe workplace for all! The only rule there is…the film must feature a female lead in the production aspect; producer, director, cinematographer and or writer.

Covid status: live instagram spotlights.

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Female Voices Rock (NYC, US)

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Aims to inspire change in the industry by creating a platform for women filmmakers to be able to showcase their amazing work.

Covid status: virtual.

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Festival de Films Féministes de Montréal / Montreal Feminist Film Festival (Montreal, Canada)

Films from all over the world with special focus on films directed by women of colour, indigenous and LGBTQ+ filmmakers.

Des oeuvres de partout au monde avec une attention particulière accordée aux films réalisés par des femmes, par des personnes racisées, autochtones, LGBTQ+ et en situation de marginalité et de minorité.

Covid status: postponed to December 2020.

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Film Girl Film Festival (Milwaukee, US)

A society of women who shape the world with their imagination: international.

Covid status: virtual.

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Fusion Film Festival (New York University, New York US)

Annual celebration of the work of the next generation of women in fil, tv & new media. Multiple screenings, industry panels, pitch meetings, master-classes, retrospectives, and student showcases.

Covid status: cancelled festival but regular virtual events through year.

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High Falls Film Festival (Rochester, New York, US)

Celebrates artistry and innovation of women in film. Inspired by Rochester’s legacy as the birthplace of film and the women’s rights movement. International slate of independent films enhanced by panels, workshops, and talks with filmmakers.

Covid status: season postponed to 2021.

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Imagine This Film Festival (Brooklyn NY, US)

Aims to amplify and empower independent and aspiring womxn filmmakers from around the world, by sharing their work with the public, promoting equal opportunities for BIPOC womxn and the LGBTQIA+ community while providing educational and professional development, and serving as a resource information network.

Covid status: virtual.

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London Lesbian Film Festival (London, Ontario, Canada)

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Canada’s only lesbian film festival. Aims to portray the richness and diversity of lesbian experiences and to strengthen lesbian communities.

Covid status: festival cancelled, drive-in event(s).

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Los Angeles Women in Film Festival (Los Angeles, US)

Champions female identifying filmmakers and female driven storytelling. Affiliate festival of the LA Film Festivals organization with dual emphasis of discovering great talent with the purpose of promoting their work to both the LA public and the entertainment industry and showcasing work of seasoned professionals and well-known stars.

Covid status: cancelled. Next edition 2021.

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Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival (Los Angeles, US)

Provides a platform for women filmmakers worldwide to share their unique stories and cultural experiences with Los Angeles’ diverse audience. Programming reflects Alliance of Women Filmmakers’ mission to educate and inform audiences of social, political, and health issues impacting women globally.

Covid status: IRL Women’s Doc Fest 2020.

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Lunafest travelling in US and Canada.

Short films by, for & about women. Aims to support and nurture the inspiring and often unsung work of talented women filmmakers and to raise funds and awareness for causes that help, empower and give a voice to women from all walks of life. Content is international. Programme available as fundraiser in United States/Canada only. Associated with Luna food & beverages.

Covid status: some travelling events cancelled, virtual events virtual.

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Nevada Women’s Film Festival (Las Vegas, US)

Celebrates and supports the fair representation of women in film, showcases films with a strong female presence, women at the helm, stories that depict women in a positive light with diversity of worldview, background and experience.

Covid status: virtual, with some live events.

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New Negress Film Society (Brooklyn, New York, US)

Collective of Black woman and non-binary filmmakers. Prioritises creation of community and spaces for exhibition, support, and consciousness-raising. Focuses primarily on works that break boundaries in film politically and artistically, are womanist in their content and experimental in form, often some of most challenging for a marginalized filmmaker to create and distribute.

Annual conference convenes Black women and non-binary filmmakers from all over the world to share work, discuss the craft, exchange filmmaking strategies, and build community. Showcases films and hosts conversations between filmmakers, scholars and curators and explores current landscape of cinema and intersections of history, filmmaking, and political action.

Covid status: virtual.

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Post Alley Film Festival (Seattle, US)

Award winning & premiere, female centric (and eccentric) short films from around the block & around the globe: drama, documentary, experimental, archival, narrative, and animation. Some directed by men.

Covid status: postponed.

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POW Film Fest — Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (Portland, Oregon, US)

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Provides space and support to strengthen the community of women in film. Puts strong, women-directed films on screen, features top filmmakers, grows next generation of women filmmakers, and makes it easier for women to make films. POWGirls program: year-round film workshops for girls and non-binary youth ages 15 -19.

Covid status: Virtual local edition — short films only. Also launched POW TV, virtual viewing station for discovering films by women and non-binary filmmakers.

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Queer Women of Color Festival (San Francisco US)

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Screens films created through its programs and high-impact films by independent filmmakers from around the world that authentically reflect the lives of queer women of color (cisgender & transgender), gender nonconforming and transgender people of color (of any orientation).

Addresses vital, intersecting social justice issues that concern multiple communities, nurtures filmmakers as artist-activist leaders to create systemic change and lead social justice movements that incorporate the power of art as cultural resistance, cultural reclamation, cultural resilience and cultural renewal. Boutique distributor.

Covid status: virtual. ASL interpreters for all events.

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Reel Girls Film Festival

All-girls international student film festival, devoted entirely to encouraging and supporting young female filmmakers.

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Reel Sisters of the Diaspora (Brooklyn, New York, US)

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Short films by women of African, Caribbean, Latino, Asian, Indian and Native American descent.

First Academy-Qualifying Film Festival for narrative shorts devoted to women of color. Founded 1997.

Covid status: virtual. Next edition 23–24 October 2021.

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Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival (Colorado Springs, US)

Elevates the stories of women and others who are often unheard or unseen, cultivating a more empathetic and connected community. Showcases documentary, narrative shorts and animated films.

Covid status: virtual (33d edition).

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St John’s International Film Festival (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)

Made by women, for everyone.

Covid status: virtual, geoblocked to Canada only, some to Atlantic Canada only.

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Through Women’s Eyes Film Festival (Sarasota, Florida)

Focuses on increasing local awareness about the situation of women in developing countries and raising funds for UNIFEM programs. Showcases women filmmakers & directors. The films address global issues and highlight the challenges women face.

Covid status: IRL.

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Vancouver Women in Film Festival (Vancouver, Canada)

Short, and feature films — narrative, documentary, experimental and animation — by established and emerging women filmmakers from around the world. Includes an international screenplay competition. Run by WIFT Vancouver.

Covid status: IRL. Next edition March 2021.

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Women’s Film Festival (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US)

Celebration of female expression that encourages women to embrace leading roles in the film and entertainment industry. Forum where men and women can showcase and discuss the artistic presence of women on screen and off. Aims to inspire and cultivate a movement of supporters who celebrate and collaborate the power of women in the film and entertainment industry. Documentary, short, feature, animation, music videos.

Covid status: postponed.

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Women’s Film Festival San Diego (San Diego, CA, US)

Strives to educate and inspire future generations about the experiences and contributions of women through the art of film. Dedicated to supporting women filmmakers and giving them an opportunity to showcase their work. Held at the Women’s Museum of California.

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Women of African Descent Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY, US)

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Showcases films centered around the theme of Linkages: Women, Their Families, Neighborhoods, and the Global Community, and supports artistic development of women filmmakers of African descent by providing a supportive exhibition platform, offering stipends to participants, and seeking industry opportunities that will help to expose the filmmakers’ works and further their careers.

Covid status: 19th edition virtual.

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Women Texas Film Festival (Dallas, US)

Leaders. Radicals. Storytellers.

Covid status: online.

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Women’s Film Festival (Brattleboro, Vermont US)

Celebrates movies from around the world. Platform for women to tell their own stories. Documentaries, feature films and shorts. Major fundraiser for the Women’s Freedom Center, a non-profit domestic and sexual violence organization.

Covid status: postponed.

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Women’s Independent Film Festival (Tarzana California US)

Gives voice to womxn filmmakers from every part of the world.

Covid status: postponed.

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Women’s International Film and Arts Festival (New York; Miami, Florida US)

Empowering Women’s Visions, Dreams & Voices. WIFF’s mission is to empower women’s artistic vision internationally. Our goal is to encourage the marketing and distribution of films throughout the world primarily producing an annual women’s international film and arts festival in New York and smaller events in South Florida.

Covid status: cancelled 2020, making plans for future.

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CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

Warm thanks to Luísa Pécora of Mulher no Cinema, for her assistance with this region.

Cabíria Festival (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Screens films directed by women. Started as an award for screenplays with female protagonists and it evolved to a festival in 2019. The award still exists and is given at the festival.

Covid status: virtual.

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Cine de la Mujer Marialionza (Yaracuy, Venezuela)

La mujer y la simbología patriarcal. Desnudamos la decadencia de las viejas instituciones./Women and patriarchal symbols. We expose the decadence of the old institutions. Still active but last festival 2015.

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Cinefem — Festival Internacional de Cine de la Mujer (Punta del Este, Uruguay)

CineFem, Uruguay’s first international women’s film festival, is a space to reflect on the role of women in cinema and in our society. CineFem, the woman’s view.

Covid status: IRL.

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DIGO International Film Festival on Gender and Sexual Diversity of Goiás (Goiânia, Brazil)

Showcases and raises awareness diversity, gender and sexuality, to promote inclusion, social change and respect for others, through contemporary audiovisual work and urging historical reviews. As an international event, emphasises cross-cultural communication.

Covid status: unknown.

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Encontro Nacional Empoderadas — Mulheres Negras no Audiovisual São Paulo, Brazil (SP)

Screens films with Black women in key creative positions. Project started as a web series about Black women in Brazil and evolved into a festival. First edition 2017.

Covid status: adapted to a lab format?

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FemCine (Santiago, Chile)

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International feature and short film competitions. Includes national Chilean Film School Short Film Competition.

Covid status: virtual.

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FIM — Festival Internacional Mulheres no Cinema (São Paulo, Brazil)

Films directed by women. First edition 2018.

Covid status: virtual.

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FINCAR — International Women Filmmakers Festival (Recife, Pernambuco Brazil)

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Mostra Ela na Tela (Porto Alegre, Brazil)

Screens films directed by women. First edition 2015.

Covid status: uncertain.

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Mostra Lugar de Mulher É no Cinema (Salvador, Brazil)

Short films directed by women or female-centric. First edition 2017.

Covid status: no festival.

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Muestra Internacional de Cine con Perspectiva de Género — MICGénero (Mexico)

Esta muestra es una invitación a cuestionar la forma de ver películas desde una perspectiva de género.

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Tudo Sobre Mulheres — Festival de Cinema Feminino (Cuiabá, Brazil)

Screens films directed by women and about ‘the female universe’: male directors are included.) Started 2005, sixth edition 2019, possibly no plans for future ones.

Covid status: virtual, some shorts from past editions.

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EUROPE

Bechdel Test Fest (in and around London UK)

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All-year celebration of films that represent women in a positive and progressive light. Hidden gems and new releases, covering the spectrum of those who identify as female and as many genres as possible. Post-screening discussions, usually with special guests. Includes podcast: Who Is She? bechdeltestfest.com/podcast

Inspired by cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s comic strip ‘The Rule’ which became a basic measure to see if women are fairly represented in a film: 1: It must have at least two female characters 2: Who both have names 3: Who talk to each other about something other than a man

Covid status: virtual.

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Berlin Feminist Film Week (Berlin, Germany)

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Celebrating artists who challenge the hegemony of white cis-male world of filmmaking.

Covid status: IRL.

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Cinesister (Peterborough UK)

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Showcases and promotes films made with female-identifying filmmakers in a leadership role through film screenings, workshops and events.

Covid status: virtual film club.

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Club Des Femmes (UK)

Queer feminist collective curatorial collective. Offers a freed up space for the re-examination of ideas through art.

Covid status: online events.

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Corto Helvetico Al Femminile: Women’s International Short Film Festival (Ticino, Switzerland)

Every second year. Next edition 2021.

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Demakijaż — Women’s Film Festival/Demakijaż — Festiwal Kina Kobiet (Lublin, Poland)

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designed by Maria Pietras

Organised by Homo Faber Association, the Centre for Culture in Lublin,
and Camera Femina, a Poland-based foundation that advocates for the increasing participation of women in culture and public life through dissemination of the work of female filmmakers, cultural events and year-round workshops.

Includes ‘Carribean voices’ section from Hairouna Film Festival.

Covid status: 5th edition virtual.

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Dispatch | Feminist Moving Image (London & Edinburgh UK)

An intersectional feminist moving image curatorial practice & online platform, with a focus on works created by women. Aims is to bring feminist cinema and theory to all by making screenings accessible, affordable, and educational. Also, a journal, Dispatch.

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Elles Tournent/ Dames Draien (Brussels, Belgium)

Promotes and enhances the work of women in the arts and cultural world in general and particularly in the audiovisual and media sectors, through a festival, research and film tours.

Covid status: postponed to 2021.

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Female Filmmakers Film Festival Berlin (Berlin, Germany)

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Platform to support and amplify diversified voices of women in film and music from across the globe.International short films & feature films of all genres and hand-picked music videos. Panels, networking sessions and discussions about recent topics.

Covid status: IRL (social distancing)

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Femspectives — Glasgow Feminist Film Festival

A film series and festival in Glasgow. Provides a platform for feminist storytelling and safe spaces for conversations about feminisms, social issues, and politics.

Covid status: weekly virtual film club, includes communal viewing and tweet along, zoom chats.

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Festival Cinema d’iDEA International Women’s Film Festival (Rome, Italy)

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Women and transgender filmmakers. A starting and meeting point for the diversification of film culture, the image of women and feminine empowerment, not only in the cinema.

Covid status: 4th edition virtual.

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Festival International de Films de Femmes (Créteil, Paris, France)

Cinema from all over the world, made by women. One of the grandmothers, founded back in 1978.

Covid status: next edition 2021.

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Films Femmes Mediterranée (Marseilles, Hyères etc, France)

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Discovers, supports and exhibits cinema by Mediterranean women directors.

Découvrir, soutenir et diffuser le cinéma des réalisatrices de la Méditerranée.

Covid status: virtual and free.

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FilmMor Women’s Film Festival on Wheels (starts Istanbul, Turkey, and travels throughout Turkey)

To make cinema, to contest, to produce, to dream, to act, for women, with women. Travelling programme, workshops, courses, films.

Covid status: virtual, with screenings, Make Your Own Movie workshop, q&a sessions with audience.

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HER Docs Film Festival (Warsaw, Poland)

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Celebration of documentary, space for exchange of ideas and lively debate, inspiring screenings, meetings, workshops and music events, for those who are curious about the world. Short-, medium- and feature-length

documentaries, documentary animations and video artworks

directed or co-directed by womxn.

Covid status: IRL 2020.

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International Female Film Festival Malmö (Malmö, Sweden)

Annual festival screening feature films, shorts and docs by female directors.

Next edition February 2021.

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International Film Festival Assen| Vrouw & Film (Assen, Netherlands)

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Focuses on role of women in front of and behind the camera, strengthens the position of women in film by providing a platform and encouraging and stimulating female filmmakers. Program of recently released (inter)national titles, exclusive pre-releases and a careful selection of last year’s best films that match the IFA mission.

Covid status: celebrated its 40th edition IRL.

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International Women’s Film Festival/Arab Women Film Festival (Denmark)

Films must be directed by and about women.

Next edition 4–11 March 2021.

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Internationales Frauenfilmfestival/ International Women’s Film Festival (Dortmund/ Koln, Germany)

Platform for the presentation of the latest film developments and trends for women working in all areas of film production. All genres and styles. Networking activities, sharing experience and training opportunities. Questions about production conditions, rights of use, role of international women’s film networks, copyright issues and innovative channels of distribution, workshops about film theory and composition of image.

Covid status: About half the originally planned programme. Next edition: Dortmund April 2021.

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Les 11%

Montrer l’autre moitié de l’histoire du cinéma, sélection de films réalisés par des femmes/ Shows the other half of cinema history, with a selection of films directed by women.

Online, one film each week, with description of film, trailer and link to French VOD.

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Lesbian Film Festival of Freiburg (Germany)

Covid status: cancelled.

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London Feminist Film Festival (London UK)

Celebrating international feminist films past and present.

Covid status: having a break, hopes to be back soon, active on social media.

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La Mostra Internacional de Films de Dones/Barcelona International Women’s Film Festival (Barcelona, Spain)

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Aims to promote films directed by women and give visibility to women’s audiovisual culture. La Mostra distribucions the distributor of many of the festival films and La Mostra edicions is designed to host publications in various formats that continue the knowledge circuit generated during the festival.

Covid status: 28th edition virtual

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Olhares do Mediterrâneo — Women’s Film Festival (Lisbon, Portugal)

Exhibits work of female filmmakers from Mediterranean countries building on partnership with Films Femmes Mediterranée, (Marseille, France) and others.

Covid status: planned for November 2020.

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Porto Femme (Porto, Portugal)

International film festival which aims to give visibility to the work of women filmmakers. Also collaborates with Films Femmes Mediterranée.

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Promover os trabalhos artísticos realizados por mulheres e ainda evidenciar através dos mesmos e do desenvolvimento de actividades de carácter cultural, cívico e social, os direitos das mulheres e da igualdade de género.

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Covid status: virtual, with workshops.

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Prishtina International Women’s Film Week (Prishtina, Albania)

I couldn’t find much about this festival except through its facebook page. But was totally intrigued by its selections.

Covid status: virtual.

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RVK Feminist Fim Festival (Reykjavík, Ísland)

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Aims to strengthen female film directors and equalise gender deficit in the industry.

Next edition 14–17 January 2021.

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Some Prefer Cake — Bologna Lesbian Film Festival (Bologna, Italy)

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Covid status: virtual, including interviews with directors, workshops and book presentations, both online and offline.

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Tricky Women: Animation (Vienna, Austria)

Focuses on animated films made by women. Includes themed programs and retrospectives to present an exciting overview of the animated cinematic art of female artists from around the world and Austrian filmmakers as well. Historical curiosities and contemporary productions, animated documentaries, student works and cinematographic reflection on the complex work/society are festival anchors. Exhibitions, workshops and Best Practice-afternoons. Contributes to other festivals.

Covid status: Cut short and then ‘reloaded’ virtually.

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Uçan Süpürge International Women’s Film Festival/ Flying Broom International Women’s Film Festival (Ankara, Turkey)

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Aims to increase communication, co-operation and solidarity amongst women, transfer their experiences to the next generation, and establish a national and international communication network. Feature-length, short, documentary and animation films by women directors from Turkey and around the world, presented within a framework of specific themes, panels, discussions and exhibitions.

Covid status: virtual, including discussions, Women’s Cinema Programme.

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Underwire Film Festival (UK)

The UK’s largest festival celebrating female talent across the crafts.

Covid status: postponed to September 2021.

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VisualizaMe (Madrid/Almeria, Spain)

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Short films.

Covid status: IRL.

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Women of the Lens (London, England)

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Annual. Showcases black women.

Covid status: virtual.

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Women Over 50 Film Festival (London, UK)

Champions and showcases the work of older women on screen and behind the camera with an annual short film festival and year round events and film screenings.

Covid status: virtual.

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Women X (Darlington, England)

Celebrates women and non-binary filmmakers. Also a film production company.

Covid status: virtual.

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Womxnchester International Film Festival (Manchester UK)

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Manchester’s only festival celebrating women in film.

Next edition 2021.

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OCEANIA

Fem&ist Films (Melbourne, Australia)

Uses moving image to explores how female and gender diverse empowerment operates in different communities, investigates who feels represented by feminism, who doesn’t, and why. Thus, both celebrates and critically engages in contemporary feminist discourse.

Covid status: IRL 2020.

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NB They have some lovely pix on their instagram Sept 2020

Melbourne Women in Film Festival (Melbourne, Australia)

Celebrates and supports the work of women filmmakers and creatives. Short films and web series from women filmmakers working in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the island nations of the wider Moana Oceania. Encourages submissions from First Nations women, women of colour, women with disability and Deaf communities, and LGBTIQ-identified women.

Covid status: IRL 2020.

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Sydney Women’s International Film Festival (Sydney Australia)

A film festival for women, by women. SWIFF is a place where female filmmakers are celebrated, supported, and can network.

Covid status: IRL 2020.

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If you’re looking for #womeninfilm databases and related initiatives, there’s a list here.

Originally published at https://wellywoodwoman.blogspot.com.

Written by

Marian Evans. Stories by & about women artists, writers and filmmakers. Global outlook, from Aotearoa New Zealand.