California Women’s Film Festival


July 2022 selections and Winners

Official Selections

A Sit Down With Cyn: Short Film

Dir. Cynthia D. Hilaire & Xavier Dubose

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 2

A Dit Down With Cyn: Short Film, is a collection of monologues vignettes inspired by the book A Sit Down With: Cyn Monologues For Black Girls.

Ages of Man

Dir. Claire Leona Apps

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 4

An anthology fiction short where three men find themselves in vulnerable positions with three women. This comedic horror drops the audience in the middle of stories about the invisible labor that women perform every day, the labor that makes the world go round. The vignettes depict these particular men’s lack of awareness to what supports their sense of self and well-being, and thus revealing a blind spot: they can’t tell whether they’re being saved, destroyed, or replaced.

Akoon (being)

Dir. Zeina Aref

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 1

“Being” is an ode to, and celebration of, Egyptian women and our expressive journeys towards reclaiming the spaces we rightfully deserve.

Ang Motel

Dir. Jon Matthews

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 1

A young woman shares her motel room with an elderly Filipina woman, when she is stranded in a sleepy beach town.

Are We Dead Yet?

Dir. Lilly Urban

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 2

Thanatologist Cara must face her toxic relationship with her best friend Jess, while stuck in a coroner's office for the night.


Dir. Andrea Lwin

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 3

After the sudden death of a tenant, an inept L.A. property manager accidentally creates a competition by scheduling two couples to view the newly-available apartment at the same time, while his cleaning lady frantically tries to wipe away evidence of the dead body.


Dir. Cheng Xu

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 2

Asian-American, Zoe, (21 years old) acts like an Asian Baby Girl (ABG) and avoids connecting with the "Asian Nerd" group in school so she could still “hang” with the popular White kids. After a few interactions with the Asian Nerds she becomes estranged from her white friend, Cammy, due to racial comments from Cammy about the Nerds. Zoe finally understands she shouldn't be ashamed of who she is.

Broken Drawer

Dir. Rippin Sindher

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 3

In order to continue living, a broken man must confront childhood trauma buried deep inside a family heirloom. Inspired by true events, "Broken Drawer" explores the power of love and letting go.


Dir. Daniel Villanueva Avalos & Samantha Barroso

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 3

When Axel, a young axolotl, gets separated from his family by ancient magic it’s up to him and Memo, an unlikely human ally, to get him out of the cenote he’s trapped in and back to his home.


Dir. Jessica Payne

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

Chapters follows the mind of a woman writer as she seeks comfort through memories of a past muse; her consciousness quickly catches up to her dangerous environment and the reality of her most current relationship.


Dir. Mel Mah

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 1

Heartbroken and fed up, Jade, an idealistic LA-transplant, abruptly walks out on her boyfriend. On her journey through the streets of LA, the city’s transforming facade reflects her inner struggle, and eventually leads her to a final crossroads. But is she prepared to face the consequences of her chosen path?

Completely Normal

Dir. Kaleigh Spencer

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 1

A young woman in denial of her emotional instability must confront her recent sexual and psychological traumas with a new therapist in order to begin to move forward and find a sense of justice.

Conceal & Carry

Dir. Carlos Velasco

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 2

In a not too distant future new laws have created more hurdles for basic medical rights. Police are militant and anonymous, citizens going into clinics can become criminals


Dir. Sonia Sawkar

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 3

When dysfunctional Ray walks in on her perfect best friend Cora trying to kill herself, secrets are revealed and humor is found in unexpected places. A dark comedy exploring the themes of postpartum depression and female friendship.

Don't Let Go

Dir. Mel Orpen

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 2

When Sam and Reggie get engaged, their future seems bright--until a terrible car accident leaves Reggie in a coma. And Sam must confront Reggie's homophobic mother to fight for a place at her hospital bedside before it's too late.


Dir. Catherine Schetina

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 1

After losing her father to a terrible genetic disease, seventeen year old Keira moves in with her estranged uncle. The constant surveillance of his smart house and the weight of her grief drive her to paranoia, and she begins to suspect something sinister is going on in her new home.

Fight The Fear

Dir. Shyamala Moorty

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 4

A Dreamer lays her hopes on the line, baring her soul to fight the fear. Set in a cemented river bed in Southern California, clusters of dancers push, drag, and carry each other in a dance of survival, while powerful spoken word and ethereal vocals call out the fears and hopes of those facing exclusionary migration laws. Created through collaboration and storytelling, this piece highlights the real struggles of the lead performers, while also celebrating their strength, and resilience. Working with Latinx stories and contemporary South Asian music and movement recognizes the intersections of the global South and the continuing challenges of migration, borders and belonging.

Flesh Peddler

Dir. Jacquie DiTroia

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 3

An ambitious stripper cons her way into a job at a talent agency, only to learn there are more dangerous grifters than her in the building.

For I Am Dead

Dir. Patricia Delso Lucas

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 2

In late-1800s Europe, Oscar, a wealthy but lonely middle-aged man who has lived a decadent, extravagant life in a chateau filled with wine, courtesans and opium, confesses love to his gardener Jude before he dies of his excesses.

For Sale

Dir. Nika King

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 1

For Sale is a short film that addresses mental health in the African American community by telling an intimate story through the lens of a young married couple

Forest Giants

Dir. Augusta Mariano

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 1

In the early days of the internet a brother and sister attempt to mend their strained relationship as they venture into the woods to film a hoax video.

Fresh to Frightening - The Sharon Green Story

Dir. Gareth Kelly

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 2

The world of competitive yacht racing is fast, exciting, and glamourous. From the America’s Cup to the Olympics to billionaires racing across exotic seas it is a world dominated by men.

Full Count

Dir. Claire Elliott

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 3

Old school manager Billy Romo is on the hot seat, at odds with his powerful and overbearing boss, and in conflict with modern baseball, a game which he hardly recognizes. At least his trusted friend and bench coach Don Meadows is there for him. Or is he?


Dir. Christy Lee Hughes

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 3

Gabby, a dysfunctional guardian angel struggling with addiction, fails miserably at her job of protecting her human assignment Derrik from the dangers of living on Earth. After yet another horrific accident that Gabby did nothing to prevent, Derrik summons the courage to fire her. Shocked, Gabby goes through stages of grief, revealing to Derrik exactly how she got to this low point in her existence, including her deepest and darkest secrets.


Dir. Denise Poole

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 6

Old habits die hard, but sometimes turning a new leaf can be scary. Ashton finds out the hard way when her friend unexpectedly drops by to see her.


Dir.  Brent Kravitz

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 2

Love one another and Help one another wherever you are. Use your God-given talents to raise the vibration in this world; city by city, state by state, nation by nation.

Hidden Reality

Dir. Brenna Prince

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 4

Two roommates discover their lives have been filmed for a reality tv show without their knowledge. What embarrassing things will show from this?

How to Hack Birth Control

Dir. Sassy Mohen

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

‘How to Hack Birth Control’ is a 3-segment pilot of the satire series 'How to Hack' by Sassy Mohen. The pilot focuses on how to navigate and take charge in today’s contraception universe. Told through the sharp wit and perky charm of the narrator Ruth (Xanthe Paige), Birth Control takes a run at ‘not supposed to talk about,’ scenarios and answers all of the questions women truly want to know but are taught to be too afraid to ask.


Dir. Lindsey E. Gary

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

Over one disorienting evening, Rosa discovers that her daughter has developed unusual abilities that threaten the harmony of her perfect family, and the world at large.

I Miss Her, Too

Dir. Justin Wilder Neese

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

Zach and Kayla Wheeler are trying to cope with the sudden loss of their mother. Kayla is the younger sister who is still grieving, and Zach is the older brother who must now take legal guardianship over his little sister. It will be difficult going forward as they navigate the challenges of life on their own, but they'll rely on each other to get through.

In Event Of Moon Disaster

Dir. Mark Johnson

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 2

In Event of Moon Disaster pairs intimate questions about the isolation of mother and wifehood with reflections on the potential danger of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Joan Of Arc

Dir. Timothy Lott

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 6

After her first battle, Joan of Arc sees the massacre caused by her leading the army and her side winning. The picture of such unimaginable butchery makes her doubt wether she was really sent by God to save France.


Dir. Dwayne Cameron

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 1

June is a story about the fragility of life; the primal forces that drive and control us and the mystery of hope and new beginnings. Willow and David receive a serious diagnosis from their doctor and attempt to deal with the mundane as their world disintegrates in the following 24 hours. This one day in June for the couple holds raw despair, unleashing carnal natures but a transcendent occurrence offers them the hope of new life.

Let's Table It

Dir. Nora Jobling

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 3

A short film by Nora Jobling.

Life Drawing

Dir. Gregory Earls

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 6

Life Drawing is a short film about a plus-sized college student with low self-esteem, who is bullied into posing for the art students’ figure drawing class.


Dir. Faryl Amadeus

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 1

When a stranger appears in Grace's life with disturbing news about her long-lost birth mother, she must fight to untangle herself from a dangerous and sinister plan.


Dir. Feifei Zhong

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 2

It is a story about a woman struggling between her career and family after finding her unexpected pregnancy and finally gets collapses. Hejiahui is a stage performer who plays the main role in the play Medea. The director is leading them for a national tour for the next half year. Yet she finds herself gets pregnant. At the mean while, Medea, the Ancient Greek woman who killed her own sons enters Jiahui's mind...

Mrs. Carmody & Mrs. Jellineck: No Fugu for Yugu

Dir. Jeanne Taylor, Salme Geransar & Elizabeth Arends

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 1

Dry. Offbeat. 100% Homemade Murder Mystery Whodunnit?! It's 1984. The setting: Baroness Ipswich's Country House The action: Murder. Another murder has darkened the already damp London countryside! Mrs. Carmody, an Irish lady detective & Mrs. Jellineck, ventriloquist dummy detective, are the most famous crime- solving duo in London! Join the lady detectives, Jo the Cook, Baroness Ipswich, Hypnotist Dr. Kerns Eyesop, his assistant Miss Pennigree, for a feast that’s sure to bring heartburn and see ... WHO DUNNIT?! Let's be About it!

My House

Dir. Mary Elizabeth Boylan

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

One woman's lifelong journey told through the prism of her childhood home.


Dir. Savannah M. Ryan

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 2

Neckline is a provocation, an appeal to the world to listen to our voices and for us to embrace our inner most desires. To break free from society’s expectation of ‘an Ideal woman’ and be free to slither out of the box we name as our comfort zone.

Not Albatrosses

Dir. JoAnne Myers

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 6

When a condescending ballet instructor meets her match when she invites a middle-aged and conniving witch to join her group.


Dir. Carlos Moreno Jr

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 3

Escape the pain of fully living or "seize the day," courageously feeling all of life? A grieving widow's prescription to get through loss could cost her everything. How far will she go with a lot to lose to alleviate the pain? Will living NUMB get her through? Getting through at any cost can cost everything.


Dir. Alia Brandt

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 4

A young woman is excited for her romantic date with an older man.

Off Side

Dir. Sophie Martin

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 3

Camille, a single mother and home helper, tries as best she can to raise her son Théo, who has severe language problems. Obliged to replace a colleague, she is forced to take care of Monsieur Conti, a silent old man.

Oh, Baby!

Dir. Brooke Trantor

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 1

Jane is single and looking for one last night of hot sex before her life changes forever.


Dir. Jocelyn Ramos Sepulveda

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

On her way to the job interview of her life, she's gotten her period and noticeably stains her bottoms, will she skip the interview or risk it all?


Dir. Viviana Garibay

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 2

A young man must come to terms with the ideals of the other last person alive on earth to prevent human beings from extinction and staying alone on the planet.

Pillow Fight

Dir. Evey Yu

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 3

A heterosexual couple has an argument about sex after the guy came prematurely.

Space Limbo

Dir. Judy Norton

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 3

The chance of a lifetime to see “the galaxy and beyond”! That was the advertisement that enticed this willing group of misfits to embark on a journey to another planet. Each in their own space pod – each headed for a different location. But as the trip goes on and on… and on… and they keep their personal video logs we get a glimpse into their dreams, their strengths, their weaknesses and in some cases – their breaking point in this quirky space comedy.


Dir. Cynthia Wade

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 1

Beth lives with constant reminders of her deceased husband -- a local health guru named Sproutman. She dodges her neighbors who chant yoga mantras and drink green juices in his honor. When her son grows increasingly obsessed with his dad’s legacy, Beth wonders: who am I now without Sproutman? As Beth forges a path she neither expected nor wanted, she learns that life can hold despair and joy at the same time.


Dir. Arlo Grey Gordon

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

An unexpected call from her little brother turns Jules' world upside down.


Dir. Angela DiMarco

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 3

When life forces Caroline and Anthony apart, will their love last? Can memories be enough for Caroline's heart to hold onto? A first love. A true love. An everlasting love.


Dir. Sonya Padalka

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 1

Alisa, 24, is a passionate architect, who tries to build a loving relationship with her boyfriend, but questions if everything is that perfect between them after meeting a domestic violence victim.

Summer Soundtrack

Dir. Artemis Snow & Haley Luciani

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 3

A tender, summer-on-repeat piece that explores how we traditionally define a soulmate on the day of a wedding.

The Dark Essence

Dir. Mari Assad

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 2

After being shunned by the community, Todd Reid and Jim James are determined to gain more followers for their satanic group, The Dark Essence, and to spread the word of secularism to the United States.

The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland

Dir. Joe Benedetto & Alison Stover

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 4

Based on a true story, The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland takes you on a journey into the gaslighting and confusion of life post abusive relationship.

The Little Things

Dir. Katherine Oostman

Friday  7/15/2022 Block 3

The Little Things follows Wilma, as she struggles to let go of what she *might* be missing out on (according to social media), along with battling a not-always-nice inner dialogue, in order to make some connections in her new job and life. Can she let the little sh*t go?

The Night Princess

Dir. Ruth Elliott

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 4

THE NIGHT PRINCESS is an original fable by Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon. that encourages us to see that the way we treat anyone, is the way we treat everyone!

The Package

Dir. Melanie Lee Thompson

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 6

A depressed woman receives an unsolicited package delivered by an old acquaintance.

The Phoenix

Dir. Regina Pigsley

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 1

After successfully acquiring superpowers, a young girl attempts to fix her parents’ marriage. In the end, she learns that superpowers can't fix everything.


Dir. Cybelle R Kaehler

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 3

After a young woman is sexually assaulted by her ballet teacher, she must find the strength to continue her art.


Dir. Cat Dale

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 2

TOUCH is a story about the power of love and how we pass that from one generation to the next. Riley and her grandmother, Nana, always had a special relationship, mostly centered around baking. Riley’s mother, Babs, never understood this connection, nor had much in common with her daughter. When Nana is put into hospice, Babs tries to help Riley accept that Nana will not be around forever. Riley’s whole world is thrown into doubt, but when she finds a mysterious recipe at Nana’s bakery, it creates an opportunity for the three generation of women to forgive past wrongs.


Dir. Juan Escobedo

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 2

"Trigger" is a powerful short film about friendship, empathy and healing, and brings to life the story of Max and Valentina, who are triggered to recall the traumatic reality of sexual assault.

Triple A

Dir. JB Rutagarama

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 6

A man and a woman wait for AAA to arrive after a hard day.

True Believer

Dir. Alana Purcell

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 5

Down-on-their-luck siblings inherit a dusty cabin in the middle of nowhere. When neighbors and strangers start showing up, things quickly get out of hand. Can they survive a long weekend of family secrets, mystical questions, and home improvement mishaps?

Twenty Minute Exotic Getaway

Dir. Hollis Sherman-Pepe

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 6

Terrorism and global pandemics have made destination travel a luxury of the past. Virtual reality "Getaways" have become the only escape. Devon becomes addicted to the VR travel experience, believing she is receiving a message from within the system.

Two Three

Dir. Kobina Wright

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 2

A man stumbles into a multiplex world of love and mystery that leaves him shaken in the California chaparral.


Dir. Shahaub Roudbari & Patrik Giardino

Sunday  7/17/2022 Block 2

Two unassuming women are pursued by a pair of “perfect gentlemen” while hiking in the desert. As the fire burns into the night, the duo are met with unwelcome advances from the duplicitous aggressors. Tensions boil over and the predators learn they are prey in a gruesome taste of poetic justice.

Where's The Bitch?

Dir. Sarah Hendry

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 4

High jinks explode when a fashionista helming a faux-fur empire sets out on a mission to take back a precious asset, stolen by her ex-wife. This quest launches an impulsive decision that gives new life to all involved. Warning: Adorable canines in the cast.

Women in the Front Seat

Dir. Indy Saini

Saturday  7/16/2022 Block 2

Fierce, Bold, Fast, Brave! “Women in the Front Seat” paints a vibrant and diverse picture of women who not only drive their motorcycles but drive their lives. This feature documentary captures the growing movement of women hitting the throttle and riding into the wind, breaking social norms and shattering stereotypes about women and women riders.

Audience Award Winners

(Audience Winners will be posted by July 19th)

1st Place

Completely Normal  Dir. Kaleigh Spencer

2nd Place

Ang Motel  Dir. Jon Matthews

3rd Place

Women in the Front Seat  Dir. Indy Saini

Jury Category Winners

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

Best Feature Film

True Believer  Dir. Alana Purcell

(Presented at the end of Block 5 on Saturday 7/16/2022)

Best Short Film

Off Side  Dir. Sophie Martin

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Sunday 7/17/2022)

Best Feature Documentary

Women in the Front Seat  Dir. Indy Saini

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Saturday 7/16/2022)

Best Short Documentary

Fresh to Frightening - The Sharon Green Story

Dir. Gareth Kelly

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/15/2022)

Best Student Film

Stay Dir. Sonya Padalka

(Presented at the end of Block 1 on Friday 7/15/2022)

Best Foreign Film

For I Am Dead  Dir. Patricia Delso Lucas

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/15/2022)

Best Animation

Cenote  Dir. Daniel Villanueva Avalos

& Samantha Barroso

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 7/16/2022)

Best Music Video

HEARTS FOR PEACE  Dir. Brent Kravitz

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Saturday 7/16/2022)

Best Experimental Film

Neckline  Dir. Savannah M. Ryan

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/15/2022)

Best Feature Script

Cold War Charlie by Cheryl Gallegos & Ron Osborn

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Saturday 7/16/2022)

Best Short Script

A Leap by Kendra Sanders

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Saturday 7/16/2022)


Feature Script Finalist

Amy and Angel by Julia Verdin & Deedee Benkovich

Canary by BetteLou Tobin

Catfished by Lesley Manuel

Centurions by Sally Claire Stubbs

Coven Lake by Sabrina Wheeler

Hashtag Blessed The Movie  by Dalea Cherie Faulkner

He’s Just A Boy by Melanie Sovran Wolfe

I’ll Give You My Heart by Tamara Steren

The Strays by Eli Rose

While I Wait by Beverly Gandara

Wombman, The Play by Evy Trezvant

Short Script Finalist

Appearances by Joan Tofteland

Backwater by Klara Chmelarova

Cold Service by Peter Strupp

Down With It by Melanie Sovran Wolfe

Fluid by Chon-Chun Huang

Never Better by Kathleen M Caprario Ulrich

Parry by Lexi Jamieson Marsh

Post Production by Ray Rocky

South For Winter by Jill Ferrari

Thingamajigs — An American Fairy Tale by A. S. Templeton

Jury Creative Winners

Best Director

Sophie Martin - Off Side

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Sunday 7/17/2022)

Best Actress

Coralie Russier - Off Side

(Presented at the end of Block 3 on Sunday 7/17/2022)

Best Supporting Actress

Ferelith Young - True Believer

(Presented at the end of Block 5 on Saturday 7/16/2022)

Best Actor

Al Nazemian - For I Am Dead

(Presented at the end of Block 2 on Friday 7/15/2022)