Photo by Charles Fair

St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (Canada)

Established in 1989, the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is renowned as one of the most enduring women’s film festivals globally. It has emerged as the premier film event in the province with a dedicated vision of fostering and championing the creative endeavors of women in screen-based industries on a worldwide scale.
Operating tirelessly throughout the year, the festival curates a rich and varied program encompassing independent film screenings, top-notch workshops, masterclasses, international film forums, immersive youth filmmaking camps, and impactful mentorship initiatives. With an impressive influx of over 600 film submissions annually, the festival crafts a compelling lineup featuring international documentaries, short films, and feature presentations, showcased prominently during its signature five-day extravaganza.
A standout component is the Film Industry Forum, an integral part of the festival week. This forum is a hub of activity, hosting panels, workshops, and direct interactions, providing a platform for filmmakers and producers to engage deeply with the business aspects of filmmaking. While the Forum delves into the intricacies of the industry, the festival itself serves as a jubilant celebration of women’s contributions to cinema on the global stage.


Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival (USA)

Established in 1988 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival holds the distinction of being the most enduring women’s film festival in North America. Each year, the festival presents an array of documentary features, shorts, and narratives, attracting women filmmakers from across the globe who actively participate in post-screening Q&A sessions and engaging forums.

Spanning three days in November, the festival not only culminates in its main event but also features a week-long “Festival in the Community” program, providing complimentary film screenings. In addition to these offerings, the festival extends its impact through a dedicated youth outreach program tailored for at-risk youths. Beyond the main festival, the organization orchestrates an April event spotlighting award-winning short films, and come June, it hosts an enriching weekend workshop tailored for filmmakers.


Créteil International Women’s Film Festival (France)

For the past 29 years, the Créteil International Women’s Film Festival has stood as a guiding light, dedicated to discovering and championing women film directors on a global scale. Held at the Maison des Arts de Créteil, the festival has evolved into a distinctive professional platform, specifically highlighting women’s cinema and auteur filmmaking, long marginalized and underrepresented.

This festival plays a pivotal role not only in the local and national spheres but also on the broader European and international cinematic stages. It actively emphasizes the unique perspectives of women in interpreting society, paying tribute to the contributions of actresses, scriptwriters, film editors, cinematographers, and all women involved in the filmmaking process.

Celebrating the rich tapestry of diverse perspectives and cultures, the festival applauds the invaluable contributions of women in various roles within the film industry, including actresses, scriptwriters, and cinematographers. Drawing an annual audience of over 130 women filmmakers and 20,000 spectators, the festival delves into the exploration of human qualities through nuanced storytelling, engaging with essential gender issues.

Showcasing a curated selection of 200+ films from over two dozen countries, the festival extends a global invitation to women filmmakers, fostering crucial forums and debates. An integral part of its legacy, the “Leçons de cinema” tradition spans two decades, featuring revered figures who share profound cinematic insights and life lessons, including luminaries such as Agnès Varda and Mira Nair.


IFEMA – International Female Film Festival Malmö (Sweden)

Since its inception in 2006, IFEMA has held the distinction of being the oldest film festival in Sweden dedicated to female directors. This annual event shines a spotlight on the creative contributions of female filmmakers, showcasing a diverse array of feature films, shorts, and documentaries from both Sweden and around the globe. Organized by the non-profit organization Imagenes del Sur, IFEMA serves as a crucial platform for the artistic expressions of women in the film industry.

Beyond its role as a film festival, IFEMA is a dynamic cultural event designed to foster conversations and discussions around women’s stories. By providing a dedicated space for films created by female directors, the festival seeks to promote inclusivity and amplify the voices of women in cinema. Additionally, IFEMA plays a pivotal role in strengthening the presence of women in the Swedish film industry, contributing to a more equitable and diverse landscape.

Porto Femme – International Film Festival (Portugal)

The Porto Femme – International Women’s Film Festival, an initiative by the XX Element Project – Cultural Association, is a vibrant celebration of women in cinema, conceived with the purpose of promoting artistic endeavors by women. Positioned as a powerful tool to counter the underrepresentation of women in the film industry, this festival goes beyond an annual event, featuring both monthly sessions and a dedicated yearly film festival that encapsulates the essence of women’s vision.

Nestled in the heart of Porto, this international film festival serves as a dynamic platform for the widespread recognition of women filmmakers. Its commitment extends to fostering a rich tapestry of stories and perspectives while championing the increased presence of women in the film industry. The festival hosts competitions that honor outstanding features, short films, documentaries, animations, and experimental films. Notably, films addressing women’s fights and rights are acknowledged through the prestigious Women’s Fights and Rights Award.

Beyond its cinematic showcases, Porto Femme unfolds as a space for workshops, exhibitions, and debates, offering a holistic experience for both creators and enthusiasts. The festival further distinguishes itself by paying homage to influential women filmmakers who have left an indelible mark on Portuguese cinema. Past tributes include luminaries like Monique Rutler, Margarida Cordeiro, Isabel Ruth, Fernanda Lapa, Cucha Carvalheiro, Margarida Gil, Manuela Serra, and Teresa Madruga.

With a commitment to showcasing the diversity of genres, themes, and languages, Porto Femme crafts a varied program that prioritizes the representativeness and empowerment of women on the grand cinematic stage. This festival stands as a testament to the vibrant creativity and impactful contributions of women in the world of film.


China Women’s Film Festival (China)

Established in 2013, the China Women’s Film Festival, an annual initiative organized by the Crossroads Centre Beijing, emerges as a pivotal event dedicated to championing women’s rights and shedding light on gender inequality through the powerful medium of films and art. This festival, a beacon for dialogue and education on women’s issues in China, stands as a significant contributor to fostering awareness and change.

At the core of these festivals is a commitment to confronting gender disparities through a diverse array of films, forums, and discussions focused on women’s issues. By providing a platform for cinematic exploration and thought-provoking dialogue, the CWFF endeavors to amplify public awareness of female directors, women in the arts, and the myriad challenges faced by women and LGBTQ+ individuals globally.

The festivals serve as a nexus for national and international filmmakers, academics, and female activists, fostering networking opportunities, idea exchange, and the strengthening of women’s roles within the film community. A curated selection of foreign and Chinese films, illuminating women’s lives and narratives, underscores the universality of the struggle for gender equality. These films, sourced from diverse regions, collectively highlight that while challenges may vary, true gender equality remains an unattained goal worldwide. Even in developed countries with progressive social movements, women contend with stigmas, roadblocks, and the enduring presence of the glass ceiling. The China Women’s Film Festival takes a stand as a catalyst for change, inspiring reflection, challenging norms, and paving the way for a more inclusive cinematic landscape.


Bucharest Feminist Film Festival (Romania)

The Bucharest Feminist Film Festival explores the challenges faced by both women and men in contemporary patriarchal societies. The film selection addresses topics such as feminism and intersectionality, human rights, gender roles, stereotypes and norms, discrimination, migration, gender-based violence, safety in public spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, policies regulating women’s bodies, and perceptions and attitudes towards beauty standards and social pressures.


Dublin Feminist Film Festival (Ireland)

Established in 2014, the Dublin Feminist Film Festival (DFFF) stands as an independent annual event dedicated to promoting and celebrating female filmmakers. Operating on a non-competitive model and fueled by the passion of dedicated volunteers, the festival carries a profound mission: to challenge prevailing perceptions of female filmmaking through the universal joy of experiencing film.
As of June 2022, DFFF has been driven by a dynamic group of committed volunteers. While facing recent changes within the team, a challenging decision has been made to take a brief hiatus these last years., but DFFF remains committed to supporting women in film.

At its core, Dublin Feminist Film Festival is a beacon for the empowerment and inspiration of female filmmakers. Beyond spotlighting women on-screen, the festival passionately champions the often-overlooked figures behind the camera. By celebrating and showcasing outstanding female filmmaking, DFFF not only affirms that women create compelling and complex characters and subjects but also aims to inspire others to join the dynamic world of filmmaking.