California Women’s Film Festival


July 2016 selections and Winners

Official Selections


Dir. Rachel Breitag

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 6

(IM)MORAL is a comedic look at what the cost of success is.

3 Minutes

Dir. Vivi Thai

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 2

A young woman takes a pregnancy test and deals with the reactions from her best friend, mother...and the guy.

30, Debt Free & Far From Happy

Dir. Ellyn Daniels & Ri

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 4

A dark, often absurd comedy about two professional women (an architect and a talent agent) navigating life in Los Angeles after 30 unfulfilled by their careers and desperately searching for meaning in anything else, especially men.


Dir. Olga Chajdas

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 5

A film experiment. How people react learning of a pregnancy in different moments of their life?

A Gift

Dir. Yigiong Li

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 2

Jack wants to steal money and valuable things from Margaret’s house. But Margaret, a blind elderly woman, is at home and talks with Jack as if he is her son.

Another Life

Dir. Javid Rezai

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 1

Another Life is a portrait of two young women over a single day, whose lives are interconnected by the story that one of them is writing.

As We Say Goodbye

Dir. Jhosimar Vasquez

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 1

After being unwillingly separated from her mother, and brother Nicole will dedicate her last days to saving her brother's life where he will meet her for the first in the operating room.


Dir. Andrea Edgley & Ethan Speakman

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 5

During the early years of the space race, a female pilot pushes to get national attention through a magazine in her drive to become an astronaut.

Between The Miles

Dir. Michelle Opitz

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 2

After taking three homeless teens off the streets of Los Angeles and into her care, Florence, a hapless musician, must overcome her own reckless tendencies in order to care for them.


Dir. Jennifer Derwingson

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 6

A suspenseful short action film about a cop torn between her desire to be a mother and being the warrior she needs to be when a young girl running for her life arrives with a request.


Dir. Rowman Maher

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 1

Officer Mara Mercer discovers a young woman in a home with a bomb strapped around her neck. It is up to her to keep the girl calm and do her best to get her out alive.

Come Here Often?

Dir. Morgan Dameron

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 2

Remember a time before Tinder hookups, text message breakups, and flirtatious Snapchats?  Come Here Often? is a trio of stories about analog romance - love stories occurring outside the digital age. Three scenes unfold in the same bar at the same time, exploring the themes of old-fashioned romance.


Dir. Sofia Vyshnevetska

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 3

The loving father, after kidnapping and cruelly killed his little daughter by pedophile, turns into a proficient butcher. Desire of revenge will be confessed in other way of expiation...

Crazy. Period.

Dir. Rebecca Ruben

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 1

'Crazy. Period.' examines the widely accepted notion that pre-menstrual syndrome, commonly called PMS, causes every woman gross emotional instability. Through conversations with women and girls from around the world, we dig into the impact of this belief and ask the question: “How do you PMS?”


Dir. Christianna Carmine

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 1

An Iraq War Veteran is forced to face his past when his estranged daughter, fighting a battle of her own, re-enters his life.

East Ramadi

Dir. Kristen Gerweck

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 3

Two Iraqi war orphans are sent to deliver a package to a dangerous section of Ramadi and when they collide with US soldiers occupying the area, a miscommunication quickly unravels into madness that will forever alter their lives.

Eleven Eleven

Dir. Alicia Krawchuk

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 1

Eleven Eleven follows the wandering thoughts of a troubled young woman who finds herself trapped in a conventional life.


Dir. Twinkle Agarwal

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 2

Following years of physical abuse at the hands of her husband, Katie has a psychological breakdown. She finds solace in Bruce, who is always there for her when she needs him. Caught between two men, however, reality comes crashing down on Katie after one of them is found dead and the other missing.

Essential Tremors

Dir. Lisa Lennox

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 1

Two special needs, middle aged people hungry for love finally find it in a quirky musical romp.

Exit Survey

Dir. Thom Harp

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 1

Wouldn't you love to know EXACTLY why someone dumped you?One woman's quest for all the answers begins with an EXIT SURVEY.

Fanny Pack

Dir. Uttera Singh

Fanny Pack is a comedy about a young Indian-American woman who wants to follow her dreams, and a fanny pack clad Indian father who chases his daughter through an airport hoping that she will follow his.

Fighting For Air

Dir. Lisa Whiteman

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 1

The story of Nalleli Cobo, 13, lives in an apartment directly across the street from the AllenCo Energy oil well site, with four generations of women in her family.

First Date

Dir. Anisha Adusmilli

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 2

Deepak meets his future bride for the first time. She's not exactly what he expected but everything he ever wanted.

Food + Water | Earth

Dir. Suez Taylor

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 6

This film documents Winona LaDuke -- native leader and Harvard trained economist -- as she travels with her fellow Anishanaabe (Ojibwe) to harvest indigenous rice and defend her community from a series of tarsands oil pipelines threatening her native food supply.


Dir. Kimberly Quinn

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 1

Fran hosts Jim's 50th birthday party, joined by friends and family. The nights celebration slowly unravels and the unwanted revelations throughout lead to a mother's worst nightmare.


Dir. Kyle Hess

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 1

Three strangers struggle to find paradise in a fractured, dystopian world.

If We Must Die

Dir. Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 6

Adapted from a short story by the internationally acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut, IF WE MUST DIE tells about the unforgettable day of three destinies who collide in the wake of a small town murder.

In Bed.

Dir. Leila Vatan

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 1

A kid's hip-hop dance instructor struggles with temptation, control, and self image when a charismatic and relentless parent brings cupcakes to her class.

It Means Reward

Dir. Jill Sierra

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 5

A broken man decides to bridge the gap between his shameful past and an uncertain future by seeking forgiveness, only to find a reward of hope and redemption…in the knowledge of a son he never knew he had.

It’s Tea Time

Dir. Sandra Lee

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 3

A little girl sets an extravagant tea party for her stuffed animals and unresponsive mother, who in turn spoils the little girl's imagination, in lieu of dinner, the moment father arrives.


Dir. Amanda Van der Siebes

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 4

Young girl embarks on a journey between thoughts and fantasy after a strange encounter.


Dir. Millena Gay

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 3

When considering the future of their relationship, Dawn realizes that the past is always present.

Lady Bits

Dir. Doug Bass

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 3

LADY BITS is a TV show that lifts the curtain on the real talk that happens on ladies night (sometimes after a couple cocktails.)

Lat Night In Edinburgh

Dir. Bita Shafipour

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 3

When two teen sisters discover that their family holiday abroad is really a plan by their parents to deliver them both into forced marriages, the girls flee home to find their own ways of remaining in Edinburgh, testing the limits of their bond and the resolve of the adults who control their futures.

Lights Out

Dir. Savannah Bloch

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 2

A young mother is at her wits end when her toddler refuses to keep the lights out.


Dir. Michael Vaughn Hernandez

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 1

A hardworking young man bent on saving his sick son must convince a stranger to kill an innocent student or an unknown group will detonate the bomb strapped under his coat.

Oct 23rd

Dir. Paul Santana

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 4

This film is based on the alleged horrific events suffered by Karen Fernhill on October 23rd, 2011. After telling her story to family and doctors, she slipped into a coma.   She remains asleep to this day.

On Schedule

Dir. Elena Manetta

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 2

When two villains attack their nemesis superhero at the same time, they must fight to decide who gets the timeslot to attack the city.


Dir. Jen Woldrich

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 2

The story of a woman, just out of prison, desperate to connect with the daughter who doesn't know she exists.


Dir. Adam Linkenhelt & Jeremy Pion-Berlin

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 2

Tanya returns after six wild years of traveling abroad. To help her settle in, her mom and grandma set her up on a bizarre online date.


Dir. Diane Fredel-Weis

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 2

A night out for two stoners takes an unexpected turn when their GPS goes haywire from a contact high.

Reinventing Cassie

Dir. Tristen MacDonald & Mitch Yapko

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 3

Reinventing Cassie is a lighthearted single cam sitcom about Cassie Briggs, a charmingly lame high school guidance councilor who is feeling stuck in her day to day life.

Ren: The Girl With The Mark

Dir. Kate Madison

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 1

The tale of a young woman who, after a strange encounter in the woods, is marked by an ancient spirit.


Dir. Eric Adrian Marshall

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 1

The near future. Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Abortion is illegal in America. DANIEL McCAFFREY, a U.S. Reproductive Services Administration agent, spends his days busting shadow clinics and street dealers that peddle the abortion drug M.


Dir. Alison Cukierski

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 2

A recent high school graduate gets diagnosed with schizophrenia and has to overcome her illness to follow dreams of attending college.

Save Her

Dir. Hillary Bosarge

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 3

A young woman is the only one who can save herself as she falls victim to the endless pressures that haunt in her reflection.

Scout’s Honour

Dir. Sara Neitzert & Andy Neitzert

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 1

A remarkable woman has a terrible accident falling from her horse and her journey to get back on and in the process, she brings hope and inspiration to others.


Dir. Carolina Giammetta

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 3

When a husband's abuse shifts from his wife to his small daughter, he is so consumed by guilt that he becomes the creator of his own retribution.

So What

Dir. Ron Longo

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 1

Music Video for Midori and Ezra Boy- Rock band from California.

step 9

Dir. Leonora Pitts

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 4

Two friends, one in recovery and one decidedly not, set off on a road trip to make amends.


Dir. Margie Kelk

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 2

Substratae provides the audience a glimpse of mythical lives glowing, under the eternal flux, with energies hidden deep within the earth.

The Breakout: A Rock Opera

Dir. Jenn Page

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 2

A high school nerd, with the help of some misfits, goes on a daring mission to rescue the girl he loves from a mental hospital. Yeah, and it's a musical.

The Ex Factor

Dir. Chantal Le Hunte

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 3

After learning that her ex Mia is back in town, Vanessa plans to avoid her as much as possible, however when Mia is inadvertently invited to an engagement party at her house, Vanessa must now face her past sooner than she thought.

The Fetch

Dir. Cheryl Isaacson

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 2

In a community ruled by water scarcity, one mother enacts a dangerous plan.

The Morning After

Dir. Irma Puzauskaite

Friday  7/15/2016 Block 1

The story takes place in sunny California, a stark contrast to dark events which are going to take place.

The Stradivari

Dir. Karolina Mikolajczak

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 4

Sam Holzmann, a traditional violin maker, inherits a family-owned violin shop which is facing bankrupcy. In order to save the tradition, he must fight electric violins and his innovative and progressive mother, Barbara.


Dir. Diego Londono

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 4

Through the persuasion of her Abuela, Valentina has her quinceañera party on her thirtieth birthday, only to have things go horribly wrong.


Dir. Mary-Pat Green

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 2

When life hands you a difficult ride, WALK asks the simple question, 'What's worth your time, and what's not?'

Welcome To Forever

Dir. Laddie Britt Ervin

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 6

It's 2067. A government technician severs a “Life-Link Cable.” His name is Cal Jenner and he's here to terminate Mr. Cooper, a digitized person who's been malfunctioning for years.

Welcome To Where You’ve Always Been

Dir. Justin Sandler & Mary Lou Sandler

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 5

'Welcome to Where You've Always Been' is a story about a champion spoken word poet named Devyn Duncan who has everything, but is blind to the blessings around him.

What Happens Now?

Dir. Danielle Johnson

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 2

Three friends come together and find themselves discussing the highly controversial facts of the Florida v. Zimmerman case. This exposes their different beliefs and ideologies and the final result poses a question that they all struggle to answer.

Where We Left Off

Dir. Alyssa Carroll

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 6

Where We Left Off is a short film about Sarah, a young woman with an anxiety disorder. One night, over a cup of tea, Sarah imagines a conversation with her recently deceased father. It's a story of the intersection between mental illness, self-acceptance, and the complicated father-daughter relationship.

Whispers From Seoul

Dir. Charlotte Lamb

Molly and her brother are best friends, but she notices a shift in their relationship when he and his girlfriend come to visit Molly in Korea.

Wildflower: A Story Of Faith And Sacrifice

Dir. Vlad Feier

Saturday  7/16/2016 Block 5

A resilient woman of faith embarks on a torturous journey when she decides to take a stand against her own country to defend her deepest believes.

You Asked For It

Dir. Ariel Sobel

Sunday  7/17/2016 Block 1

A campus cruiser driver goes on a rampage when she discovers the drunk boy in her back seat sexually assaulted her a few months earlier.

Audience Award Winners

(Audience Winners will be posted by July 19th)

1st Place

Passport Dir. Adam Linkenhelt & Jeremy Pion-Berlin

2nd Place 

Walk Dir. Mary-Pat Green

3rd Place

Lights Out Dir. Savannah Bloch

Jury Category Winners

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

Best Feature Film

Between The Miles Dir. Michelle Opitz

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/15/2016)

Best Short Film

Blessed Dir. Jennifer Derwingson

(Presented at the end of Block 6 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Feature Documentary

Scout’s Honour Dir. Sara Neitzert & Andy Neitzert

(Presented at the end of Block 1 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Short Documentary

Food + Water | Earth Dir. Suez Taylor

(Presented at the end of Block 6 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Student Film

If We Must Die Dir. Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic

(Presented at the end of Block 6 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Foreign Film

3xLove Dir. Olga Chajdas

(Presented at the end of Block 5 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Animation

On Schedule Dir. Elena Manetta

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Music Video

So What Dir. Ron Longo

(Presented at the end of Block 1 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Experimental Film

Eleven Eleven Dir. Alicia Krawchuk

(Presented at the end of Block 1 on Saturday 7/16/2016)

Best Feature Script

Teton Reckoning by Debi Yazbeck

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/15/2016)

Best Short Script

Leave by Alysha Haran

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/15/2016)


Feature Script Finalist

Madame Facades by Charles Laulette

One Way Ticket by Cristina Nucera

Rosemarie by Lorrie Cipolla

Siren Song - The Mechele Linehan Story  by Jody Ellis

Unwed by Joey Kent

Short Script Finalist

Beyond The Painted Line by Theresa Tierney & Eileen Tierney

New Beginning by Laura Franco

Roughly The Present by Lisa Romagnoli

Starring Chloe Fisher by Jennifer Rudin

War Angel by Paul Mitchell

Jury Creative Nominees

(Creative Winners will be announced and presented at the opening night party on Friday, July 15th which starts at 9:15pm)

Best Director

Bita Shafipour  -  Last Night In Edinburgh

Michelle Opitz  -  Between The Miles

Jenn Page  -  The Breakout: A Rock Opera

Jennifer Derwingson  -  Blessed

Kate Madison  -  Ren: The Girl With The Mark

Best Actress

Kally Khourshid  -  Martyr

DeLanna Studi  -  Blessed

Sophie Skelton  -  Ren: The Girl With The Mark

Christy St. John  -  Collar

Leigh Schindler  -  Between The Miles

Best Supporting Actress

Stacey Danger  -  The Morning After

Stephanie Michels  -  Walk

Yolanda Ross -  Between The Miles

Danielle Savre  -  Collar

Daniella Garcia  -  Blessed

Best Actor

Justin Sandler  - Welcome to Where you’ve Always Been

Kaiso Hill  -  A Gift

Michael Dempsey  -  Walk

Matthew Hancock  -  Martyr

Michael E. Knight  -  Darryl

Jury Creative Winners

(Creative Winners will be announced and presented at the opening night party on Friday, July 15th which starts at 9:15pm)

Best Director

Jennifer Derwingson  -  Blessed

Best Actress

Leigh Schindler  -  Between The Miles

Best Supporting Actress

Stacey Danger  -  The Morning After

Best Actor

Justin Sandler  - Welcome to Where you’ve Always Been