Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival opens submissions for women-directed films

Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival is now accepting submissions via FilmFreeway of exceptional short films directed by women. Those selected will be presented at a multi-day festival April 12-15, 2018 at Pickford Film Center in Bellingham, WA.

Submissions for the 2018 festival of short films under 30 minutes are being accepted via FilmFreeway now through November 15, 2017. Films must be directed or co-directed by women and have been released no later than 2016. Films can be of any genre. Feature films for the festival are curated. Those considering submission are strongly encouraged to first review our 2017 Official Selection on the Cascadia website as an indicator of the level of quality the festival is seeking.


Cascadia is one of only two film festivals in the United States dedicated to exclusively showcasing the work of women directors. The festival debuted in April 2017 at Pickford Film Center, presenting 24 exceptional films directed by women. In addition to the festival, Cascadia works year round to provide film production, exhibition and distribution education. On October 14, 2017, Cascadia will present two documentary features as part of the Pickford Film Center’s month-long documentary film festival, Doctober.

The first of the two, Big Sonia, was an audience favorite during the April 2017 festival. It is being presented as an encore screening by Pickford Film Center. It tells the story of a business owner and Holocaust survivor struggling in modern day Kansas City. The film will be screened at 3:15 PM followed by a Q & A session with area survivors.

A second film, Letters from Baghdad, will screen at 6 PM followed by a Q & A with directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum via Skype. The film is voiced and executive produced by Academy-award-winning actor Tilda Swinton. The film tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell who shaped the destiny of Iraq after World War I, even more than her friend and colleague T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia) and yet she has been written out of history.

Cascadia was founded in 2015:

* to promote Bellingham, Whatcom County and the Pacific Northwest as a destination for filmmakers and film enthusiasts,

* to present an annual film festival showcasing exceptional films by women directors, and

* to provide educational opportunities relating to the viewing, making and distribution of films.

The importance of its mission is illustrated by a growing body of research that documents the under-representation of women among film directors, producers and writers. A 2017 study conducted by the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Communications and Journalism School, showed that of the 1000 top grossing films from 2007 to 2016, only 4% were directed by women, and that “there was no meaningful change in the prevalence of female directors across the top films from 2007 to 2016.”

Under-representation of women among filmmakers affects how stories are told. The program’s 2016 report found that only 30% of speaking characters in top-grossing films were women. In 2014, women had leading roles in only 20% of the top 100 films. Only 2% of those films featured non-white women in leading roles.

“Women today are succeeding in many traditionally-male roles in business, academia, government, even construction and heavy industry, yet women’s voices are seldom heard in the films that we know shape our perceptions of the world. Cascadia came together to help remedy this imbalance, to bring women’s perspectives and concerns into the public arena,” says Cascadia Executive Director Cheryl Crooks. “We’re excited to begin the Official Selection process for 2018 and are looking forward to finding many more exceptional films directed by women.”

Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of women filmmakers, was formed in Bellingham, Washington, in 2015. The organization also works year round to provide film production, exhibition and distribution education. More information about Cascadia may be found on their website at

   – Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival