Cinema Femme is the voice of the female film experience, a platform for stories about womxn in film and their allies that aims to inspire change in the industry. Our short film festival is an extension of our mission, and the womxn we feature (cinemafemme.com).
For 2021, we are turning our four-day festival into a bi-monthly (February, April, June, August, October) showcase paired with our Womxn to Womxn in Film Mentorship program. The festival emphasizes the importance of supporting emerging female and non-binary filmmakers by connecting them to seasoned industry members. The goal is for talented emerging female and non-binary filmmakers to have long-lasting, successful careers.
Included with the festival are our panel discussions about important and relevant topics in the industry. Q&As and panels in our inaugural 2020 festival were led by Karyn Kusama, Chaz Ebert, Alice Waddington, Lara Gallagher and Nora Poggi. topics included the black female filmmaker panel and creative distribution.
The festival emphasizes the importance of supporting emerging female and non-binary filmmakers by connecting them to seasoned industry members through our 6-month Womxn to Womxn in Film Mentorship Program. The goal is for talented emerging female and non-binary filmmakers to have long-lasting, successful careers. The filmmaker behind one of the five selected films for that month’s showcase will be awarded a 6-month mentorship with a seasoned womxn in film in the industry.
Mentors for 2020 were Deborah Kampmeier (“TAPE”, “Hounddog”, “Queen Sugar”), Haroula Rose (“Once Upon a River”, “As They Slept”), Laura Moss (“Fry Day”), and Patricia Vidal Delgado (“La Leyenda Negra”). Our February 2021 mentor was Emmy-winning editor and filmmaker Kate Hackett (“Cheer” “Oleander”).
April Showcase Introduction
As 2020 brought us many challenges in how we share stories, digital platforms and online discussions brought us all closer. Cinema Femme is the voice of the female film experience, a mission that is exemplified by our April 2021 showcase. Womxn all over the world want to tell their stories, and female-identifying filmmakers who bring these stories to the screen should be shared!
For our April showcase, we have selected four films for our main competition, and two films for our Spotlight. A six-month mentorship will be awarded to the winning main competition film’s filmmaker with award-winning filmmaker Cecilia Albertini (“Labor” “Francis Ford Coppola Live Cinema”).
Our spotlight films are “Turkey’s Done!”, a short comedic film revolving around Peaches Bracco, played by Cheri Oteri,a South Philly housewife, who is impatiently waiting for her cheating husband to come home for a Thanksgiving he’ll never forget. The film is co-directed by Monique Impagliazzo and Jennifer Tini. LIVE Q&A after film screening with directors and cast after film screening moderated by Katherine Bourne Taylor (“Cool for Five Seconds”, “Ships in the Night”, “Lovecraft Country”).
And for Sexual Assault Awareness Month we spotlight“JEN, 28,”. The short puts a new lens on sexual assault, story by Jessica Sharples. LIVE Q&A after film screening with Jessica Sharples, moderated by Annarosa Mudd (“TAPE”).
The four short film selected for the main competition and who are in the running for the six-month mentorship with filmmaker Cecilia Albertini (“Labor”, “Francis Ford Coppola Live Cinema”) are “Other People” a short about the growing pains of coming-of-age by Anna Fredrikke Bjerke;”Fletcher,” a story about an unconventional morning after a one-night stand, directed by Emma Thatcher;Sydney Morgan’s powerful and lyrical “Hues and Hidden Kings,” echoing the reverberations of #BlackLivesMatter; and Michelle Hernandez‘ “Douk,” a fact-based story about a Native American family. Q&A following Short Block screening with filmmakers, moderated by Deborah Goodwin.
Special events include a tribute event with filmmaker Kris Rey (“I Used To Go Here”, “Unexpected”), we will also be tributing Isabel Sandoval (“Lingua Franca”), and special screening of “Shiva Baby” and Q&A with director Emma Seligman and star Rachel Sennott.
April 2021 Mentor
Cecilia Albertini – April 2021 Film Festival Showcase Mentor
Cecilia Albertini is a director and writer originally from Italy and based in Los Angeles. Her award-winning films have screened at Academy-Award qualifying festivals such as HollyShorts, the LA Shorts Fest and the Urbanworld Film Festival, and they have been showcased by platforms such as KCET and Rai Cinema Channel.
Cecilia’s work, which spans from heartfelt dramas and dark comedies to socially-relevant documentaries, often features strong-willed women at the edge of society fighting against higher forces and standing up for their place in the world.
Cecilia graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Film Studies, and earned her MFA in Film Directing/Producing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
Cecilia is also an actress, and appeared in major television shows in Italy as well as in feature films.
Short Film Festival Showcase Judges
Oluwaseun Babalola – 2021 Film Festival Showcase Judge
Oluwaseun Babalola is a Sierra Leonean-Nigerian New Yorker, director, and producer. She created the company DO Global Productions to pursue her passions for Black/African content and directed SOJU, an award-winning documentary series celebrating the diversity of youth culture in Africa. The series was filmed in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Botswana, and Spain.
She has worked as producer for CNN, HBO, CNBC, PBS and The Africa Channel, and co-produced the feature documentaries, Trichster and Picture A Scientist, a Tribeca Film Festival selection. Outside of film and television, her photography was featured in the shadomag photo exhibition of female photographers, I Am A Woman: Global Womxnhood, exhibited in London, 2020.
Oluwaseun travels with her films, speaking at institutions and universities about the importance of documentary as cultural preservation. She has initiatives to support capacity building in creative industries in Africa, which has placed her as a cohort of Global Startup Ecosystems’ Africa Digital Accelerator and the inaugural Creative Producer Indaba Residency, hosted by EAVE, Realness Institute, IFFR Pro and Sundance Institute.
Currently she is developing her first feature as director, a narrative/documentary-hybrid about gender parity in Nigeria.”
Dawn Borchardt- 2021 Film Festival Showcase Judge
Dawn Borchardt is a Salt Lake City-based film festival producer, film podcaster and filmmaker. She has worked at many film festivals around the US including Sundance and the LA Film Fest, and currently produces the Freeland Film Fest which focuses on sharing stories that inspire. She hosts the podcast Faux Reel interviewing indie filmmakers about how their personal histories and beliefs interweave with the stories they share on screen. Dawn’s lifelong love of horror film is what got her immersed in the film world, ultimately landing her focus on experimental work, documentaries and stories that inspire change.
Erica Duffy- 2021 Film Festival Showcase Judge
Since moving to Chicago seven years ago, entrepreneur and production powerhouse, Erica Duffy has founded and grown Camera Ambassador. This camera, grip, and electric rental house is not only known for being one of the most reliable and artist-friendly houses but also the only female-owned and operated location in the country. After purchasing and renovating a 6,000 sq ft industrial loft, it now features a fully equipped recording studio, state-of-the-art equipment prep bays, an event space, and co-working offices. When a bucket list script or crew lands in her lap she always loves getting on-set to produce. One of her recent projects includes an episodic tv show for Cowboy Cerrone while training to fight Connor McGregor in early 2020. Erica’s newest endeavor is serving as the executive director of The Midwest Film Festival. She is passionate about building relationships and fostering community and feels fortunate to have many avenues to accomplish this.
Veronica Miles – 2021 Film Festival Showcase Judge
Veronica Miles dedication to the cinematic experience led to a career in Cinema Exhibition over the past 8 years: managing dine-in cinemas, producing large-scale screening events and premieres and working at the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, AFI Fest, New Zealand International Film Festival, TCM Fest, and more. She has now moved into Impact Producing for Spellbound Productions II, overseeing distribution of their award-winning documentary General Magic, which had a 25-city US theatrical run and is now available on Showtime and VOD. She is currently a Producing lead on their next project in development. Her latest short film “Bess” was completely self-produced and follows a woman seeking healing in New Orleans after her grandmother’s death.
2020 Film Festival highlights
Rebecca Martin – Festival Director and Founder of Cinema Femme
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 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 womxn 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 womxn who have been in the industry for a while. I can see the womxn 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 womxn 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