June News

🌈 June is LGBTQ+ Pride month 

Two women hugging and smiling at the camera

photo by @Enyioma Enyioma Nwankwo

Gay pride month - and all those letters! What do they stand for? And why the +?

You probably know the answer, or can Google it quicker than I can type it, but I thought I’d share an acronym I just learned about, SOGIE: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression. It’s a cool way to open up the alphabet to an even more expansive view of what Pride month is all about. SOGIE is named after an anti-discrimination bill in the Phillipines that lawmakers and advocates have been trying to pass for over 20 years, called the SOGIE Bill. Let’s hope it passes soon.

Watch this short 2-part explainer about the definitions of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression:

A young Eng with short hair poses with a camera

Esther Eng in Honolulu, HI 1949

What does any of this have to do with WIFSFBA? Well, WIFSFBA, another flavor of alphabet soup, was formed to further the opportunities for women in media, because women have been historically excluded from the industry. That’s not to say there haven’t been women playing an important role since the beginning. But the odds have been stacked against us. Only recently has attention to discrimination and harassment in the workplace really come to light, and so many women have come forward to speak out.  But no mention of gender pioneers and sheroes would be complete without Esther Eng (1914 - 1970), a San Francisco-born filmmaker who worked as a director, writer, producer, and distributor. " In her creative and business endeavors, she was a woman pioneer who crossed the boundaries of race, language, culture, and gender," according to the  Women Film Pioneers Project, where you can read more about Eng, the first Chinese-American lesbian film director.

At WIFSFBA we’ve formed our purpose around our identities as women. Not around our sex, i.e. the biology we were born with, aka assigned at birth. Rather, we’re an organization that feels a shared experience of what it means to be female in our media. The more we support each others’ stories, the more different kinds of stories will be told. And the umbrella “woman” will expand.

Now that we acknowledge that gender isn’t binary, we have to open up the definition of women. If we at WIFSFBA are talking about industry discrimination based on gender, then what about others who are also discriminated against or held back based on gender - gender queer, transgender women...?

In this now-famous clip, the smartest lady in the land doesn’t pretend to know what a “woman” is, but she’s ready to hear anyone out who wants to make a claim.

Watch Rep. Marsha Blackburn question Justice Ketanji Jackson during confirmation hearings in March, 2022.

👉🏾 Celebrate Juneteenth 👈🏾

In 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday in the United States. Marking the end of slavery, Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and to free the people still enslaved there, a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Read more about the holiday.

Miss Juneteenth was written and directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples who grew up attending Juneteenth celebrations and pageants. Miss Juneteenth premiered in January 2020 at Sundance Film Festival, and stars Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow). 

What's Happening in the Bay Area

Hands holding the sun illustration

Image from Frameline46 website

Frameline Film Festival

Ground zero for gay film is the Frameline Film Festival. The LGBTQ+ festivals where filmmakers and audiences came out and came of age were an essential part of the Gay Liberation movement. Frameline started in 1977 in San Francisco, and other queer festivals sprung up around the globe. The festival’s closing night film screens on the night before the Gay Pride event on the last weekend of June every year. Pride began as a riot, when lesbian, gay, and transgender patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a bar in the West Village of Manhattan, revolted against yet another police raid, which regularly arrested bar patrons for breaking the law against practicing homosexuality and cross-dressing. Pride was a revolt. Today, it’s a parade, with corporate sponsors. But in these time, as certain politicians and supreme court justices threaten to roll back gay rights, including gay marriage, I’ll be curious to see where the politics will land.

Lesbian Avengers, women who were marginalized from the male-dominated Gay Rights Movement, and from male-dominated culture in general, formed the first Dyke March in NYC in 1992 to bring attention to lesbian health and rights issues. This year marks the 30th Dyke March, in cities across the country, including San Francisco on Saturday June 25 in Dolores Park.

Check out the Frameline Film Festival schedule of events this month.

Grants Corner

Frameline LGBTQ+ Film Grant Completion Fund

The Frameline LGBTQ+ Film Grant Completion Fund provides grants up to $5,000 to emerging and established filmmakers and is a source of financial contributions to artists who often struggle to secure funding to complete their works. The fund supports documentary, narrative, experimental, animated and episodic projects about LGBTQ+ people and their communities. Films submitted should represent and reflect LGBTQ+ life in all its complexity and richness.  Submission Deadline: October

New Voices Filmmaker Grant

NewFest, New York’s largest presenter of LGBTQ+ film & media and the largest convener of LGBTQ+ audiences in the city is partnering with Netflix to support emerging LGBTQ+ filmmakers with $25,000 in funding to create new work – in addition to mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities! Read more...

“By empowering the next generation of LGBTQ+ filmmakers, NewFest and Netflix will work to increase queer representation and support authentic stories that showcase the talent of queer storytellers.” —David Hatkoff, NewFest Executive Director

Submissions open: January 2023

Events and News



As a part of our ongoing mission to empower, promote and celebrate women’s creative works, we are hosting a special event to raise awareness about local talent in the bay area and to help bring our projects to the forefront. 

You are invited to submit your short narrative or documentary projects (5 min - 20 min) by June 30, 2022. 

Films must have a crew and/or cast that includes or features women or those identifying as women.  All topics of subject matter are welcome.

You will be notified by July 31st or sooner if your film has been chosen to be part of the Showcase.


The Short Film Showcase will launch virtually on September 15th, 2022 featuring write-ups with links to your film and 7 days of promotion for each of the films. 


Then, on September 22, 2022 @ 6pm WIFSFBA will host a virtual Q&A featuring a panel with the film’s creator(s). The event will be open to the public.

*** Please help us spread the word about the Short Film Showcase by sharing with your network! ***

INSTRUCTIONS    ( Submit your film by June 30, 2022 )

For questions, please contact the WIFSFBA at bod-admin@wifsfba.org    Attn: Question - Short Film Showcase

Members in the News

Member Film Screening at the New Parkway Theater

Blooming tree illustration

A  Place to Breathe Poster

WIFSFBA Member Robyn Bykofsky is the producer of the documentary A Place To Breathe, a feature doc about the refugee crisis seen through the stories of four families and the health implications and support they get once they arrive here in the U.S.

After a pandemic-era release, the film is now being screened locally, in Oakland’s New Parkway Theater. This venue is particularly resonant, as the Oakland-based Street Level Health Project, an essential service for immigrants and refugees in the Bay Area, is featured in the film. 

A PLACE TO BREATHE explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of immigrant and refugee healthcare practitioners and patients. This 86-minute documentary intertwines the personal journeys of those who are transcending their own obstacles by healing others. Combining cinema vérité and animation, the film highlights the creative strategies by which immigrant communities in the U.S. survive and thrive.”


When: Monday, June 27th at 7pm

Where: New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St, Oakland, CA 94612 

Tickets: bit.ly/aptb-new-parkway 

(A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Street Level Health Project)

Film website: https://underexposedfilms.com/a-place-to-breathe

Trailer: https://bit.ly/trailer-aptb


The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and members of Street Level Health Project.

Street Level Health Project is an Oakland-based community center dedicated to improving the wellbeing of underinsured, uninsured, and recently arrived immigrants in Alameda County.

The Berkeley Film Foundation is hosting the event which honors World Refugee and Immigrant Day (June 20th). 


Find out more about the film:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aplacetobreathefilm/

Instagram: @aplacetobreathe_film

More in the news...

WIFSFBA board member Julie Rubio was recently featured  in the Orinda News about her forthcoming documentary Tamara de LempickaRead more...

Newsletter editor Amy Harrison is a director, creative producer, educator and WIFSFBA board member. Send us your news! bod-admin@wifsfba.org