Several film festivals in the U.S. are doing their part to support women in film in the coming months. Though events like Rom Com Fest in Los Angeles and 51Fest in New York City were held this summer to present the worthy work of female filmmakers, cities including Boston and Chicago are also showing dozens of women-directed movies in late September and October.

From screenwriters labs to new awards categories, these festivals all have unique programming especially dedicated to the topic of advancing women in film.

Boston Women’s Film Festival

Dates: Sept. 26-29

Tickets: bostonwomensfest.org

Programming: Sister Aimee, Fast Color, Knives and Skin, Blowin’ Up, Paradise Hills, Endzeit, The Weekend and more.

Hosted by The Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, Cambridge and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Women’s Film Festival “brings the latest in media created by women from around the globe” according to https://www.bostonwomensfest.org.

Alice Waddington’s Paradise Hills stars Emma Roberts and Eiza Gonzalez. Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.



BendFilm Festival

Dates: Oct. 10-13

Tickets: bendfilm.org

Programming: Aquarela, Before You Know It, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Clemency, Midnight Traveler, Honeyland, Once Upon a River, plus panels and throwback screenings like Boys Don’t Cry.

Held at several venues in the scenic town of Bend, Oregon, this fest was recently designated one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals In The World” by MovieMaker Magazine. The 16th annual event has plenty of women-directed festival favorites in its lineup this year.

Co-writers Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt also star in Before You Know It. Courtesy of 1091 Media.


Hamptons International Film Festival

Dates: Oct. 10-14

Tickets: On sale Oct. 1 at hamptonsfilmfest.org

Programming: The Boxers of Brule, The Kingmaker, Varda By Agnes, For Sama, Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Clemency with guest Alfre Woodard.

With seven venues in the Hamptons, the 27th year of HIFF is doing more than just screening 41 percent of films by women. The festival is partnering with New York Women in Film & Television for the 17th year to present the annual shorts program “NYWIFT: Women Calling the Shots” to support achievements in female filmmaking.

The family of the late Melissa Mathison – an accomplished television and film writer who was known for writing the screenplays for The Black Stallion (1979) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – chose this festival to bestow a fund in her name which goes toward a female writer every year at the HIFF screenwriters lab. This year’s recipient is Pop Aye director Kirsten Tan.

“By choosing emerging female screenwriters to participate through this fund in Melissa’s name, her legacy will endure for generations to come,” said Anne Chaisson, HIFF Executive Director. “We are so proud to be able to honor her dedication to the craft of screenwriting during our annual Screenwriters Lab.”

Director Waad Al-Khateab tackles the female experience of war in Aleppo-set For Sama. Courtesy of PBS Distribution.



Architecture & Design Film Festival

When: Oct. 16-20

Tickets: adfilmfest.com

Programming: Eight films directed by women, including documentaries The New Bauhaus and Miracle on 42nd Street.

Held at Cinepolis Chelsea in Manhattan, the 11th year of the nation’s largest film festival devoted to architecture and design will feature a lineup that is about 42 percent women-directed. Full coverage of the Architecture & Design Film Festival is here.

Documentary The New Bauhaus will screen at several festivals this fall. Courtesy of AD Film Fest.

Chicago International Film Festival

When: Oct. 16-27

Tickets: On sale Sept. 27 at chicagofilmfestival.com

Programming: A special Women In Cinema program, including Hala, Harriet, Honeyboy and more than 20 other female-directed films.

The 55th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) will feature 40 films directed by women – about 30 percent of the 136 movies in the lineup. An extensive shorts program is also part of the annual festival held at the AMC River East, with 43 percent of short films from female filmmakers. Full coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival is here.

Kasi Lemmons will be in attendance at the Chicago International Film Festival screening of her film Harriet. Courtesy of Cinema/Chicago.


Austin Film Festival

When: Oct. 24-31

Tickets: austinfilmfestival.com

Programming: Yellow Rose, When We Last Spoke, Harriet, Honey Boy and more films, plus television programming.

Dubbed “a writer’s film festival” by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, the Austin Film Festival (AFF) has a history of championing aspiring and established filmmakers. This year’s lineup includes 23 World, North American and U.S. Premieres, plus a new awards category – the inaugural New Voice Award going to writer/director and actress Catherine Reitman.

Festival favorite Honey Boy is directed by Alma Har’el. Courtesy of Amazon Studios.


When: Oct. 25-27

Tickets: https://fffest.org/

Programming: Nine films, with special guests and panelists including Laurie Simmons, Desiree Akhavan, Dianna Agron and Erin Lee Carr.

Held at New York City’s Quad Cinema, the mission of FFFest is to “celebrate the women leading the way and to share information with each other.” Created by passerbuys and Women & Film, FFFest “provides a platform and community for filmmakers to share resources, guidance and inspiration.”


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