California Women’s Film Festival


January 2021 selections and Winners

Official Selections


Dir. Chia Chen & Jack Gastelbondo

Lena and Nick ran away together to live the free life they seek, but only to confront the past they couldn't outrun.

A Life In Three Letters

Dir. Vanessa Ndombe

Seth, a 33 years old African American has to face his past loss and fears in order to move forward in his marriage.


Dir. Nathan Caywood

'admitted' is a dark comedy that sheds light via first person perspective on the stigma surrounding mental health. It is set in a state-funded health facility, and follows Lili, a strong-minded woman who willingly admits herself in-patient. Now on her second suicide attempt, she is patiently waiting to get well while steadily continuing to lose her mind. Her stay, which could be a few days to several weeks, is sweetly shortened by a new set of friends within the facility's confines.

ALA KACHUU - Take and Run

Dir. Maria Brendle

Sezim (19) wants to fulfil her dream of studying in the Kyrgyz capital when she gets kidnapped by a group of young men and taken to the hinterland. There she’s forced to marry a stranger. If she refuses the marriage, she is threatened with social stigmatization and exclusion. Torn between her desire for freedom and the constraints of Kyrgyz culture, Sezim desperately seeks for a way out.

April Kills The Vibe

Dir. Bonnie Mckee

What are our responsibilities to our friends- especially on a wild night out?  After a rowdy New Year’s Eve in Hollywood, party girl April wakes up and realizes she’s been sexually assaulted. Spiraling and unclear on what happened, she does her best to hide it from her sober, responsible boyfriend Grant until she can call her fairweather friend Lola to fill in the blanks.


Dir. Kate Campbell

An 80-year-old Woman Airforce Service Pilot remembers her audacious attempt to fight for military status and for a flag to be placed on her fellow pilot’s coffin near the end of WWII. After flying a collective 60 million miles in service with 1078 other women pilots between 1942-1944 in a specialized training program designed to free the male pilots for battle, she and the Lost Last Class of Avenger Field are abruptly disbanded, shamed for taking the jobs of men, denied military status and forced to pay their own way home.

C. U. Next Tuesday

Dir. Diana Levy

At this yoga studio, karma's a bitch.

Celeste’s Dreams

Dir. Iona Morris

When a creative young woman becomes the same age her mother was when she passed, her life stagnates, forcing her to reconcile a longstanding fear and opening up an opportunity for her to pursue their shared dream.

Coastal Requiem

Dir. Diane Tuft

Coastal Requiem investigates the plight of displacement due to climate change amongst five coastal communities around the globe. Weaving Diane Tuft's photography and haikus with deeply personal interviews, the short film portrays the global climate refugee crisis due to rising sea levels.

Coffee With Exes

Dir. Jessica Bishop

This female driven plot depicts a woman reconnecting with her former relationships as she struggles to figure it out romantically. From the "Here's Your Shit Back coffee" to the "Wanna Hook Up for Old Time's Sake coffee", Jess reconnects with all her exes over multiple cups of Joe. Ultimately, she realizes that the real person she’s been looking to reconnect with is herself. Armed with the new empowerment of her ‘enoughness’, she is finally ready to move forward in life and love. “It’s time to find a new coffee shop.”

Countdown To Year Zero

Dir. Jane Velez-Mitchell

Countdown to Year Zero hones in on an unprecedented global disaster that is rapidly unfolding. If we don't take meaningful action on climate change now we may soon reach a point of no return. This film offers a specific solution to reverse climate change that centers around the daily choices everyone makes. Be inspired by world renowned social media influencers, activists and celebrities! Learn what others are doing and how, together, we have the power to heal our planet.


Dir. Nourah Al Hasawi

Student Film - “Courage”


Dir. Maya Korn

After surviving assault, an enigmatic 17-year-old Mexican girl finds retribution through her untapped female power and local witch culture.

Equally Shared Parenting — A Feminist Issue

Dir. Emma Johnson

When parents divorce or break up, most of the time the kids stay with the mom, with visits with dad. That seemed to make sense, and is assumed to be what is best for kids. But single moms are overwhelmed, exhausted — and resentful of this arrangement.  This film explains not only why 50/50 parenting is actually what is best for kids but how equally shared parenting liberates both men and women from dated gender norms, and is a critical tool for torpedoing inequality.


Dir. Anna Friedland

Documentary telling the story of hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.


Dir. Carissa Niciauskas

Musician and Executive Producer Charlotte Moon presents the coming-of-age story of a newborn vampire in the "Fledgling" Music Video. Deriving inspiration from eighties B-grade horror films and contemporary pop music videos, "Fledgling" is a uniquely stylised music video with a compelling storyline and a diverse cast.

Glass Darkly

Dir. Dave Penner & Eli Chance

In 1941 Holland, two Dutch sisters must resort to prostitution to deal with the turmoil of their Nazi-occupied town. Based on a true story.

I Am Normal

Dir. Olia Oparina

A sane woman fakes the symptoms of a mentally unstable patient in order to be admitted into a mental institution for a secret psychiatric experiment. Inspired by the Rosenhan Experiment of 1973.

I want to make a film about women

Dir. Karen Pearlman

‘I want to make a film about women’ is a queer, speculative, documentary love letter to Russian constructivist women. It asks what the revolutionary women artists of the 1920s said, what they did, and what they might have created had it not been for Stalin's suppression.

It's Lawr-uh Not Laura

Dir. Angela Pedraza

Prom queen wanna be Laura is forced to take a trip to Colombia that might put her friendships at risk, but after developing the forgotten film in her grandfather's camera, Laura's unwanted trip turns into a self discovery adventure.


Dir. Renee Ambush

A Song that gives hope and strength so that people can move beyond those things that hold them in bondage and in a state of fear to a place of hope and life in abundance. IIt leaves the listener with inspiration there is Destiny Over Drama.


Dir. Anna Niebert

Grieving the suicide of her best friend, a young college student decides to take matters into her own hands and confront the perpetrator that caused her friends downward spiral.


Dir. Tessa Germaine

In 1943 America, factory worker Rose Donnelly must stand up for her female co-workers when their supervisor ignores blatant harassment and refuses to treat them as equals to their male co-workers. Based on the “We Can Do It!” poster by artist J. Howard Miller.


Dir. April McDonald

Violet muses about what makes a person become evil while watching a man further himself down a very dark path, fantasizing about violence against the women in his life, leading to the two's ultimate collision.

Rubber And Glue

Dir. Cate Dale

A teen must undergo treatment to rid herself of the thing that makes us most human.  Empathy.

Split Second

Dir. Julianne Donelle

When a woman is shoved out of a cafe moments before a grenade is detonated by the very man who commits the attack, she struggles with the guilt of survival as she attempts to uncover the reason why her life was spared when so many others were taken.


Dir. Alicia Buckner

A story about a human trafficking survivor's journey freedom.

Synthetic Love

Dir. Sarah Heitz de Chabaneix

Diane, in her fifties, fantasizes about the enigmatic Pierre, who works with her at the gas station. When she wins a trip for two around France, she decides to invite him along. But she wasn’t aware that Pierre already has someone quite special in his life…

The Bench

Dir. Savannah Lamble & Rachel Stackpool

Two women. One mythical sex coach. Lots of fun.

The Concert Of Life

Dir. Lina Li

Steven is a poor young boy who loves music, but harsh life, especially his needy family, forced him to face reality. He has to do different jobs to supplement the family income. However, he never loses hope.

The Subject

Dir. Lanie Zipoy

A successful white documentary filmmaker deals with the fallout from his last film, which caught the murder of a Black teenager on tape. Now, someone else is videotaping his every move, threatening his idyllic life.


Dir. Sergine Dumais

Sara is in bed with her lover when her husband calls. When he asks for something in his sock drawer, she runs home, stalling for time, asking endless questions about Wichita, Kansas.

Best Short Script

Crankey Village, NM by Alaina Warren Zachary


Short Script Finalist

Commercial Space by Trent Miller & Lesa Miller

Last Gasp by Cathy Trope

Something Like That by AJ Maryn

The Revver by Michael Hanson & Kelly Moothart

Tiffany Gets Really Mad by Pamela Winfrey

Best Feature Script

Happy Hour by Cynthia Mersten


Feature Script Finalist

Aimo by Maggie Craig

Canary by BetteLou Tobin

Coin Runners by Lisa N Edwards

Indian Summer by Madhu Powar Garg

Life After Lebanon by Joseph Howard Cooper

Ruby’s Diner by Tanya Hilson

Three Women and A Baby by Stacie Gancayco-Adlao