California Women’s Film Festival


January 2023 selections and Winners

Official Selections

7 Minutes in Humor

Dir. Jennylyn Caterina & Chris Game

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 3

A light and charming exploration of the many humors and inconveniences of relationships at their various stages illustrated through a series of comedic and satirical vignettes.

A Ghost Story

Dir. Melissa Ann Bruning

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 3

A World War II veteran on his deathbed tells a hospice therapist about his ghost.

A Marriage

Dir. Rachel Irene Wilke

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 5

An unlikely kinship blossoms between a young, outspoken make-up artist and a reserved, handicapped senior as he plans to reveal his suppressed identity to his estranged wife of 45 years during their vow renewal ceremony.

A Mother's Love

Dir. Marilyn Ghigliotti

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 1

A new mother struggles with the overwhelming task of trusting herself in raising her young son. She finds new strength in the connection with her husband and his gifting her with one last letter from the mother she lost at a young age.

A Name in Your Book

Dir. Elizabeth Mantia

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 6

This is the second part of a trilogy conveying the heartbreak of when a romantic relationship. Singer Songwriter Allen Ling tells his story through lyrics, music and film. "An Name in Your Book" is about a special kind of journal his lover keeps, and what happens when his lover tires of him and moves on to her next adventure.

After Glow

Dir. Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 2

An ex adult star tries to reinvent herself in a world that shuns her existence.


Dir. Holly Andres

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 2

A mother grieving the disappearance of her daughter is compounded by her daughter's belongings finding their way home by way of a river near their home.


Dir. Lauren Adams

Bitty and Minnie pilot their Post Haste Shipping Company vessel, delivering supplies for the ongoing and ambiguous rebuild of a collapsed America. For these pilots, their world is almost entirely contained to the inside of their ship - a self-driving behemoth with no windows onto the landscape that corporate assures them is haunted by dangerous Animals. Minnie has a vicious scar that seems to back up this warning.


Dir. Michelle Bossy

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 2

Seth, a college senior, is home for winter break. He’s spending a day relaxing and shopping on Fairfax Avenue when he’s suddenly confronted by an Orthodox Jewish man asking Seth if he’s Jewish. Seth’s chance encounter leads to a profound spiritual experience with life-changing implications.

Artist, Formerly Known as Varona

Dir. Slava Ushakov

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 5

Ginji and Varona encounter the Mushrooms, a vast underground garbage collecting monopoly that is also the city's criminal network. Varona, in her new persona of a contemporary conceptual artist, gets herself in trouble with the head of the Family forcing Ginji and UB7 to save her.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Dir. Liza Asner

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 1

A Family Thanksgiving Filled With Tsetse Flies, Food Allergies, Second Hand Stores and Language Barriers.

Spend Thanksgiving with Ed Asner and his family! Enjoy Ellen's great pecan pie, a holiday card game, and, ultimately, hilarious dysfunction in the last film completed by Ed Asner before his passing in August 2021.

Birthing Justice

Dir. Monique N. Matthews

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 7

America’s medical inequities has turned giving birth into a battlefield for too many Black women and their babies. BIRTHING JUSTICE flips that narrative, centering the expertise and lived experiences of Black women and their advocates as they fix a broken system and transform the future, one birth at a time.


Dir. Sarah Hanner

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 3

Claire and her husband's family celebrate his mother's birthday, but when Claire reveals surprising news, she must contemplate a life-changing decision that puts herself and the entire family at risk.


Dir. Joseph Hovsepian

Butterfly is a metaphoric story of transformation, encased within a body of motion, which holds a powerful sway over imagination. Cocooned within a multi-layered reality of life Parvaneh gracefully carries her guarded wounds by dancing on the path she trusts, is unfolding before her. Dancing to her is thinking in movement, to know as you go along, to improvise, rather than calculation of a trajectory in advance of its social execution. As she proceeds step by step, she grows wiser, along the various paths of her entanglement in a tantalizing yet textured world around her that keeps changing. So as she.

Colors of a Black Belt

Dir. Lina Kraftsof

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 1

14 year old Emerson struggles with their self-identity and often lashes out in many ways. One of these ways is stealing their Karate instructor's black belt. After a moment of delusion, reality hits and Emerson is forced to deal with the consequences.

Drifting Boat

Dir. Luying Wang

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 3

An elderly Chinese immigrant woman, Ying Zi, has a strong desire to go back to her hometown, Hebei, during Spring Festival. Due to her health condition and practical reasons, she could not fly back alone. On New Year's Eve, her son comes home and holds a fake festival party...


Dir. Anne Paquette

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 5

EDGE, peels off the glamorous veneer of 3 women faced with personal struggles in their lives and by sheer luck and strength, are given a second chance at life.

Food Broker: Rosa

Dir. Justine Suh, Lo Lam

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 2

Rosa Roman is a mother to all people she meets.

Growing up in Guatemala, Rosa longed for a large family of her own as a child. She dreamt of setting the dinner table for ten or twelve of her future children. It is not simply the act of cooking that gives her pleasure, but the beautiful satisfaction derived from caring for others that drives Rosa in life. Childhood dreams do not often come to fruition, and Rosa did not end up with her crop of a dozen children. Rather, Rosa found herself cooking in a Los Angeles church kitchen with hundreds of homeless individuals waiting expectantly for her food. Every single person who walks through the doors of the church, regardless of age, sex, or history, is Rosa’s family and she is theirs.


Dir. T.J. Penton

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 3

Three young homeless girls with diverse circumstances are living on the streets in the Las Vegas desert. A chance meeting while panhandling leads to an unusual connection with an elderly widow and the most innocent of the trio. This compelling relationship becomes complicated by the suspicions of her friends and leads us down a dark unpredicted path. Featuring an all female Cast.

Getting From Here

Dir. Faith Strongheart

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 1

Nine year old Justice must find her way in a world of dangerous adults. After a bizarre encounter deep in the mountains with her step-father, Justice sets out by herself on a journey home. Along the way she discovers the one person she can rely on: herself.

Glammas Wrap

Dir. Wangyuxuan Xu & Colleen Quen

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 1

Glammas Wrap is an artistic bi-lingual collaboration between Clara Hsu (poet), Colleen Quen (Couture), Greg Landau (Grammy nominated music producer) and Wangyuxuan Xu (cinematographer). Performed by the Grant Avenue Follies, a cabaret troupe comprised of women ages 66 to 87, the "Wrap" celebrates the richness of their Chinese American experience through music, language, fashion and dance. Glammas Wrap is produced by Clarion Performing Arts Center in San Francisco Chinatown.

Happiness is an Illusion

Dir. Rebecca Demeter

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 2

A woman tries to figure out modern relationships, but realizes she might have missed the most important relationship she could ever have.

Hart of the Wild Bunch

Dir. Sophia Natalie Arguelles & Grace Caroline Currey

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 3

A Wild West gang of runaway women find themselves destitute after a chain of unsuccessful heists. Benevolent leader Cassidy Hart must leverage her authority when one of her rebel followers rallies the group around a very dangerous scheme.


Dir. Rachael Dahl

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 6

When a young woman is held hostage, she must decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to survive.

House With A View

Dir. Hannah Burgos

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 5

A music video for Asha's song "House With a View"

Incorrigible - A film about Velma Demerson

Dir. Karin Louise Lee

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 2

Want to hear an unbelievable story? Let us tell you Velma’s.

In 1939 Velma Demerson was jailed for falling in love with a Chinese man. Pregnant and without legal counsel, Velma was sentenced to one year in a Toronto prison where she was tortured by a eugenicist doctor who attempted to abort her child. 60 years later she sued the Canadian government for wrongful incarceration, and until her death at age 98 in May 2019, continued to fight for the rights of the thousands of women imprisoned on the grounds of “incorrigibility” until 1964.

In order to share Velma’s extraordinary trials, Gemini Award-winning director Karin Lee has made a documentary film about her life.


Dir. Marcella Taylor

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 2

After witnessing several instances of racial bias, a young Black boy's worldview is forever changed.


Dir. Israa Al-Kamali

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 5

A woman pretending to be a man has to correctly answer misogynistic riddles imposed by individuals with predatory-looking animal heads in order to ensure her safe return home at night

Las Rosies

Dir. Sandra O'Neill

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 6

Millions of women joined the work force during World War II, they became known as Rosie the Riveter, but what not many know is that a lot of these female employees were Latinas, the majority of Mexican descend. Las Rosies documents some of these workers' stories and contributions to win the war.

Life Support

Dir. Erica Chan

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 2

LIFE SUPPORT explores the world of the self in layers, and how we change, grow, and metamorphosize. This dynamic, trancelike beat will make you let go of what you think you know, and focus on what you feel.

Lizzy's Plan: 3 Peas in a Podcast

Dir. Jeremy Mowery

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 1

When the fame-seeking female leader of a mature trio of lifelong veteran friends gets a call, during a funeral, to immediately fill in on a podcast, she forms a plan-but - complications ensue.

Milk Cherry

Dir. Morgan Maher

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 6

Milk Cherry is a short film exploring the dynamic between two women, which is somewhere between love and betrayal. The protagonists exist in a world of their own, with a voyeuristic outside force poking its way in.

No But I Want To

Dir. Greta Jung

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 2

 commitment-phobic woman tries to commit to love.


Dir. Tina Khosravi

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 5

A tragic story of Resilience and healing from the most unlikely perspective in the hearth of gender-based violence in patriarchy's society.

Outta This World

Dir. Brittany Christine & Indus Alelia

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 3

An animated sci fi comedy about a human woman, Astria ZonBerg, who longs for something. On a journey with alien Pike to find it, she discovers something else she never knew she was missing.


Dir. Veronica Nichols

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 3

Valentina and Cole are dating and have all the potential for a great future: compatibility, connection and of course major chemistry! But like any burgeoning relationship, there are challenges, crossroads and decisions to be made. In this fun romantic comedy, as Cole and Valentina navigate their journey of attraction, emotion and communication, we quickly discover there are always three sides to every story: he said, she said and the truth!

Radio Silence

Dir. Rebecca Duran

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 2

Sometimes facing your fears doesn't always end so well.


Dir. Sarah Attrill

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 2

Two millenials looking to change their fortunes carry out a kidnapping that does not go to plan.


Dir. Mitch Yapko

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 3

A short comedy about life after grief, and the unexpected gift one young man gave to his friends...even if they didn't find it for fifteen years.


Dir. Rachel Hemsley

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 3

"He danced for fame. She danced through pain. For old times' sake and to new a fleeting moment." - Set in the world of dance, RÉVÉRENCE is a story of relationships which resonates with audiences of all backgrounds, including the LGBTQ+ community. The story is told through the eyes of two dancers who began on the same path, yet went completely different directions in their careers and their destiny. Through the tragedy and the person who pulled them apart, a new tragic misfortune causes them to reunite, gifting them each a new clarity - even if it is just for one fleeting moment in a dance studio.

Scene From A Funeral

Dir. Cat Rhinehart

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 4

A woman's biological clock chimes in at her father's funeral.

Self Help

Dir. Ellie Race-moore

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 3

A woman attempts to stay centered during extraordinary circumstances.

Sincerely, Your Friend

Dir. Julia Hess

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 2

Based on a true story, Nia reads aloud a letter from the heart that details her true feelings when it comes to battling her mental health.

Skate Champ

by  Euna Lee & Lauren Kawana

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 3

In 2019, inline speed skater Leticia Detrow won the national gold medal for her age group. She also happened to be the only Deaf skater.

This documentary follows the story of 14-year-old Leticia, who was born in Uganda and adopted into an American family. Striving for excellence in everything she does, Leticia navigates skating, family and coming of age in a hearing world.

Slim Chances

Dir. Asia Bonetto

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 2

Short film by Asia Bonetto

Something New

Dir. Michelle Bossy

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 1

Short film by Michelle Bossy


Dir. Will Tully

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 1

Forced to confront her past, Charlie must dig deep and decide whether she is willing to move forward.

STATIC is a sci-fi dramedy that is grounded in real-life situations, laced with humor, mystery and hope. It keeps the audience on its toes as it explores the ambiguity of the afterlife. Static is a heartwarming adventure that takes away the stigma surrounding death and gives a sense of hope and excitement for what is yet to come.


Dir. Felisha Norman

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 1

A married mother of two desperate to find relief from the infinite days of nothingness and the loneliness that threatens to suffocate her daily is faced with a decision to relieve her suffering or find the will and reason to stay.

Sunflower Care

Dir. Debi Yazbeck

When cranky, loud-mouthed and seemingly fearless Doris is dumped at a nursing home by her scheming daughter, Patience Joan Smith, even the EMTs are thrilled to get rid of her. Catheryn Stiller, Sunflower Care's abrasive director promptly leaves Doris alone, once again proving to Doris she’s the only one who can truly take care of herself.

The Cows Came Home

Dir. Haley Ahern

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 3

This music video follows the work of 65 year old Margaret who paints backings for movie studios in the 1940s. Each backdrop Margaret paints brings her flashbacks of when she was a young woman in the early 1900s, where she first met her husband William. Sometimes the most simplest things in life can be the hardest to believe and the most powerful. This video indulges in those heartwarming moments, inspired by old idioms, to bring a lifetime worth of memories into one single song.

The day, at the Beach

Dir. Cindy Di Xin

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 1

A coming-of-age family drama story about a teenage girl who must reckon with her relationship with her parents when she uncovers her father's deepest secret during his well-intention trip to visit her.

The Heartbeat Act

Dir. Anahi Guerrero Luna

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 2

An undocumented woman in Texas is refused an abortion, and has to rely on the spontaneous generosity of another patient to help her get the procedure.

The Impossible Wave

Dir. Jessica Frankovelgia Johnson & Jay Johnson

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 2

Surfing made its debut in The Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. It took one man 27 years to get it there.  This is the story of Fernando Aguerr’s quest for Olympic Surfing, and the arrival of a sport on the worlds biggest stage.

The Resistance

Dir. Kara White

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 2

During WWII, a British female spy finds herself trying to outwit a Nazi in occupied France.

This and That

Dir. Katie Garibaldi

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 3

n an effort to free herself from writer's block, an aspiring screenwriter with big dreams decides to share her truth despite doubts, all while navigating challenging life changes brought on by divorce.

Twisted Vines

Dir. Jihane Mrad

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 4

Set in a wine estate B&B, the intimate wedding of the owners daughter bring out the best and worst in the invited guests as their simplest exchanges are riddled with secrets. The festivities are soon interrupted by the sheriff who comes out to warn the guests about a nearby fire, check on his lady friend the Sommelier, but ends up staying to solve an unexpected murder.


Dir. Swisyzinna Moore

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 2

The threat of eviction forces Amy, an idealistic yet tough minded car rental employee, to accept an assignment which will forever alter her life, making her question everything, even her integrity.


Dir. Meghan Caves

Saturday  1/7/2023 Block 6

It's always fun to try out a dance challenge with friends! What could go wrong??


Dir. Devin John

Friday  1/6/2023 Block 1

A struggling comedian with a chip on her shoulder rescues her sister from an abusive relationship and drags her around the LA late-night comedy scene. The two stumble their way through the city, navigating success, survival and sisterhood.

Women and Elephants

Dir. Barbara Stepansky

Sunday  1/8/2023 Block 1

Gwen and Paul are life-loggers and life partners locked inside during a global shutdown until Gwen discovers a blip in her life and must leave. Trouble ensues when she doesn't make it out the door but instead ends up right where she started as the days bleed together and reality crosses wires with dreams. Is Gwen simply forgetting? Or is there something more sinister happening?


Dir. Huriyyah Muhammad

Teeni and Cherice don’t ask for much. Like everyone else, they are on the grind, just trying to make a better life for themselves and their daughter. Also like everyone else, they are still recovering financially from the pandemic. Out of work for most of 2020 they fell into a huge hole with their rent. When they come home to find an eviction notice plastered on their door, they have minimal options. The solution however surprises even them. While WONDERS is a response to the eviction crisis across the country, at its heart is an exploration of the sage wisdom of our elders and the magic of our future. It speaks to community, personal power and creative problem-solving presented with humor and imagination.

Audience Award Winners

(Audience Winners will be posted by January 10th)

1st Place

Food Broker: Rosa   Dir. Justine Suh, Lo Lam

2nd Place

Sincerely, Your Friend  Dir. Julia Hess

3rd Place

Glammas Wrap Dir. Wangyuxuan Xu

& Colleen Quen

Jury Category Winners

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

Best Feature Film

Twisted Vines  Dir. Jihane Mrad

(Presented at the end of Block 4 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Short Film

Bläckfisk  Dir. Sarah Hanner

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Feature Documentary

Birthing Justice  Dir. Monique N. Matthews

(Presented at the end of Block 7 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Short Documentary

Skate Champ  by  Euna Lee & Lauren Kawana

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Student Film

Drifting Boat  Dir. Luying Wang

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Foreign Film

Butterfly  Dir. Joseph Hovsepian

(Presented at the end of Block 6 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Animation

Outta This World 

Dir. Brittany Christine & Indus Alelia

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Music Video

The Cows Came Home  Dir. Haley Ahern

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Experimental Film

7 Minutes in Humor Dir. Jennylyn Caterina &

Chris Game

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Feature Script

Our Story  by  Nondumiso Tembe

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Short Script

Speedway  by Angela Lorena Daza

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 1/7/2023)


Feature Script Finalist

Exalted Quest by Tania Meneguzzi & Kindred Light

Love Me X 3 by Erin Elizabeth Keefer

No Address by Julia Verdin & James Papa

Northern Voice by Candace Lee Egan

Opposite Sides by Kim Broderick

The Baker of Quaregnon by Sheryl Needle Cohn

& Barry Oliver Chase

The Cline by Heidi-Marie Ferren & Dana Joiner

The Divorce Diet by Valerie Anne Brotski

The Ghost Of You by Megan Smith-Harris

The Kaiserhof Hotel by Ludwig Leidig, Brett Williams

& Yuri Joakimidis

Short Script Finalist

#Stressed by Jasmine Patrice White

A Girl Named Wes by Simone Gerber

CandyByte by Diana Foronda

Functioning by Joia Danai

Out Of Her Shadow by Clara Cantos

Reflection by Lisa Ovies

The Etruscan by E.C. Belli

Tolerance by Mairead deBlaca

Jury Creative Winners

Best Director

Jihane Mrad - Twisted Vines

(Presented at the end of Block 4 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Actress

Vivica A Fox - Twisted Vines

(Presented at the end of Block 4 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Supporting Actress

Nikki Leigh - Twisted Vines

(Presented at the end of Block 4 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

Best Actor

Ernest Stifel - A Marriage

(Presented at the end of Block 5 on Saturday 1/7/2023)

10th Annual California Women’s Festival trophies provided by