February News

WIFSFBA Celebrates Black History Month!

Welcome to February members! February is Black History Month! Please join us in celebrating and supporting the creative works and contributions of Black storytellers. This year's theme for Black History Month – set by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) – is "African Americans and the Arts.”

“African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount. African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment. Artistic and cultural movements such as the New Negro, Black Arts, Black Renaissance, hip-hop, and Afrofuturism, have been led by people of African descent and set the standard for popular trends around the world. In 2024, we examine the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans.”

Please read more here: Black History Month theme

AND sign up to get 28 days of Black History Month via a daily newsletter here: 

28 Days of Black History

Black History Month Film Events in the Bay Area

Black History Month at MoAD 

When: Throughout February 

Where: Museum of the African Disapora, 685 Mission St., San Francisco. 

MoAD will honor Black History Month with a full month of programs and events celebrating Black history, voices, art, film, literature, fashion, food and comedy. Prices vary. 

MORE INFO: moadsf.org/events

Black History Month Film Festival 

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays in February 

Where: McCone Irvine Auditorium, 499 Pierce Street, Monterey, CA 93940 

This festival will showcase films highlighting the rich tapestry of the Black experience in the United States, followed by interactive Q&A sessions to foster community dialogue. Free. 

MORE INFO: Black History Month Film Festival

BAMPFA - Skip Norman Here and There

When: January 25–February 29, 2024

Where: BAMPFA, 2155 Center Street Berkeley, CA

“Bringing together Skip Norman’s work as a cinematographer and a filmmaker, Skip Norman Here and There is a rare opportunity to reconsider the work of a groundbreaking Black filmmaker. Read more about the series in Screen Slate and in 48 Hills.”

MORE INFO: Skip Norman Here and There 

A Thousand and One - Film Review 

(reprint from last year)

By Nil Unerdem

I thought to share this review again from last year since I wasn’t able to attend Sundance this year or watch any films! A Thousand and One is now available on demand and on Amazon online so check it out!

I got the chance to catch A.V. Rockwell’s poignant film A Thousand and One through Sundance online after it won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. The film stars Teyana Taylor as a struggling Harlem mother in the 90s who kidnaps her son from foster care and chronicles their life over the course of his childhood.

It was a very moving portrait of a mother-son relationship with heartfelt, authentic performances. The city of New York was its own character as it both felt like home but also biting as it turned its back on the family that Inez (Taylor) was desperately trying to create and maintain. The harsh realities of trying to survive as gentrification takes hold in NYC, and keeping a secret from everyone including her son, creates a sense of impending doom as Inez makes her way through life…yet she is always striving, fighting, and confident, trying to do what’s best for herself and her son. The father-son dynamic between Lucky, Inez’ boyfriend (William Catlett) and Terry, Inez’ son (played by three actors Aaron Adetola, Aven Courtney, Josiah Cross over time) also starts rough around the edges but develops into unexpectedly touching. 

With a final unexpected twist at the end, the film elevates itself, enabling the audience to understand an even deeper level of reality and empathy emanating from its heroine.

A Thousand and One Official Site

News from Sundance

Check out some inspiring news from Sundance! 

With Sundance Boost, Even Original Documentaries Could Make a Comeback in 2024 

by Andy Kaufman, from Documentary Magazine

Letter from the President

Dear Members,

During Black History Month, we at Women in Film San Francisco Bay Area come together to acknowledge and celebrate the profound impact of African American women in cinema. Their narratives not only enrich our cultural fabric but also serve as essential threads in our industry's evolution, challenging us to envision a more inclusive future.

I am proud to celebrate the remarkable achievements of trailblazers such as Madeline Anderson, and influential figures like Ava DuVernay and Issa Rae, who have not only captivated audiences but have also bravely confronted and raised awareness about systemic inequities. Issa Rae's poignant observation: "You're seeing so many Black shows get canceled...You're seeing very clearly now that our stories are less of a priority, I recognize that I have to do well economically to be able to make change.” (Issa Rae - Time Magazine) Statements like this underscore the urgency of our mission to support and preserve diverse narratives.

Additionally, addressing the critical issue of financial equity is paramount. The glaring disparities in funding obstruct the path to equality. Without fair access to funding and resources, the vision of true parity is unattainable.

We must stay committed to the pursuit of financial inclusion. Ensuring equitable investment in women in media is essential to fostering meaningful change that serves not only to celebrate artistic talent but also to inspire a collective movement towards financial justice. It is imperative that we support not only the creative endeavors but also the economic fortitude of women in our industry.

We challenge industry leaders and decision-makers to dismantle the status quo and create an equitable environment where women's stories can be told with the same frequency and fervor and financial funding as those of their male counterparts. True change will come when our screens reflect the reality of our world's vibrant diversity, and when women's perspectives are no longer sidelined but are integral to the storytelling fabric of our time.

I am honored to acknowledge the resilience and artistry of pioneering women who have carved paths in an industry that still, too often, resembles an old boys' club. Despite the rhetoric of progress, the reality is that the film industry remains steeply uneven, with only a fraction of stories reflecting the true diversity of our experiences.

It is a critical time for companies and powerful institutions to step up and actively support the work of women in film, particularly minorities who have been historically undervalued. We must move beyond mere acknowledgment and take decisive action to empower these essential voices. The persistent gender imbalances and the scarcity of narratives that step outside the confining stereotypes demand our collective attention and action.

I believe that in the world of film, as in life, if we fail to hear 50% of the voices in the room, we're missing out on 50% of the answers. And by doing so, we overlook 50% of the potential solutions, particularly those offered by women. It's essential to embrace all perspectives to cultivate an inclusive environment that not only supports women but empowers them financially, thereby breaking the cycle of inequality.

Your unwavering commitment to these principles is both appreciated and crucial. Together, we pledge to create an industry that upholds the artistic and financial empowerment of all women, affirming our shared vision of an equitable and diverse cinematic landscape.

In this month's newsletter, I have shared a recently published article in which the esteemed female scholar, historian, and curator of the Fine Arts Museums—the curator of the first retrospective of the remarkable artist Tamara de Lempicka in America, Gioia Mori—credits my film and me as the director for providing her with groundbreaking documents. These documents, first revealed in my film The True Story of Tamara de Lempicka and the Art of Survival, exemplify the concept of women supporting women. Such support is incredibly empowering and is the cornerstone of achieving real change. As we continue to fight for equal representation, financial equity, and narrative diversity, I invite you to join us in forging a future where the power of cinema is represented by all voices equally. The stories we champion today will define the world we live in tomorrow.

In appreciation and unity,

Julie Rubio

President, Women in Film San Francisco Bay Area



Tamara de Lempicka Documentary by Julie Rubio

Our president Julie Rubio’s documentary The True Story of Tamara de Lempicka and the Art of Survival was mentioned in two magazine articles recently!

Metropolitan Magazine: Tamara de Lempicka had falsified her date of birth, the mystery of her age was revealed thanks to an archival document

Ansa Magazine: Gioia Mori, the last mystery of Tamara de Lempicka falls

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

We’d really like to hear about any recent career accomplishments, awards, new ventures, or a positive experience having to do with our industry.  This is one of the advantages to being part of an organization like WIFSFBA -- by letting others know what you’re doing, you can expand your creative family and even  find new collaborators for future projects.   

So…take a moment to sit down and write something you’d like to share with your WIFSFBA sisters.  Then email that blurb and any related images to bod-admin@wifsfba.org with ‘Members in the News’ in the subject line.  Do it now rather than next week -- you deserve to shine!  Submit by the end of the month to be included in the next newsletter.

Community Partners - Event Invitations

Women in Film and Video - New England (WIFVNE)

Check them out here:  Women in Film and Video - New England

WIFVNE event: 

Payroll 101 For Film, TV and Commercial Producers

When: Feb 15th, 10-11am PT

Where: Zoom

Free to attend! Advance registration required.

“What a Producer needs to know about payroll during their Production. Presented by Media Services.

Media Services is an entertainment payroll, production accounting and software enterprise with over 45 years’ experience in the United States and abroad. With a dedicated focus on providing resources and information for clients and future clients alike, Media Services was the first entertainment payroll firm to establish its own line of proprietary software, which includes Showbiz Budgeting, Showbiz Timecards and the digital Showbiz Labor Guide, among others. The company offers frequent webinars on production payroll, film tax incentives and film budgeting, in addition to providing a wealth of free information about entertainment payroll online.”

RSVP here:  Payroll Event through WIFVNE

New York Women In Film & Television (NYWIFT) - Science in Motion

When: Tuesdays at 7pm | February 6 - March 12, 2024

“NYWIFT and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) are thrilled to present a collection of ground-breaking contemporary films that delve into science and technology in the modern world. These urgent documentaries and empowering fictions take us from the depths of outer space to the on-the-ground action of a Hasidic women-run ambulance corps and beyond.

Films include To the End (Rachel Leas), Space: The Longest Goodbye (Ido Mizrahy), My Love Affair with Marriage (Signe Baumane), Every Body (Julie Cohen), 93Queen (Paula Eiselt), Chilly & Milly (William D. Caballero), and Over-Flow (Elizabeth Ramjit).

Join us for six weeks of free STEM-focused screenings, followed by Q&A’s with the filmmakers.”

Reserve tickets at https://www.nywift.org/science-in-motion/

To find out what they’re up to, click  Here

BlackStar - William & Louise Greaves Filmmaker Seminar

When: March 8-10, 2024

Where: Stanford University

Registration: sign up by Feb 9th

“The Seminar is a gathering for Black, Brown, and Indigenous artists working in cinematic realms. It will take place in-person only at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.

Registration and pass purchase is required. We have three levels of passes available, depending on your preference and financial ability, but all provide the same access to programming.

Participants can expect to explore the technical and creative aspects of media-making, while having honest conversations about the successes and pitfalls of their work.  Our environment considers the intersection of cinema and visual arts, and is exclusively designed for people of color to focus and not manage the added burden of representation.”

MORE INFO: BlackStar - Filmmaker Seminar

For more info on BlackStar’s activities click Here

Jewish Film Institute - WinterFest 2024

When: February 24-25, 2024

Where: Vogue Theater, San Francisco

TICKET INFO:   WinterFest 2024

The eleventh annual WinterFest, presented by the Jewish Film Institute, is an electrifying showcase of bold, independent films that expand and evolve the Jewish story across two-action-packed days at the Vogue Theater in San Francisco.  From innovative dramatic features to illuminating documentaries, WinterFest 2024 invites communities in the Bay Area and beyond to dive deep into tales that entertain, challenge, educate, and delight us.

Catch up with what they’re doing: Here


NYWIFT and WIFSFBA Virtual Hangout

DATE: Wednesday, February 7, 2024

TIME:  3:30 - 5 PM PT / 6:30 – 8 PM ET 



We’ve been invited to ‘hangout’ online with our East Coast friends and colleagues from New York Women In Film and Television at a speed networking mixer!         

Come ready to share creative ideas, suggestions, and contact info for further engagement. 

The evening will begin with a ten-minute salon conversation to discuss WIFSFBA’s latest opportunities and initiatives, followed by about 90 minutes of speed networking, during which you will be randomly paired off with other attendees to network one-on-one.

NYWIFT hangouts are a safe space to ask entertainment related questions, seek advice, employment and other industry opportunities. Prep your elevator pitch and get ready to make connections, mix and mingle!

Please RSVP no later than Wednesday, February 7th at 3 PM ET in order to attend. All registrants will receive a link from NYWIFT to attend the webinar the day of the event.


RSVP:  Here

Script Incubator News

Our first table read of the year was a smashing success! Three screenwriters got their scripts read by nine wonderful actors. One script had a character that spoke Old English and another had characters that spoke French and Spanish. There were over 35 actors that responded to the call for actors.

For February, we will read aloud up to 3 script portions of 1-10 pages each. No homework! All participants will be encouraged to give feedback.

Since the third Monday of February falls on Presidents’ Day, we are moving our February meeting to the fourth Monday, February 26th, from 7-9 pm. If you have any questions about the table-read, please don't hesitate to contact me. And if you'd like to reserve a spot for February's meeting, please let me know. My contact information is below.

In other news, several industry pros have signed on to our Pitch-A-Pro session on April 23! We hope to add more agents, managers and streaming service reps to our list for this year. Stay tuned for more news as the event draws nearer.

Best wishes on all  your film and media projects!

Warm regards,

Carol Hall

WIFSFBA Script Incubator Coordinator 

MORE INFO: Email bod-admin@wifsfba.org with “Script Incubator” in the subject line.

PBS Independent Lens with Lois Vossen

When: Friday, March 15, 2024, at 11:00 AM PT

Where: Zoom 

Price: Members $5 and Non-members $20

Join us for an exclusive event with Lois Vossen, the esteemed founding executive producer of Independent Lens on PBS. This is a rare opportunity to meet a true industry leader and gain insight into the world of documentary filmmaking. With an impressive track record that includes numerous Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, and Academy Award nominations, Vossen has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of non-fiction storytelling. Don't miss the chance to engage with a pioneer in the field and learn from her wealth of experience. This event is a must-attend for anyone passionate about the art of documentary filmmaking and the power of storytelling. 

WIFT-US National Networking Night

When: Every second Thursday of the Month

Virtual Event - FREE for WIFSFBA members

Join us to network and meet other crew across the US!

Register:  Here


SF Indie Fest

When: February 8-18, 2024

Where: Roxie Theater - 3117 16th St. San Francisco

It is arguable that there are more indie filmmakers per square inch in San Francisco than anywhere else in the world, even Hollywood.  The San Francisco Independent Film Festival is dedicated to them all, the talented filmmakers with limited budgets but big dreams.  There are films from other cities, too, but it is the San Francisco attitude that prevails with films that push envelopes some people did not even know existed. 

Schedule and Ticket Info: SF Indie Fest

Black & Queer: An Evening of Queer Short Films

When:  February 23rd -- 7-9 PM

Where: 465 South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

General Admission: $10

Filmmaker and Guest Curator, Tajianna Okechukwu, presents a series of queer short films from radical Queer Black Bay Area filmmakers that you don’t want to miss.  Join us at Alchemy Film Foundation for an evening of innovative short films followed by a post screening talk with the filmmakers.

Buy Tickets here:  Black & Queer: An Evening of Queer Short Films

The Mostly British Film Festival

When:  February 15 - 22, 2024

Where: Vogue Theater - 3290 Sacramento Street, San Francisco

Series PASS / Individual Film Tickets

Held at the historic Vogue Theater, The Mostly British Film Festival is presenting the best in contemporary and classic independent film, originating from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and South Africa.

MORE INFO: Mostly British FF


Black Women Film Network Short Film Competition

Festival Dates:  March 23-24,2024

Submission Deadline: February 24, 2024

The Black Women Film Network was founded to prepare black women to enter the film and television industries.  Submitted shorts must be produced, directed by or featuring a Black woman in a leading role. Films cannot exceed 20 minutes running time.

MORE INFO: Black Women Film Network Short Film Competition

Dreamscape International Film Festival (Houston)

Festival Dates: Sept 23 - Oct 1, 2024 in Houston, Texas

Submission Deadline: March 31, 2024

"The Dreamscape International Film Festival will host its inaugural event at the Star Cinema Grill in Houston from September 23rd to October 1 st 2024. The new festival will feature the largest monetary awards ever at a film festival or screenplay competition by awarding over $500,000 worth of cash prizes to both filmmakers and screenwriters. Celebrity guests at the festival will

include Brian Austin Green, Fivel Stewart and Sharna Burgess with additional guests to be announced.

The monetary awards will be divided into categories of Screenplays and Films. In the Screenplay section, the winner of the Grand Prize will receive monetary compensation of $125,000 as well as a budget breakdown and consultation on your film for pre-production, during filming and post-production. The runner up in this category will receive $25,000 with three 1-hour consultations.

Other awards include the Micro Budget Feature Film, which would require under a $200K budget. All of the Young Talent categories would focus on the filmmaker, director or writer to be 17-22 years old at the time of submission. Flash from the Past True Indie Award will be presented to full length and short films that were made between 2010 and 2021. with a budget of $200K or less as a feature and $100K or less as a short. The feature and short films that can submit will not have received prior distribution."

Submit via Film Freeway: - Dreamscape Intl Film Festival  

Proof of Concept

Submission Deadline: February 16th, 2024

“Introducing the premiere program for the next generation of talented filmmakers whose stories promote the perspectives of women, trans, and non-binary people. PROOF OF CONCEPT is a home for audaciously authored work that brings untold stories to life.

The brainchild of the team behind Dirty Films and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, PROOF OF CONCEPT is designed to accelerate the path to large-scale filmmaking for directors who give voice to the perspectives of women, trans and non-binary people. The program will provide support for up to 8 filmmakers to make a short film that that is “proof of concept” for a feature film or television project. Short films will be funded at $50,000 and directors will participate in a mentorship and exposure program which connects them with industry leaders.”

MORE INFO: Proof of Concept

Sony Future Filmmaker Awards

Submission Deadline: Feb 15th, 7am.
Free to Enter

“Free to enter, the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards elevates the original voices that bring a fresh perspective to storytelling. The shortlisted filmmakers are flown to Los Angeles for an exclusive four-day event to gain unparalleled insight into all aspects of the filmmaking process to advance their careers. After a black-tie awards ceremony at the Cary Grant Theatre, the 30 successful filmmakers benefit from a four-day workshop program. Aimed at breakthrough artists and independent filmmakers worldwide, there are six categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Environment, Animation, Student and Future Format. 

Each category awards a winner and a shortlist of up to five. The deadline for entries is 07:00 AM (CT) February 15, 2024.”

MORE INFO: Sony Future Filmmakers

Film Independent Episodic Lab

FREE for Filmmaker Pro Members (limited to one waived fee per Membership year)

$45 for Film Independent Members

$65 for non-Members

Non-Member Deadline: February 26, 2024

Film Independent Member Extended Deadline: March 11, 2024

“Designed to support writers with original long-form episodic projects, Film Independent’s Episodic Lab will accept a diverse group of 6–8 writers or writing teams and provide them with critical support and mentorship. Through personalized feedback from experienced showrunners, creative producers and executives, Fellows will gain the tools to revise and refine their pilots and navigate a changing industry landscape.

The Episodic Lab helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to industry veterans who can offer guidance on both the craft and business of writing episodic content. Each Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in group sessions to develop their project during the month of September. Additionally, guest speakers will screen and discuss their own work to offer insights into the creative process and industry best practices. A final networking and pitch event will offer Fellows the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to studio and network executives.”

Submission Info: Film Independent Episodic Lab


New Voices Filmmaker Grant

Submission Deadline: February 22, 2024

Award: $25,00 unrestricted grant to 4 emerging directors

NewFest’s New Voices Filmmaker Grant, in partnership with Netflix, supports emerging LGBTQ+ directors by providing funding to make new work, assisting in getting their work more widely shared, and propelling their careers forward through mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities. In addition, fellows will also participate in events and have their work showcased at NewFest’s New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival, one of the largest queer film festivals in the world. 

Submissions are accepted from emerging LGBTQ+ directors who make documentary/nonfiction, narrative, and/or animated film/episodic projects for and about the LGBTQ+ community.

Apply here:   New Voices Filmmaker Grant 

Points North Fellowship

A launching pad for the next generation of nonfiction storytellers

Deadline:  Earlybird Jan 8th, Regular Feb 12, Extended Mar 25, 2024

“The Points North Fellowship invites up to six teams of early- and mid-career filmmakers to Maine to accelerate the development of their feature documentary, culminating in the public presentation of works-in-progress at the Points North Pitch. The Points North Fellowship aims to strengthen filmmakers’ artistic voices and propel their careers forward by facilitating new relationships with mentors, collaborators and funders. We believe that a strong community of support is vital for independent filmmakers who are taking bold creative risks and expanding the possibilities of documentary cinema. The Points North Fellowship is presented by the deNovo Initiative. 

The Fellowship begins during the week leading up to the annual Camden International Film Festival. In private workshops, Fellows receive rigorous feedback from mentors and peers as they practice their pitches, hone their vision for their film, and develop their funding and distribution strategies. These workshops culminate at the Points North Pitch, where each team pitches their project to leading funders, broadcasters, producers and distributors before a live audience – both in-person and streaming online. 

Since 2010, the program has championed 74 creative documentary features and has become recognized industry-wide as one of the most vital platforms for new artistic voices in the documentary field. Many alumni have gone on to receive support from major funders like the Ford Foundation, Macarthur Foundation and ITVS, premiered at festivals like Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca, and secured distribution from major platforms like Netflix, CNN Films, Magnolia Films and POV.

The Points North Fellowship will take place in person in Maine in conjunction with the Camden International Film Festival, September 12-15, 2024. The exact dates of the Fellowship will be announced soon.”

Submission Info: Points North Fellowship

Julia S. Gouw - Short Film Challenge

This film challenge is for Asian-American and  Pacific Islander Women and non-binary filmmakers. Submissions Open: February 2024

Emmy Award- and Golden Globe-winning Hollywood producer Janet Yang (Janet Yang Productions)  and the CAPE Network have joined forces to provide short film production grants of $25,000 each to four API women or non-binary filmmakers. The four awardees will be offered unparalleled networking opportunities that will give them a chance to submit films to potential buyers and platforms with access to industry professionals including agents, manager, producers and studio executives. 

To Apply: Julia S. Gouw - Short Film Challenge

ITVS Open Call Fund

Deadline: February 9, 2024

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. We’re looking for exceptional storytelling that’s in line with our mission: stories that take risks, tackle important issues, address the needs of underserved audiences, and are seldom seen in public media. We know how hard you’ve worked on your project, and we’ll partner with you to help you finish it, then distribute it on public television. 

Open Call gives independent producers up to $350,000 to complete production for a standalone broadcast length documentary to air on public television. The documentary can be on any subject, viewpoint or style as long as it is in active production already, as evidenced via a ten to fifteen minute work in progress sample.

MORE INFO: Documentary Film Funding for Works In Progress | ITVS

The Future of Film is Female Short Film Fund

Submission Period:  February 1-15, 2024

Notification Date: March 26, 2024

The FOFIF funds  short films directed by women or non-binary filmmakers for financial pre-production grants or post-production grants from Heard City (sound) and Nice Shoes (color).  Guidelines: No more than 20 minutes in length;  episodic works are not being considered at this time.

Submission Info:  Future of Film is Female Short Film Fund

Thanks to Newsletter Contributors:  Diane Walsh, Julie Rubio, Nil Unerdem, & Carol Hall

Newsletter designed by Lina Indeeva and edited by Nil Unerdem