Submit to our 2023 Cinema Femme Short Film Fest! (April 28 – May 4, 2023)

Why Submit? Hear from past festival selected filmmakers and mentors!

*Black Panther” Illustration by Laurine Cornuéjols for our January 2019 Black Panther issue.

The 5th edition of the Cinema Femme Short Film Fest is running from 4/28/23 to 5/4/23. The festival emphasizes the importance of supporting emerging female and non-binary filmmakers by connecting them to seasoned industry members through our Breaking Down Walls Mentorship Program. The name of the mentorship program was inspired by our interview with Hannah Beachler in 2019 (embedded here). What we are doing through this mentorship program is breaking down walls in the industry and redesigning the institutions.

Read more about this year’s mentors and recipients of the mentorship program.

Press for 2022 Fest:

Breaking Down Walls: Cinema Femme Short Film Festival Seeks Gender Equality through Mentorship

Cinema Femme Pays Tribute to Halyna Hutchins

2022 Fest Team

Rebecca Martin – Festival Director

Rebecca Martin is the Managing Editor of Cinema Femme Magazine and the Festival Director of the Cinema Femme Short Film Fest. She founded her publication in 2018 because she wanted to create a platform for female and non-binary voices in the film community. She has hosted film screenings in Chicago, led virtual panel discussions and Q&As, and has covered festivals like the Sundance, Tribeca, the Bentonville Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival.

Julia Kipnis – Programmer

Julia is a documentary filmmaker, programmer, and film festival nomad. Originally hailing from Philadelphia, she studied film production at Syracuse University and is now based in Los Angeles. She has programmed for AFI Fest, Outfest, and has been on screening committees for True/False, NYFF, and more. 

Jessica Liu – Live Stream Operations Producer

Jessica Liu is a director and writer focused on genre-blending stories. She enjoys bringing bits of dark humor and magical realism to grounded stories; juxtaposing the perverse or taboo with the heart-warming.

Currently, she is developing an Anthology feature with a team of diverse women-identified directors. Recently, she was hired as a staff writer for the Tubi series ‘QT’. Her films have been screened internationally, domestically, digitally – Museum of Creative Minds, Shanghai, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, New Filmmakers LA, Cinequest, Amazon Prime, Softy, etc).

As a graduate of UCSC with double majors in Film and Feminist Studies – Culture, Power, and Representation, she strives to honor authentic marginalized perspectives and stories.

Katie Small – Live Stream Engagement Producer

Katie Small is a writer, photographer, editor, and filmmaker. She recently moved to Portland, Oregon from New Orleans, is originally from California, and grew up in a tiny town on the grassy plains of Nebraska. She has a degree in linguistics and politics and a background in journalism and non-profit communications. Katie served as the Managing Editor for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is a screener for the 2022 New Orleans Film Festival. 

Kayla PodgurskiSocial Media Intern

My name is Kayla (she/her), and I’m a third-year film student at Loyola University Chicago. I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio, but quickly fell in love with Chicago ever since I moved here two years ago. My background in photography has led me to develop a strong passion for film. I enjoy making both documentary and narrative films, using my camera as a tool to capture the true nature of the world around me. In my free time, I love spending time with friends, playing volleyball, and trying new coffee shops in the city (always looking for new recs)! With that being said, I’m excited to be a part of the Cinema Femme team and look forward to working with everyone!




The Light Leaks

Camera Ambassador


Mezcla Media Collective

Our 2022 Breaking Down Walls Mentors

Christine Swanson

A visionary filmmaker from Detroit, Michigan, Christine Swanson directed the record-breaking, smash-hit film “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel”, which was 2020’s Best TV Movie award recipient from the African American Film Critics Association and nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Movie Made for Television as well as five NAACP Image Award nominations including Outstanding Directing. Her other celebrated and award-winning movie credits include “All About You, All About Us”, “The Miki Howard Story”, and “For the Love of Ruth” (for which she also earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Television Motion Picture). Christine is currently on path to produce and direct, “Sunflower: The Fannie Lou Hamer Story,” written by and starring Aunjanue Ellis. Christine received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Film from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and her Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame. She lives in Los Angeles with her studio executive husband, Michael Swanson, and their four amazing children.

Jennifer Reeder

Jennifer Reeder, who was recently named by Bong Joon Ho as a filmmaker to watch in the 2020s, constructs personal fiction films about relationships, trauma and coping. Her films have shown consistently around the world, including the Sundance Film Festival, The Berlin Film Festival, The Tribeca Film Festival, The Rotterdam Film Festival, The London Film Festival, SXSW, The Venice Biennale and The Whitney Biennial. Her awards include several that have qualified her films for Oscar nominations. She won a Creative Capital Grant in Moving Image in 2015, short film funding from Rooftop/Adrienne Shelly Foundation in 2016 and short film funding from the Hamburg Film Fund in 2016. She won a USA Fellowship for 2021. She was a Herb Alpert Film Award nominee in 2018 and 2020. She won a 2018/19 scriptwriting award from SFFIM/Rainin Foundation. She was the 2019 recipient of the Alpert Film Award residency at the MacDowell Colony. Her most recent film, Knives and Skin was theatrically released in France in November 2019 through UFO and in the US in December 2019 through IFC Midnight. She recently completed a section of V/H/S 94, a horror anthology from Shudder, which will premiere at Fantastic Fest before launching off the Shudder platform. She is currently in post-production with a new feature film called Night’s End also from Shudder. She is currently in pre-production for a new feature length film called PERPETRATOR which is being produced by 30West, Divide&Conquer and WTFilms.

Annette Davey

Annette Davey is an editor originally from Australia now based in LA & NY, she has worked in both TV & film. She is currently in post production on a feature film “Dreamin Wild” for Focus Features, featuring Casey Affleck, Beau Bridges, Zoey Deschanel, Chris Messina and Noah Jupe. Annette recently completed the limited series for HULU, “Pam & Tommy” starring Lily James, Sebastian Stan & Seth Rogen. Previously she edited “Maid,” the Netflix series starring Margaret Qualley, Andie Macdowell & Nick Robinson based on the NY Times bestseller by Stephanie Land. She also completed several features including “Together, Together” starring Ed Helms & Patti Harrison & “Lady of the Manor” co-directed by and starring Justin Long, with Melanie Lynskey, Judy Greer, Ryan Philippe and Luiz Guzman. She has worked on a wide selection of TV, including “Transparent”, “Better Things”, “Glow”, and recently was a consulting editor for the UK/Australian co production, “The End” a 10-part limited series screening in the UK, Australia & the US (Showtime originals) with Frances O’Connor & Harriet Walter produced by SeeSaw films, Foxtel & Sky Atlantic.

Lisa Robinson

Lisa Robinson is an award-winning director and writer. Her short and feature film work has premiered at film festivals including SXSW, Cannes-Directors Fortnight and Telluride and has been distributed theatrically and released on multiple platforms including Showtime, Netflix, Sundance Channel and Public Television. Robinson was chosen for the inaugural NBC Female Forward Television Directing Program in 2018 and has since directed multiple episodes of television for NBC, CBS and FOX. Her awards include the Sloan Feature Film Prize, the Martin E. Segal Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in Film Studies, her MFA from NYU’s Film Directing Program and she is currently based in New York City.

2022 Cinema Femme Short Film Fest: 4th Edition!

2021 April Showcase Festival highlights

2021 February Showcase festival Main Competition Q&A

2021 February Showcase festival Dawn Porter Tribute

2020 Film Festival highlights

Press piece from 2020:

Rebecca Martin – Festival Director and Founder of Cinema Femme

Rebecca Martin

Rebecca Martin is the Managing Editor of Cinema Femme magazine and the Festival Director of Cinema Femme Short Film Fest. She founded her publication in 2018 because she wanted to create a platform for female voices in the film community. She has hosted film screenings in Chicago, led virtual panel discussions, Q&As, is the Cinema Femme Short Films Director, and has covered festivals like the Chicago International Film Festival, Sundance, Tribeca, and the Bentonville Film Festival.

I started Cinema Femme because I wanted more female voices in the film discourse, as well as more stories about female and non-binary filmmakers, to be elevated,” said Martin. “The publication began by balancing interviews with film criticism. Our audience became largely comprised of female filmmakers who were gravitating towards these interviews. One year and a hundred interviews later, this festival just seemed to make sense because all of these women and non-binary people who had invested in the magazine had also produced their own amazing movies. I wanted to give these emerging female filmmakers an opportunity to show their work while connecting with female and non-binary people who have been in the industry for a while. I can see the female and non-binary people whose films will be screening at this year’s festival going on to having amazing careers, and though I don’t have a lot of money myself, I do know people who can help them. What I want this festival to do, more than anything, is to help these female and non-binary people have exciting careers that will enable their stories to live on. I want young girls to see that there are female filmmakers out there who they can look up to and make them realize that their dreams are reachable.

Rebecca Martin, Founder of Cinema Femme