August News


It’s a challenging  time in the entertainment industry as SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) joined the WGA (Writers Guild of America)  in strikes against the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) on July 14. WIFSFBA stands in solidarity with the unions and their members as they seek equitable compensation and sustainable working conditions.

Meanwhile, Greta Gerwig broke records in the opening weekend for Barbie, in the biggest opening weekend for a female director ever (Hollywood Reporter)! I’m happy to report I laughed out loud more than I have  in a long time while watching this film and was also getting teary eyed  in a few parts. It takes quite a bit of talent to tackle such a high concept film with a main character who is a popular toy, fraught with many image issues for women, and create a story that doesn’t come off as a huge advertisement. It also manages to instill a feminist message & entertain at the same time! I give it a thumbs up. Check it out at the theater and get into the Barbie spirit!

- Nil Unerdem

WIFSFBA Secretary

Ps - Because I jumped on the Barbenheimer train, I also watched Oppenheimer this weekend. Amazing filmmaking. Go see that too!

Letter from President Julie Rubio

Dear WIFSFBA members, WGA writers, SAG-AFTRA members and supporters,

As Women in Film San Francisco Bay Area, we wholeheartedly support the ongoing strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, and we commend your unwavering dedication to achieving fair and equitable conditions in the entertainment industry.

In this era of concentrated technological power, it is crucial that we come together and advocate for the public interest. We understand the complexities you face and stand in solidarity with your pursuit of improved compensation, working conditions, and representation.

Our support extends beyond the picket lines. As women in the San Francisco Bay Area film community, we actively raise awareness, engage in discussions, and use our platforms to amplify your cause. We firmly believe that collective action holds the power to bring about significant change.

Moreover, we call upon the industry to address the emerging challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI). It is essential to include contractual clauses that safeguard the rights and interests of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA in relation to AI-generated content. These clauses should ensure fair compensation, proper attribution, and uphold the creative integrity of talent and human authors.

Your resilience and dedication inspire us, and we are proud to stand alongside you in the fight for a more inclusive and equitable future. Together, we can shape an industry that values and respects all its members.

In Solidarity,

Julie Rubio, WIFSFBA President

PS - Related article: The Strikes' Side Effect: A Cash Hoard for Studios

Important Women Who Helped Shape Film & Cinema History

Ongoing Newsletter Series - by Tasha Nesbitt

There have been many important women trailblazers in film and cinema history who have made significant contributions to the industry as directors, producers, screenwriters, actors and more. 

In each monthly newsletter, we will highlight a different one:


Lillian Gish was an American actress and filmmaker, known for her work in silent films and as a pioneer in the early years of Hollywood. She was born on October 14, 1893, in Springfield, Ohio, and passed away on February 27, 1993, in New York City.

Gish began her acting career on the stage, performing in various theatrical productions before transitioning to film in 1912. She quickly became one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood and starred in several iconic silent films, including The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Broken Blossoms (1919).

Throughout her career, Gish worked with some of the most influential filmmakers of the era, including D.W. Griffith, who directed many of her most famous films. She also worked with other notable directors, such as Victor Sjöström and King Vidor.

Gish was known for her natural acting style and her ability to convey emotion through subtle facial expressions and gestures. She was also known for her dedication to her craft, often performing her own stunts and enduring grueling filming conditions.

In addition to her work as an actress, Gish was also a filmmaker and producer. She co-founded the production company The Gish Sisters in the 1920s with her sister, Dorothy Gish, and produced several successful films, including The Scarlet Letter (1926).

Gish's contributions to the film industry were recognized with several awards and honors throughout her career, including an Honorary Academy Award in 1971. She continued to act well into her later years, appearing in films and television shows throughout the 20th century.

Lillian Gish's talent and dedication to her craft helped to shape the early years of Hollywood and establish the film industry as we know it today. She remains an icon of American cinema and a beloved figure in the history of film.

By Tasha Nesbitt

Board of Advisors, WIFSFBA 2023-Present

Former WIFSFBA President 2019-2022

*This article was researched and written with the help of ChatGPT &, artificial intelligence driven writing tools.

Stay tuned for this series and our next featured filmmaker in the next newsletter!


Thanks for coming out to Epicurious Garden for our WIFSFBA mixer!

We had a great event on 7/22 at Epicurious Garden in Berkeley. Thank you to all our members and non-members for stopping by! Congratulations and gratitude to board member Nichole Carlson for conceiving of and bringing to life this opportunity to be together!

It was exciting to spend time IN-PERSON and the turnout exceeded our expectations. As the air was buzzing with conversations about films people are working on at all stages of production, contact info was exchanged by many who are looking forward to new collaborations!  One of the questions everyone had was, “When and where is the next in person event?”  

We look forward to spending time with WIFSFBA members, friends, and newcomers at more in-person events, mixers, and meetups in the future (even as we continue virtual programs and events for increased accessibility) and hope to see you in person at Cinequest for the August 20th, 1:30pm screening of 7000 Miles directed by piloted by local director Amy Glazer!

Members in the News - Megan Rees

This month, we wanted to highlight WIFSFBA member Megan Rees who is very inspiring to our community and has taken part in our Script Incubator program. She was recently named a Semifinalist in the prestigious Writers’ Lab, supported by none other than Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman! Megan also runs a Discord community for women and non-binary writers over 40. Such a superstar!


Recently, Megan was interviewed on the WGA strike picket line in LA by the podcast below where she eloquently speaks up about why she’s there and what the strike is about:

Check it out! No Set Path Podcast with Megan

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Megan graduated from UCSC with a degree in theater and went on to get a Master’s degree in Drama Therapy at NYU. As a licensed therapist, Megan has helped hundreds if not thousands of people tell their stories, but had mostly stopped dramatic writing for about 20 years. After her transition to tech when a colleague commended her ability to write for a very specific brand, and she was quarantined during a global pandemic, she finally reunited with her love of writing. 

Her drama pilot “Hot Town,” inspired by her work as an activist, is a love letter to Oakland’s radical past and has earned three semifinalist placements. Megan hopes to leverage her skills in building psychologically safer teams in a writers' room someday.

Do you have news you’d like to share with fellow members? 

We’d love to hear from members on recent accomplishments, awards, or any news you’d like to share with the WIFSFBA community. 

Send your blurbs and any related images to with Members in the News in the subject line. Submit by June 21st to be included in the next newsletter.

Internship/Volunteer Opportunity with WIFSFBA 

Becoming a WIFSFBA intern or volunteer is a unique and exciting opportunity to be a part of a highly respected organization in the film industry. Come join our wonderfully diverse team!

Position Description:

We offer school credit for those attending a HigherEd institution, AND volunteer opportunities for non-students of all backgrounds and experience levels.  During their internship, applicants will have the opportunity to work and interact with experienced working producers, directors, writers, editors, etc. on projects that expand WIFSBA’s community outreach, and will be invited to attend all of our events.  In return, we ask interns to contribute 5-10 hours a week to WIFSFBA and attend mandatory monthly Zoom team meetings.

We are looking for interns to support our work in one or more of the following areas:


●Tech Support for Zoom Events

● Graphic design

● Work with Photoshop

● Marketing

● Canva -- assist in photo editing and marketing materials

● Updating website

● Manage social media, including: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and WIFChat

If you are experienced or trained in one or more of the areas listed above, and are interested in expanding your skills professionally, please APPLY by sending the following materials addressed to Julie Rubio, WIFSFBA President, at

● Resume

● Cover letter -- please include:

-which area(s) above interest you

-your experience/training in that area(s)

-reason(s) for wanting to work with WIFSFBA

-if you are a student OR non-student

-If student: which semester/quarter/summer you are available

-If non-student: when you could begin a 6-month time commitment

We strongly encourage applicants from all backgrounds, including but not limited to BIPOC, gender diverse individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, bilingual individuals.  Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified applicants with disabilities may participate in the application process.

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis.

Questions? Please contact and put INTERNSHIP in the subject line. 


Cinequest Film Festival with WIFSFBA

When: Aug 20, 2013 @1:30PM

Where: California Theatre, San Jose, CA

We’ll be  partnering with the Cinequest film festival again this year and will be getting together for a movie + member event! WIFSFBA will be co-presenting the film 7000 Miles

7000 Miles follows the story of a passionate pilot (Jo), who must return home to Hawaii to care for her ailing grandmother (Meli). Although feisty and spry, Meli continues to get lost in her visions, struggling to put the pieces of her life’s puzzle together. As her Gran’s fragmented memories blur the lines of past & present, real & wondrous, Jo begins to suspect that Meli might actually be history’s most celebrated aviatrix.

Stay tuned for more info!

MORE INFO: 7000 Miles Info and Tickets

Under the Influencer at Cinequest

Under the Influencer explores a modern woman's journey to catharsis, and would never have been possible without the immense contribution of women producers and the women on its creative team (production design, music, wardrobe, hair/makeup, VFX, etc.). Lead actress (Taylor Joree Scorse) taps into the deep vulnerability of her character and delivers a devastating knockout performance.

The film has screened at several festivals around the country to this point, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive -- especially amongst the women in the crowd. It definitely shares some of the potent Barbie-energy in the air! 

Under the Influencer explores the inner and outer life of a successful Youtuber who is aging out of the platform in her mid-20s, and struggling to redefine herself in the world outside her social media bubble, initiating a mid-life crisis in her mid-20s. Under the Influencer will have its CA premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival on Monday Aug 21, 9:30pm, and Thursday August 24, 11am. Alex Haughey and producer Anna Grigorian are hoping WIFSFBA members will be able to attend and share their reactions with the cast and crew! 

Under the Influencer Trailer  

Cinequest Tickets for Under the Influencer


Cinequest Film Festival

When:  August 15-30, 2023

Where:  San Jose, CA

“Cinequest fuses innovation with the arts to empower great creations and to engage audiences, youth, artists, and innovators with these creations and with each other forging community, joy, and our future. Set in Silicon Valley, Cinequest's uniqueness, impact, and legacy result from applying this powerful integration of creativity, technology, and community to inspire and transform lives. 

Voted Best Film Festival by USA Today Readers, the Cinequest in-person festival occurs in Silicon Valley while the virtual festival occurs via the Cinejoy online platform.

Set in the home of the world's most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Instagram, LinkedIn, Netflix, Twitter, Zoom) Cinequest empowers global connectivity between creators, innovators, youth, and audiences. Cinequest has led the world in its showcase and implementation of the innovations that have revolutionized creativity and filmed media.”

MORE INFO: Cinequest Film Festival

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

When:  July 20 - August 6

Where:  Castro Theatre - 429 Castro Street, San Francisco (July 20-30)

                    Landmark’s Piedmont Theatre - 4186 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland (August 1-6)

Presented by the Jewish Film Institute, this year’s Festival showcases films from American and international filmmakers that explore the complexity, diversity and vitality of Jewish life around the world.

WIFSFBA is a community partner with the JFI and will be co-sponsoring two films at the festival. We're proud to co-present Queen of the Deuce. An offbeat and extraordinary portrait of Chelly Wilson, the undisputed skin flick matriarch of the “Deuce,” the seedy underbelly of Manhattan that operated on 42nd Street in the 1970s and 80s. 

And we’re also proud to co-present The Artist's Daughter at the festival. Filmmaker Margarita Linton hopes that her estranged father’s newest exhibition of paintings will serve as the catalyst for their reconnection, but as his excuses mount, she resolves to tell her story regardless, resulting in an inspired turn of events. 

Both films have already been shown but there's plenty more this weekend at the festival!

MORE INFO:  Jewish Film Festival

Black Film Space presents: 

6th Annual NYC Summer Mixer

When:  Sunday, August 6, 3-7pm

Where:  The Delancey, 168 Delancey St, NYC in case anyone from the Bay Area is visiting out there!

Tickets: $18 Regular Admission (ends 8/4), $25 Event Weekend (8/5 & 8/6), 25% off for BFS Members

"Join Black Film Space for our 6th Annual Summer Mixer! Come eat, drink, and celebrate summer with the Black Film Space community. This rooftop day party is for all creatives!

Come ready to mix, mingle, and enjoy the vibes! We'll have a DJ, Film & TV trivia, and prizes. No matter if you're a writer, filmmaker, performer, or artist - all are welcome!

Save the date and get your tickets today!"


WIFT-US Networking Night

When: every second Thursday of the month, free for members of WIFSFBA

Where: Zoom online, link found in WIFT-US mailing list newsletter

MEETUP: Charade (1963): 

Un-Hitchcock Hitchcock

Sponsored by Facebook Public Group:  Discovering Classic Movies

When: Saturday, August 19th  --  5:25pm PDT --  Meet in the balcony around 5:15pm 

Where: Stanford Theater - 221 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA                                                        

Plot: After her husband is murdered, a young widow becomes the target of four men who claim her husband died in possession of a fortune that they believe now belongs to them. A suave, older man saves her, but is he really on her side? /// Director: Stanley Donen -- Starring: Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant  

MORE INFO:  Meetup Info

Note: For a fun, deeper dive, join us on Sunday, August 20, at 4pm, for the last in our series: Hitchcock and his: Contemporaries, Imitators, and Parodists. We'll explore Charade (1963) and Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) -- a pair of parodies, with the latter by the master himself! RSVP now!


American Zoetrope Screenplay Competition

Early-bird Submission deadline: July 17, 2023 -- Final Deadline: September 5, 2023

Submission Fee: Early-bird ($40) - General ($50)

"The mission of the American Zoetrope Screenplay Competition is to find and promote new and innovative voices in cinema. The competition considers feature-length film scripts, as well as pilot scripts for television/streaming services. Every script is read closely by a select handful of professional readers, and the American Zoetrope staff and Francis Ford Coppola choose a winner from among ten finalists."

MORE INFO:  American Zoetrope Screenplay Competition | Submit

Mom Film Fest

Festival Dates: Aug 24-27th, 2023 

Online Submissions are Open!

“As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, our mission at MOM Film Fest is to serve as a career development and advocacy resource for moms working in film and television. With initiatives that create returnships for moms re-entering the workforce and supportive childcare solutions, we work to amplify the visibility of content made by moms in order to create job opportunities that will get #momsbackonset. As a team of diverse filmmaker moms, we’ve experienced racism and gender bias. We’re fighting for diversity, equity, and inclusion for all moms, and also to empower the women who are still mothering in the shadows.”

MORE INFO: Mom Film Fest

Script Pipeline 2023 TV Writing Contest

Finalists Announced August 1, 2023

Next Season Opens August 15, 2023

"The 16th Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition is searching for extraordinary television writers and original pilots for exposure to production companies, managers, and agencies. The company’s unique process—consisting of long-term writer development, promotion, and circulation of material—gives finalists proper one-on-one guidance to advance their careers."

MORE INFO:  Script Pipeline TV Writing Contest

LA Film Festivals:

LA Women in Film Festival

Festival Dates: November 29-December 3rd

Submission Final Deadline: August 18, 2023

Submission Fee:  $45 and up

“Accepting submissions from Female identifying directors, writers, majority female crew, and/or female driven stories of any genre in the following formats:  feature, short, animated short, TV pilot and web series.” 

MORE INFO: LA Women in Film Festival | Submit

LA Asian Film Festival

Festival Dates: January 25-28, 2024

Submission Final Deadline:  October 6th

Submission Fee: $45 and up

“Accepting submissions from Asian directors, writers, majority asian crew, and/or Asian stories of any genre in the following categories: feature, short, short short, animated short, TV pilot, and web series.”

MORE INFO: LA Asian FF | Submit

Makazan Films Directing Program - 

Giving underrepresented filmmakers an opportunity to direct a short film for Sesame Street

“Everyone is welcome to apply. We especially encourage directors from traditionally excluded backgrounds to apply (women, people with disabilities, parents returning to work, people over 45, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, etc.).

Applicants must have five years minimum directing/production/post experience and have a strong interest in family programming. This is a paid opportunity.

To apply, send a letter of interest to

What to include:

A selection committee will review all applications. Advancing applicants will be interviewed."

The Athena List

Submissions: Open from June 1 - September 15, 2023. There is NO SUBMISSION FEE for The Athena List.

When:  The 14th Annual Festival will take place February 29 – March 3, 2024.

“The Athena List is an annual feature-length script competition that selects exceptional scripts featuring women leaders at the heart of the story. As the signature program of the Athena Film Festival’s Creative Development program, The Athena List’s goal is to raise the profile of the winning scripts and writers within the industry, with the purpose of getting these movies made and elevating the writers’ careers to the next level.

The Athena List is a part of The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. The Athena Film Festival has established itself as the premier festival dedicated to celebrating and elevating women’s leadership. Our festival highlights films showcasing women’s leadership from underexplored perspectives; women leading in all places and spaces who are resisting and refuting preconceived notions of all they can be and do. Through our Creative Development Program, we are bolstering the pipeline of creatives who are telling these stories and fostering a network of in film.

FYI - We have been in contact with the legal department at the WGA and have been assured that submitting your materials would not put you in breach of strike protocols." 

MORE INFO: Athena List 

Film Independent Screenwriting Lab

Applications open: July 3, 2023

Non-Member Deadline: August 28, 2023

Film Independent Member Extended Deadline: September 11, 2023

“The Screenwriting Lab is a two-week workshop held in the first quarter of the year, designed to provide individualized story and career development for emerging screenwriters with a fiction feature screenplay.

Each Screenwriting Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor, with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in group sessions to further develop their project over the course of the program. The Screenwriting Lab also helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to film industry veterans who can offer guidance on both the craft and business of screenwriting. A variety of guest speakers may screen and discuss their own films and offer career insights, and a final pitch event offers further opportunity for individualized feedback and discussion with industry executives.”

MORE INFO: FI Screenwriting Lab 2024

Berlinale Talents Program

Application Deadline: September 4, 2023 at 12:00 noon CEST. Apply here.

“Berlinale Talents is the talent development programme of the Berlin International Film Festival, with project development labs taking place digitally in late January and an onsite summit with panels, discussions and networking opportunities during the Berlinale each February.

Berlinale Talents is aimed at film and television professionals with an existing track record of work. We are currently open to film actors, audience designers (i.e. curators, cinema or festival makers), composers, cinematographers, directors, distributors, editors, film critics, producers, production designers, sales agents, screenwriters, sound designers and, digital set designers.

Talent comes with the responsibility to share, and our entire programme, from the Summit events to the Studios and project development labs, is focused not just on what the experts have to offer, but what our Talents can bring to the group too. Each and everyone’s input and the interaction among the participants drive the sessions forward and are a valuable addition to the tapestry of the six days.

Please find out if you are eligible and get a quick overview of the application process for the summit and our project development labs below. For questions related to eligibility, tips for completing the application and much more, check out our FAQs.”

MORE INFO: Berlinale Talents

DOC NYC 40 Under 40

Submission deadline: August 15, 2023

“40 Under 40 celebrates emerging talent in the documentary world, including directors, producers, cinematographers, and editors. Honorees will be celebrated at the 2023 DOC NYC festival on the festival’s website and social media channels, and feted in an exclusive cocktail reception.

The 2023 edition of 40 Under 40 will be selected from an open applications process, in which documentary creatives from across the field are invited to apply for the honor directly. Two letters of recommendation and a comprehensive biography are required as part of this application process. In addition, to qualify for consideration, applicants must have been born on or after November 26, 1983 and be based in the U.S.,Canada and/or Mexico, regardless of their U.S. citizenship or immigration status. Applicants must also have at least one credit in the position of director, producer, cinematographer or editor on a feature-length documentary with national distribution via theaters, television or a digital platform.” 

MORE INFO: DOC NYC 40 under 40


National Association of Black Storytellers - Appalachian Storytellers Fellowship

Submission deadline: August 23, 2023

“The National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS) is proud to announce the Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellowship to honor, celebrate, and support Black storytellers representing in the Appalachian counties (as designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission) of Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina. This is a partnership between the National Association of Black Storytellers and Mid Atlantic Arts and South Arts. The Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellowship will be administered by the National Association of Black Storytellers.

The NABS Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellowship is funded in part by Mid Atlantic Arts’ Central Appalachia Living Traditions Program and South Arts as part of the In These Mountains, Central Appalachian Folk Arts and Culture initiative.

NABS 2023 Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellowships will provide six (6) $5,000 awards (with limited restrictions) to support experienced practitioners and culture bearers with opportunities to examine, research, develop, perform, and/or document the Black Appalachian storytelling tradition. One fellowship will be awarded to represent each of the six eligible states. 

Fellows will receive funds for travel to the “In the Tradition…” 41st Annual National Black Storytelling Festival and Conference, November 7-13, 2023 at the Sheraton Salt Lake City, 150 West 500 South Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.

Fellows will also receive membership to the National Association of Black Storytellers from September, 2023 - December, 2024. 

We are extremely excited about this opportunity and look forward to your applications!!"

For questions contact: or call 410-947-1117.


MORE INFO: Black Appalachian Storytellers

South Arts Grants and Fellowships

“Our mission: Advancing Southern vitality through the arts. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, South Arts is a nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists, organizations, and communities, and increasing access to arts and culture. In partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the State Arts Agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee — with additional funding from other public and private donors such as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — South Arts supports artists and organizations through a rich and responsive portfolio of grants, fellowships, and programs.”

MORE INFO: South Arts Grants

Frameline LGBTQ+ Film Grant completion Fund

Submission Deadline:  October

“The Frameline LGBTQ+ Film Grant Completion Fund provides grants up to $5,000 to emerging and established filmmakers. They especially encourage applications by women, people of color, transgender people, intersex people, asexual people, non-binary people, disabled people, and other underrepresented people and communities. Films submitted should represent and reflect LGBTQ+ life in all its complexity and richness.  The fund supports documentary, narrative, experimental, animated, and episodic projects about LGBTQ+ people and their communities.” 

MORE INFO:  Frameline Completion Fund

The Future of Film is Female Film Fund

Applications:   Open the end of August 2023 

The Future of Film is Female “advances gender parity in the film industry by amplifying all women and non-binary filmmakers through our short film fund, commitment to exhibition, and community building programs. We look at short films directed by women or non-binary filmmakers for two funding cycles a year. The preferred length is no more than 20 minutes -- all genres accepted.”

MORE INFO: Future of Film is Female Fund

iTVS Open Call

Submission Deadline: August 11, 2023

"Get funding and support to complete your single nonfiction program for broadcast on public television -- whether you’re an emerging filmmaker or a veteran producer."


Women Make Movies - Production Grant

Submissions are taken on a rolling basis

“WMM offers a production assistance program for female filmmakers actively fundraising or about to begin fundraising.  Filmmakers can only apply if they are not currently fiscally sponsored by another organization.  One of the most important criteria for the Women Make Movies Production Grant is that you must be able to clearly communicate your fundraising or distribution strategies for the film.”

MORE INFO:  WMM | Production Grant

ScreeningRoom/Jigsaw Productions Follow Focus Grant  Submission Period: July 7 - August 31, 2023                                        

"Offering  a $10,000 finishing fund grant for a cinematic documentary short in post-production, ScreeningRoom is committed to supporting sustainability, inclusion, and storytelling for short form documentary filmmakers."   

MORE INFO:  Follow Focus Grant | Submit

Thanks to Newsletter Contributors:  Diane Walsh, Tasha Nesbitt, Nil Unerdem, Julie Rubio

Newsletter designed by Lina Indeeva and edited by Nil Unerdem  

We're looking for guest editors. Join the newsletter team!