California Women’s Film Festival


January 2018 selections and Winners

Official Selections

Abigail And Libby 

Dir. Kelsey J. Nash

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

Abigail, a type-A basket case and Libby, her A-list shrink, must uncover the secrets of inner peace...before Abigail strikes again !!

All Good 

Dir. Jessica Petelle

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 3

Leila (Diana Gitelman) is white-knuckling it tonight. After spending the evening at a wedding reception fulfilling her duties as the Maid of Honor, she has returned to her hotel suite to hide away from temptation and maintain her near 6 months of sobriety.


Dir. Francesca Nobili

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

A docu-claymation about the invention of Amatriciana sauce, an ancient story of taste, research and passion.

American Boy 

Dir. Audrey Arkins

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

Alex Lopez is a happy, normal kid...until the outside world comes crashing in.

Beauty School 

Dir. Samantha Shada

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

A young girl learns what it takes to behave like a woman with a little help from her older cousin, and the beauty industry.


Dir. Whitney Catandella

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

A mother struggles to find peace during the final days of her daughter's life.


Dir. Aaron Bush

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

A young girl escapes the oppression of her alcoholic mother with the help of her best friend, the monster who lives under her bed.

Bi The Way 

Dir. Sarah Kaufmann

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 2

"Bi The Way" is an absurd drama short about the struggle of a bisexual guy, Eren, and his traditional Turkish family. Eren decides to introduce his boyfriend, Nicholas, over a family dinner. Little does he know that his mother Su invited Eren’s ex-girlfriend Lisa. Ultimately, leading into a catastrophic conflict of viewpoints.


Dir. Bita Elahian

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 6

The Young man after seven marriage fights with his wife about having children, not realizing that their lives are about to change forever.


Dir. Loyd Bateman

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

Day in, day out we make hundreds of decisions, big and small, but have you ever wondered if those decisions are truly coming from within you? How strongly are we influenced by those closest to us as we pave our path in life?


Dir. Cris Graves

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 4

BOZONOVA is a bawdy comedy about a professional clown gigolo who sets out to exact his revenge on his former protégé and nemesis.

Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk

Dir. LIsa McNeely

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

Olivia’s life is made up of tennis lessons and video games until one day Sammi, a kind of, sort of friend from camp, pops back in to her life. As the two get closer Olivia gets farther away from herself.


Dir. Chloe Gebacz

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 3

A young woman's interrupted masturbation forces her to explore alternative methods for release.


Dir. Tyna Ezenma

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 2

“Dedication” is the story of a maid working in a hotel who uses a black magic spell in the hopes of harnessing the talent of one of the hotel’s frequent guests—an eccentric writer—and passing it on to her unborn son.

Eagle Wings 

Dir. Paloma Perez

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 3

A supposedly cured paranoid schizophrenic goes on her first normal date in years, but despite her treatment, her delusions start to return and things go very very wrong.

Eat Me! 

Dir. Ilina Perianova

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 3

Glittering socialite Laura starts slipping from the daily reality of a weight obsessed rich man's mistress.

Fast, Fierce And Fabulous 

Dir. Emilio Martinez

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

An elite private investigator injured on the job must decide whether to branch out on her own or trust the judgement of the man who was her trainer.

Finn’s Whistle 

Dir. Kelsey Selby

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

Finn Ellis, a spunky, imaginative, and confident ten year old, lives in a small suburb with her father and sick mother. Finn only wants one thing, for her mom to recover. Finn's mother has told stories of a 'magic whistle' that was a childhood keepsake, something that always made things better. Finn embarks on a journey to find the magic whistle in hope to save her mom before it's to late.

Force Of Evil 

Dir. Jordan Tager

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 4

The stop motion video for the song “Force of Evil", produced by animator Jordan Tager, was created using paper which she hand painted with gouache. Contrasting barren and lush landscapes, the video plays on the song's idea of self renewal. Self centeredness and the constant dismissal of Earth's decaying ecosystems will eventually lead to the destruction of our home planet. How much time do we have left?

Forty Nine Fifty

Dir. Crystal Pastis

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

Human connection emerges from the most unexpected of places when an EMT responds to a suicide threat.

Get Home Safe 

Dir. Larissa Pruett

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

Joystick Games created 3rd person adventure game, 'Get Home Safe.' The object of the game is to walk home from the bar as a woman, and get home safe.

Girl Code 

Dir. Casey Gates

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

When girls talk, there's what they say, and what they're REALLY saying. The story is about two ex-best friends running into each other at the gym. But what you'll get is a closer look at female friendships and how women communicate, for better or worse.

Here, Hold Grandma

Dir. Emily McGregor

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 6

Ellen, a nitpicking wasp, and Kelly, her free-spirited, 20-something daughter clash in the desert while fulfilling Grandma’s final wish… to spread her ashes on the exact spot Ellen was conceived.

Hot Break 

Dir. Lisa Demaine

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

Post divorce and mommy-hood, Lexi Futterman uses unusual tactics to break back into the TV writing biz, and she's taking a handsome young millennial along with her!

Hot Girls 

Dir. Alberto Belli

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

What if Michael Bay directed HBO's Girls? A sobering look at Hollywood directors' sexist take on women.

I Am Rebecca 

Dir. Kate McCaslin & Eve Doherty

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

I Am Rebecca traces the story of Rebecca Mabior, a refugee living in the midwest, and follows her to the women's march in Washington, D.C. in search for equality in today's political landscape.

In Between 

Dir. Melissa Perl

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

A man struggling to communicate with his 60 year-old father has to rely on his 10 year-old son for help.

In Flames 

Dir. Carissa Kacmarek

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

A couple goes into the woods for a romantic getaway, when a drifter crashes their weekend. Will their quality time go up in flames?

It Began Without Warning

Dir. Jessica Curtright & Santiago C. Tapia

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

Change is coming.

Katie And Ben 

Dir. Nell Teare

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 2

A vignietted dramedy of a modern day romance: the romantic beginnings, the falling in love, the falling apart, and finding each other on the other side.

Kill The Devil 

Dir. Ryland Swartz

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

An uncompromising young writer/actress tries to pitch a new screenplay but can't get anyone to listen.

Killed In Action 

Dir. Christine Weatherup

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

A WWII widow is visited by a troubled veteran who served with her husband. He shares a dark secret he’s been keeping from the war... but can she come to accept it?


Dir. Carrie Prince

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

Minny struggles to reconnect to a time in her life when she felt pure joy. Unsure if she can trust her memories, she sets out to learn if such happiness ever truly existed, and if it's possible to feel again.

Lady Labyrinth 

Dir. Jo Pratta

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

After a very painful divorce, Dina feels depressed and disoriented. Meditating in labyrinths, she walks her way back to herself and her passions.

Light As A Feather 

Dir. Lisa J Dooley

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

A ghost story told at a spooky sleepover becomes all too real.

Little Elizabeth 

Dir. Elizabeth Ayiku

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

A woman with childhood trauma takes a compassionate journey in order to heal herself.


Dir. Katie Larsen

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

A young woman wakes in a precarious situation, with a strange man, who will decide if she lives or dies.


Dir. Kiki Finley

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 3

Melanin is a poem written by a 13 year old girl as a class assignment about learning and encouraging her friends to appreciate all different skin tones.


Dir. Juan Escobedo

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

A little girl from East LA dreams of the perfect Quinceañera dress when her life takes a drastic turn after an incident of domestic violence.


Dir. Nicole Taro

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

A woman with multiple personality disorder recounts a murder she committed from her different personalities in a 1950’s mental ward.

Muscle Memory 

Dir. Flo Miles

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 6

A short film about family, memory and cutlery.


Dir. Janice Wu

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

Martha, an established pianist, struggles with her mother's pressure and the looming shadow of her young prodigy brother, Niccolo, who went deaf at a young age.

Noble Creatures 

Dir. Daniel Lafrentz

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

Two adversarial escaped convicts - with different ideas about how to hold onto their freedom - are hunted through the Louisiana swamp by a tortured, but resolute, female corrections officer.

Nose Job 

Dir. Michelle Gritzer

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 4

After being dismissed in the middle of an audition by an ego-maniacal director because of her large nose, Sarah decides she's had enough. She pulls a gun and holds the director and the casting director hostage until they allow her to complete her audition.

Oil Men 

Dir. Samuel Larson

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 3

Oil Men is the first film to share the story of Canada's controversial oil sands through the lens of female characters.

Operation Baby 

Dir. S. Sharath Chandra

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

A young Couple Who Desperately wants a baby goes crazy trying anything and everything to get Pregnant and save their marriage.

Path Of Dreams 

Dir. Tamara Ruppart

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

In poetic Japan, Ono no Komachi, a beautiful poetess, strikes a tantalizing bargain with Shosho, a charming and eager suitor. If he comes to write poetry with her for 99 nights, she says they will have the possibility of creating a love more beautiful than poetry. Only on the 99th night, will she take him as her lover.


Dir. Brandon Jameson

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

In the fall of 1943, Pearl, the unwanted infant daughter of a society couple, is thrust into the wary arms of her beautiful, stylish Grandmother.


Dir. Siena Pinney

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

"Possibility" is a dreamlike exploration of two defining moments in a young couple’s life as they struggle with the decision to have an abortion.


Dir. Haidi Marburger, Nina Hoffmann & Ramon Arango

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

A grieving mother uses left behind data to create a replica of her dead son. Her longing wish to have him back seems fulfilled, but soon the child must realize the limits of his artificial existence.


Dir. Sarah Willgrube

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 6

A former couple reunites under circumstances for one final moment of closure.


Dir. Nina Rausch

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 2

When your life doesn't go the way you planned, it might be time to consider a reset. Matt and Amy have the kids from hell, and perhaps it is time to start over! In this dark comedy, Matt has to convince his wife their life would be better without the kids, and they should consider selling them...


Dir. Amy Williams

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 2

The beauty and breath of youth takes a turn for the worst when an intoxicated teen finds her asthmatic friend unconscious at a college party.


Dir. Kätlyn Cuilla-Martinez

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

A dark comedy about a young rocker couple go through a break up at an inappropriate time.


Dir. Amit Hagin & Ido Hagin

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 3

Lea lives alone with her mother but she’s kept secret from her mother’s new boyfriend. While her mother is juggling between her parenting life and her love life, Lea delves deeper into her childlike mysterious world.

Selling Isobel 

Dir. Rudolf Buitendash

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 6

A thriller about sex-trafficking based on true events, featuring the real victim in true life playing herself.


Dir. Keyan Miao

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

How a teenager's life should be? Preparing for college? Hanging out with friends? Volunteering for the community? Saoirse can enjoy none of these. She has a more serious case to deal with. Her family is about to falling apart because of a secret. Her secret.


Dir. Mary Gulino

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 3

Sherry is an unassuming receptionist at a dance studio until the day she seizes an opportunity to “be brave.”


Dir. Benjamin Janicki

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 3

In medieval Norway, a defiant young Viking woman named Sigrid is thrust into a fight for survival when a violent raiding party invades her homeland. Now, Sigrid must use all her training as a Shieldmaiden to defend her people as the rival clan begins to hunt her down.


Dir. Nika Burnett

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 6

An English-Italian farce about communication, and miscommunication.

Sweet Blight 

Dir. Carlos Moreno Jr.

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

After eight years, Celisse confronts her assailant...once best friend... and her daughter's father. Can her daughter Maya, Celisse's SWEET BLIGHT, help her find beauty through tragedy.

Tampons, Our Closest Enemy 

Dir. Audrey Gloaguen

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 3

This is an International investigation about dangers of the tampons. Cases of menstrual toxic shocks are increasing around the world and woman that have been close to death are witnessing. Thanks to independant studies and tests, we know now that tampons contain dioxinS, toxic components, among 10 the most dangerous chemicals classified by the WHO.

The Caregiver 

Dir. Ally Downs

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

An elderly man who has lost the will to live hires a new caregiver who is down on her luck and together they help each other find hope and meaning in life.

The Changing Room 

Dir. Elisabeth Seldes Annacone

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

THE CHANGING ROOM – is an award-winning hybrid narrative & documentary. The narrative tells the story of Joelle Asher, who has a complete meltdown while shopping for an outfit to wear on a blind date, while the documentary end sequence features realwomen talking about their personal changing room experiences

The Flood 

Dir. Adam Dietrich

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 1

An elderly man, Mick (Ed Asner) loses his wife of fifty years to illness. The Flood explores the strength and frailty of the human spirit and the bonds we create as Mick tries to piece a life together and manage his grief without the love of his life.

The Funeral Party 

Dir. Ryan H Gowland & Patrick McGinley

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 4

Three people use a work party to further their own lives: Julia is trying to impress a rich executive while covering up a dark secret about her her angry boyfriend from his Russian maid while Ryan tries to leverage a new job for himself, and Molly attempts to sell her romance novel.

The Galen Project 

Dir. Brooke Cookie Schulte & Sarah Schulte

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 2

Consumed by the death of her brother, Kieran is forced into rehab where she must confront her addiction.

The Good Samaritan 

Dir. Brooklyn Hudson

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 1

A homeowner gets more than she bargains for when she lets a child with a skinned knee into her home to wait for his family to pick him up.

The Hopeless Journey 

Dir. Dontell Antonio

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 4

As a consequence of her mother's selfish and bad life choices, a teenage girl is forced to live a dangerous life without hope it will end.

The King In The Ring 

Dir. Heather Hillstrom

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 4

Through a documentary lens, this drama follows an underground boxing ring where participants pay to fight a man who looks like Jesus Christ.

The Lottery 

Dir. Karen Linton

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

What kind of life can you have when your life is assigned for you by your government?

One young woman tries to exercise what little freedom she has in order to change her life.

The Purple Hat 

Dir. Gregory Doucette

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 2

New Orleans - The French Quarter - 1938. It rains heavily as a mysterious stranger walks into a bar and tells his story. He expects to see a woman murdered tonight. Again. He thinks she's a ghost, for he's seen her murdered twice. Each time by a

young man...always a different young man...

The Romantic Method 

Dir. Maggie Hart

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 2

After a breakup, a young woman decides to take emotions out of dating and find her soulmate using logic, statistics, and The Romantic Method.

The Same Conversation 

Dir. Marjorie DeHey

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 4

Relationships are difficult and there is always that one argument, that one conversation that couples have over and over again.

The Shower 

Dir. Jen Sanders

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

An homage to Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel, The Shower is a dark comedy about a baby shower that goes on too long.

This Is Jack

Dir. Darrett Sanders & Amanda Tepe

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

When Mr. G assigns a future-self writing assignment it forces Jack to look deeper into his fears, insecurities and confusion. 

Those Lips 

Dir. Steven Krimmel

Sunday  1/14/2018 Block 2

A young woman discovers the horrors of her plastic surgeon and his eerily similar patients.

What Happened At The Rio

Dir. John Dassonville

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 5

A 20th Century gumshoe butts heads with his 21st Century secretary. Too bad they’re called assistants these days.

When Kids Grow Up 

Dir. Shahaub Roudbari

Friday  1/12/2018 Block 1

WHEN KIDS GROW UP is a short action drama exploring the harsh pathology of violence. With her car broken down on the side of the road, soft-spoken Mackenzie takes refuge in a bar nearby. Approached by a group of men offering help, pleasantries quickly escalate to savage aggression. Much to their surprise, Mackenzie soon reveals her brutal intent.

Wisdom Teeth 

Dir. Sydney Gabel

Saturday  1/13/2018 Block 3

A young woman goes to a job interview after getting her wisdom teeth taken out.

Audience Award Winners

(Audience Winners will be posted by Jan. 16th)

1st Place

Hot Break Dir. Lisa Demaine

2nd Place

Path Of Dreams Dir. Tamara Ruppart

3rd Place (Tie)

The Caregiver Dir. Ally Downs

Sweet Blight Dir. Carlos Moreno Jr.

Blame Dir. Bita Elahian

Jury Category Winners

(Category Winners will be presented at the end of the film’s screening block)

Best Feature Film

Selling Isobel Dir. Rudolf Buitendash

(Presented at the end of Block 6 on Saturday 1/13/2018)

Best Short Film

The Hopeless Journey Dir. Dontell Antonio

(Presented at the end of Block 4 on Saturday 1/13/2018)

Best Feature Documentary

Tampons, Our Closest Enemy Dir. Audrey Gloaguen

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Sunday 1/14/2018)

Best Short Documentary

I Am Rebecca Dir. Kate McCaslin & Eve Doherty

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Saturday 1/13/2018)

Best Student Film

Eat Me! Dir. Ilina Perianova

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Sunday 1/14/2018)

Best Foreign Film

Secret Dir. Amit Hagin & Ido Hagin

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Sunday 1/14/2018)

Best Animation

Proxy Dir. Haidi Marburger, Nina Hoffmann & Ramon Arango

(Presented at the end of Block 1 on Saturday 1/13/2018)

Best Music Video

Force Of Evil Dir. Jordan Tager

(Presented at the end of Block 4 on Saturday 1/13/2018)

Best Experimental Film

Melanin Dir. Kiki Finley

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/13/2018)

Best Feature Script

Ripple by Heather Faris

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 1/12/2018)

Best Short Script

Never Loving David by Kelly Jean Karam

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 1/12/2018)


Feature Script Finalist

Akatewa by Jean-Marie Mazaleyrat & Edith Woi

As An Actress by Maria Hinterkoerner

Subterfuge by Paula Brancato

The Ache For Distant Places by Rosemary Griggs

The Polish Medallion by Sivonne Smith

The Venus Syndrome by Lynn Vincentnathan

Short Script Finalist

Borderline by Adriana Dushaj

Little Texas by Marissa Vonn

Scary Lucy by Sheila Schroeder

The Cull by Leslie Linder

Jury Creative Nominees

(Creative Winners will be announced and presented during the opening night party on Friday, Jan. 12th which starts at 10pm)

Best Director

Tamara Ruppart - Path Of Dreams

Rudolf Buitendash - Selling Isobel

Ilina Perianova - Eat Me!

Dontell Antonio  - The Hopeless Journey

Amy Williams - Respire

Best Actress

Morgana Wise - Loophole

Marissa Labog - When Kids Grow Up

Luella Hill - Sweet Blight

Lindsey Shope - The Lottery

Frida Farrell - Selling Isobel

Best Supporting Actress

Nicole Barre - Nobel Creatures

Luiza Grigorova - Eat Me!

Cameo Sherrell - Dedication

Ally Downs - The Caregiver

Cameran Surles - Katie And Ben

Best Actor

TJ Kayama - Path Of Dreams

Ed Asner - The Flood

Wesley Williamson - The Hopeless Journey

Gabriel Olds - Selling Isobel

Micah Hauptman  -  Killed In Action

Jury Creative Winners

(Creative Winners will be announced and presented during the opening night party on Friday, Jan. 12th which starts at 10pm)

Best Director

Amy Williams - Respire

Best Actress

Frida Farrell - Selling Isobel

Best Supporting Actress

Cameran Surles - Katie And Ben

Best Actor

Wesley Williamson - The Hopeless Journey