California Women’s Film Festival


July 2018 selections and Winners

Official Selections

A Tale Of A Sassy Little Girl

Dir. Francesca Nobili

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 3

On Halloween night, a little girl receives a spooky visit.


Dir. Natsumi Shibata

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

Alice, a girl who is 25 years old, loses her way in a forest. She is running away from someone, however she can't remember anything, as she's lost her memory. Finally, she finds a wooden house and stops to ask for help. In the house she meets Martin, a man around thirty, two kids Ran and Ron, and EL.They seem other-worldly. Alice asks them how to get to the police station, thinking that perhaps that will help her. Martin and El decide to take her there. Before they leave, Alice sees a picture of herself in the house. Why do they have her picture? Did they already know her? Who are they? Scared, Alice tries to run away.

Allen + Millie: A Short Romance

Dir. Markus Redmond

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 3

Allen Mitchell (Courtney Gains) has just accepted that his life will never turn out like he planned. His only solace from this cruel realization? An afternoon at the movies to watch his favorite starlet, Millie Lane (Brooke Lewis).

Because We Can

Dir. Elaine Chu

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 2

What do you do when you wake up after a crazy night of drinking married to a complete stranger? You either make the best of it or freak out.

Behind Closed Doors

Dir. Bianca Armbruster

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 5

A slice of life, romantic comedy about a modern couple’s Saturday morning habits. Lana and Carter equally love being with each other as much as their alone time. Companionship is being comfortable being your whole selves, awkward, unkempt, imperfect and occasionally appalling; but sometimes there are just some things best left, alone.


Dir. Zara Sengstock

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

Young and infatuated with one another high school couple, Zoe and Jake appear to have a perfect relationship. However behind the facade lies a secret.


Dir. Ina Conradi & Mark Chavez

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 6

Based on an old legend about the butterfly‘s struggles the film is the symbolic metaphor of rebirth after death and fascination with the human innate drive to survive.


Dir. Schuyler Helord

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

A short film that merges the multi-camera format with film in the depiction of an auteur director's descent into darkness as he attempts to direct a vapid TV comedy. Written and directed by Schuyler Helford.

Egg Day

Dir. Grasie Mercedes

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 3

A dark comedy short about the egg retrieval process during a couple’s IVF experience.

Famous Little Girls

Dir. Luciana Caplan & Sophano Van

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

Jenny is a 7 years old girl that is suffering bullying at school. Her life changes after she starts to dream of little girls - her fanciful version of famous, powerful women that she is reading about - visiting and talking to her.

Feminists: What Were They Thinking

Dir. Johanna Demetrakas

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 2

In 1977, a book of photographs captured an awakening – women shedding the cultural restrictions of their childhoods and embracing their full humanity. Feminists – What Were They Thinking? revisits those photos, those women and those times - and takes aim at our current culture revealing all too vividly the urgent need for continued change.

Holiday Hostage

Dir. D.W. Moffett

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 2

It’s Thanksgiving night and siblings Abby and David just want to quickly eat their turkey and ditch their overbearing “still has their umbilical cords” Jewish mother. Before they can make their getaway, Gary, a deranged ex-convict, breaks in and takes the family hostage.


Dir. Heui Song Son

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

Lily, a terminally ill writer, returns home to tell her family that she's dying.


Dir. Michelle Bossy

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

This is the Official Music Video for the single, "Horrified," by singer songwriter/producer, Brooke Josephson.

How We Live

Dir. Jordan Long & Tara Perry

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

A young boy (Harrison) is in the hospital and his friend (Evie) visits often. They are the perfect pair and look back on a short life well lived while they deal with the harsh realities of mortality.

Ill Adjusted

Dir. Tatiana Paris

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

When a jaded teenage girl fails to connect with her mentally ill sister, her own instability comes to light.


Dir. Xia Hou

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 2

A young woman, Rene experiences a mental breakdown but is unable to believe that there is other way to live. However, through a conversation with her imaginary self, she experiences spiritual awakening and she finally understands that she has to face the emotional battle and follow the radical path of unknown.


Dir. Xiao-xiao Cai

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 6

The movie presents an epitome of contemporary young generation in China in which two pairs of young lovers left home and are “drifting” in Beijing.


Dir. Maria Alice Arida

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 2

A psychosexual thriller about Isabelle, a lonely gallery owner, who meets a dangerously seductive performance artist and discovers they have more in common than expected. Will Isabelle allow herself to let Camila in without giving in to her true nature?

Je Suis (I Am)

Dir. Faith Strongheart

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

Disappointing everyone around her with her inability to meet mounting expectations, a working mother struggles to find balance.

Just Kidding

Dir. Michele Santoro

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

Old friends discuss over a birthday dinner to kid or not to kid.

Knitting For Knockers

Dir. Capucine Salvi Offer

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

'Knitting for Knockers' tells the story of incredibly strong and resilient women who have faced extreme adversity and have come out on top. Through a harrowing and heart wrenching battle with breast cancer, they have become survivors.

Life Of Fiction

Dir. Noemi Santo

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

A young girl jumps into her father's storybook world in order to fix her parents' marriage.

Lisa At Large

Dir. Eliot Gurrin

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

An idealistic young woman living in Los Angeles strives to be a journalist of substance, but ends up working for a third-rate celebrity gossip network.

Maternal Secrets

Dir. Lucinda Spurling

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 5

Jackson, a rising political star, mysteriously disappears while on vacation in Bermuda with his pregnant girlfriend, Aubrey. As Aubrey tries to figure out what happened, Rose, a woman claiming to be Jackson’s mother appears on the island, as does Jackson’s ex-fiancée. Aubrey must determine who to trust and what to believe as she desperately searches the island for any sign of Jackson. Isolated, and with a baby due in less than 8 weeks, Aubrey must decide how far she can go to uncover the truth.

Max Kitty

Dir. Ian Lynch

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 3

Maw Kitty is bold, proud mature woman, owning her life, her choices (good and bad), her engaging friends, and the weird circumstance in which they find themselves: solving the mystery of a post-coital 'death.'

Mermaids and Rhinos

Dir. Viktoria Traub

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

ight-year-old Tilda’s memories of her family as surrealistic visions come into life: the circus member ex-mermaid grandmother, the erotically overheated mother and the disappeared father whose broken heart, anger and jealousy manifest as a rhino. The acts of present and the past are in constant metamorphoses and transformation. The characters overstep their own and the surrounding world’s physical borders. Tilda’s life is full of grotesque, bizarre characters hungry for love. The atmosphere of wistfulness, desire, passion and sorrow frame the story.

Muffin Hair

Dir. Iris Romero

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 5

Tempers fly in a coffee shop following a barista’s recent breakup and an unassuming customer who finds a hair in his muffin.


Dir. Germain Lalot

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 3

An expecting mother encourages her unborn child to look at our complex world with a different light.


Dir. Daniel Hayden

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 3

Suffering from some dumb depression or whatever, Carrie loses the ability to feel. Anything.

Optimistic Realist

Dir. Brandon Ravet

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

A struggling actress/Hebrew school teacher takes career advice from her wise 5th grade students.

Over and Out

Dir. Brian Sutherin

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

Sometimes the only way to cope with the present is to mock it. Here, two strangers bond when their behavior after giving birth strays from the normal. It is their dark sense of humor that brings them together. Through laughter, they help one another tackle the daunting future that awaits them in motherhood.


Dir. Linda Palmer

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 3

Jessie doesn't want to listen to her eccentric mom, but the more she is forced to spend time with her, the more sound her advice becomes.

Picking Back Up

Dir. Westley Eldredge

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 3

At all costs, Anna attempts to get back to her long forgotten husband. The only problem is that she's locked out of her house and living in the driveway.


Dir. America Young

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

During battle, a healer duels with her mortal enemy in an unsettling form, facing an impossible choice that will forever forge her destiny as a warrior.

Salty Dish

Dir. ZiJun Xiao

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 2

During the famine period, plants did dry up. There wast nay food anywhere except one lodging ——Salty Dish. People were suffering from short of food, they eat everything including humans. A young man starts a food searching journey with his burdensome mom, along with his journey, hunger keeps knocking down his morals.

Sandwich De Lune

Dir. L.P. Dohi

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 2

All of human kind has one thing in common. The sandwich.

See You Soon

Dir. Jennifer Chambers

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 3

A married woman soothes her chronically single friend with a sordid tale from her dating past in this female driven dark comedy exploring the pros and cons of surrendering to your inner lunatic.


Dir. Ashley Matkowsky

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

In the near future, a group of extraordinary kids survive on their own in a rundown industrial America with hopes to one day find an escape.

Solstice Ranch

Dir. Christianna Carmine

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 3

Solstice Ranch is a coming of age story that takes place over 48 hours. It follows four friends who find themselves committed to a whimsical yet eye-opening retreat. Set in the late 1990s, this lighthearted film tests the boundaries of friendships, relationships and family.

Stand Down

Dir. Dana Tynan & Kario Salem

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 2

A haunted ex-soldier suffering from PTSD on a journey toward the ultimate confrontation with HIMSELF.

Susanne And The Man

Dir. Milena Govich

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 2

Susanne endeavors to find her own voice & rhythm when she finds herself in a meeting with the king of mansplaining.

The 17

Dir. Alyssa Carter

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 5

A young Salvadorian woman is imprisoned for having a miscarriage.

The Conversation

Dir. Christopher Malcom Reese

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 2

When a mother succumbs to particular fears of raising her child, she decides to have a conversation with the child to discuss no longer wanting to be his mother.

The Get Through

Dir. Kylee Lehe

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 3

A woman's journey into the depths of despair and overcoming victimization, Realizing through the wounds she finds wisdom.

Based on an actual event, I made this movie in hopes of inspiring one woman to overcome and realize it is possible to create value of violence.

The Pass

Dir. Tal Kissos

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 3

Two estranged sisters step outside of their comfort zone emotionally and physically to spread their mom's ashes.

The Swan

Dir. Tiffany Paulsen

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

When a first date goes horribly wrong, a woman enlists her sister to help clean up the mess.

The Wedding Scene

Dir. Dan Levy Dagerman

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

On the set of an indie movie, an actress gets cold feet on the day of her character's wedding.


Dir. Era Ming

Friday  7/13/2018 Block 1

On the evening of a reunion, Karine grieves the loss of someone close to her.


Dir. Jean Barker & Christine Papalexis

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

A cardboard flower befriends a bed of daffodils.

Ugly Sweet

Dir. Eda Benjakul

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

Modern day 'Breakfast Club'. High school students from different backgrounds volunteer to make meals from rescued food and in the process peel away their outer layers, transforming themselves. They discover that revealing their truth helps themselves and each other.


Dir. Stephan Cornelio Velema

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 3

A young woman confronts aging through dance to find peace in the present.

Wake Me Up

Dir. Xia Hou

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 4

An experimental psycho drama about a woman struggles to wake up from a series of dream fragments nightmare triggered by a suspicious phone call of her boyfriend, but she finally realizes that she might still trapped in the dream.


Dir. Behrad Gramian

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 1

Penelope 'Yegua' Moreno will be the first girl to beat the boys for a State wrestling championship...unless her body beats her first.


Dir. Nichole Ruiz

Saturday  7/14/2018 Block 3

Kristen is a photographer who is opening her first ever gallery show. Her girlfriend, Samantha and all her friends are there. Everything was going as planned except when her parents randomly shows up on her gallery show, which was full of queer art.

Audience Award Winners

(Audience Winners will be posted by July 16th)

1st Place

Passage Dir. Linda Palmer

2nd Place

Ill Adjusted Dir. Tatiana Paris

3rd Place (Tie)

The Wedding Scene Dir. Dan Levy Dagerman

You Dir. Nichole Ruiz

Jury Category Winners

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

Best Feature Film

Maternal Secrets Dir. Lucinda Spurling

(Presented at the end of Block 5 on Saturday 7/14/2018)

Best Short Film

Instinct Dir. Maria Alice Arida

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/13/2018)

Best Feature Documentary

Feminists: What Were They Thinking

Dir. Johanna Demetrakas

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Saturday 7/14/2018)

Best Short Documentary

Knitting For Knockers Dir. Capucine Salvi Offer

(Presented at the end of Block 4 on Saturday 7/14/2018)

Best Student Film

Boyfriend Dir. Zara Sengstock

(Presented at the end of Block 1 on Friday 7/13/2018)

Best Foreign Film

Inadvertently Dir. Xiao-xiao Cai

(Presented at the end of Block 6 on Saturday 7/14/2018)

Best Animation

Mermaids and Rhinos Dir. Viktoria Traub

(Presented at the end of Block 1 on Friday 7/13/2018)

Best Music Video

Stand Down Dir. Dana Tynan & Kario Salem

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/13/2018)

Best Experimental Film

Chrysalis Dir. Ina Conradi & Mark Chavez

(Presented at the end of Block 6 on Saturday 7/14/2018)

Best Feature Script

Becoming Terpsichore by Susan Polk

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Friday 7/13/2018)

Best Short Script

Odin River by Barbara Glas

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Friday 7/13/2018)


Feature Script Finalist

A Touch Of Spring by Xiaodan He

A Voyager In Chronospace by Lisa Kirkwood

eDisharmony by Lorraine Portman

Mysti by Jennifer Phillips

Sociopath by Jacqueline Marett

Triangle 146 by Diane Uniman & Kevin M Cotter

Short Script Finalist

Cherry Blossoms In March by Riley Rheyan

Far From The Castle by Julia Jansch

Love-Love by Sabrina Hofkin

Temp by Kendra Sanders

The Medusa Project by Demetra Kareman

Jury Creative Nominees

(Creative Winners will be announced and presented during the opening night party on Friday, July 13th which starts at 10pm)

Best Director

Zara Sengstock - Boyfriend

Lucinda Spurling - Maternal Secrets

Maria Alice Arida - Instinct

Johanna Demetrakas - Feminists: What Were They Thinking

Xiao-xiao Cai - Inadvertently

Best Actress

Susan Gallagher - Picking Back Up

Kate Mansi - Maternal Secrets

Julia Parker - Passage

Laura Grady - Boyfriend

Christine Kellogg-Darrin - Instinct

Best Supporting Actress

Ellen Gerstein - Passage

Jordan Monaghan - Instinct

Kelly Mcgillis - Maternal Secrets

Lillie Richardson - The Conversation

SJ Mendelson - Maw Kitty

Best Actor

Sean Stolzen - Maternal Secrets

Billy Bob Thornton - Stand Down

Joe Klocek - Boyfriend

Justin Deeley - The Get Through

Joe Willand - Because We Can

Jury Creative Winners

(Creative Winners will be announced and presented during the opening night party on Friday, July. 13th which starts at 10pm)

Best Director

Lucinda Spurling - Maternal Secrets

Best Actress

Julia Parker - Passage

Best Supporting Actress

SJ Mendelson - Maw Kitty

Best Actor

Joe Willand - Because We Can