May News

Welcome Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

*Image by Freepik

May is AAPI Heritage Month (Federal Asian Pacific American Council - Resource Center) and WIFSFBA would like to celebrate by highlighting AAPI women filmmakers!

AAPI Events

Center for Asian American Media CAAMFest 2024: LIFTING TRUTHS IN OUR STORIES

When: May 9-19th, 2024

Where: Bay Area theaters, Asian Art Museum San Francisco

“These are stories that are brave, bizarre, beautiful, and are all true of something – they are ours. Generous expressions of what impacts us, what matters, what we long for and imagine. It is of US. It is anthropic. We are faceted in our existence.

In a year like this one, we need stories to do more than ever. Here, in the ritual of CAAMFest, we are privileged to tell our truths. In these stories we are emboldened to record how we see the world and ourselves in it. By giving ourselves permission to do so, we are responding to being overlooked, misunderstood, unknown. We are building capacities to truly see each other and to feel deeply side by side. It is the most powerful thing in movement building, our shared humanity. Amid misinformation and deep fakes, we are craving genuine perspective, and sides of ourselves that we are not afraid to share.

CAAMFest 2024 honors these storytellers of our time. To tell what is true to you is brave. We see you in your wonder, urgency, tenderness, joy, grief, determination, anger and stand with you. This CAAMFest is a call to lifting the truths of our stories.”

MORE INFO: Schedule

Asian Art Museum

When: Events throughout May

Where: Asian Art Museum, Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA 94102

“Celebrated in May, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes and honors the contributions, achievements, and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans (AAPI) who have shaped the culture and history of the United States. In light of the recent increase of violence and discrimination against AAPI communities, the annual celebration takes on even more importance.

AAPI Heritage Month began in 1978 as a weeklong celebration and in 1992 May was permanently designated as the commemorative month. The month of May was chosen to memorialize the arrival of the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to honor the completion of the transcontinental railroad — built by as many as 20,000 Chinese workers — on May 10, 1869. 

The Asian Art Museum is dedicated year-round to uplifting the voices and experiences of the AAPI community and providing a platform for visibility, representation, and cross-cultural connection. Each May, we are honored to commemorate AAPI Heritage Month with programming that celebrates AAPI histories and cultures, builds empathy and understanding, and fights xenophobia, prejudice, and discrimination. We believe that engaging with Asian art and cultures in their many forms has the ability to educate, spark creativity, foster dialogue, connect people, and, ultimately, create change.

See below for ways to honor AAPI Heritage Month, from talks, performances, and cooking demonstrations to art activities for the whole family and lesson plans for parents and teachers. You’ll also find information on ways to support the AAPI community and stop anti-Asian hate.

The museum celebrates cultures from across Asia all year long. Learn more about our other Cultural Celebrations.”

MORE INFO: Asian Art Museum AAPI Heritage Month

Letter from the President

Reflections on the Overturned Convictions of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, and Their Implications for Women’s Rights and the #MeToo Movement

Dear Members,

The recent decision by the New York Court of Appeals to overturn Harvey Weinstein's sex crimes conviction is a significant setback for the #MeToo movement, which has been instrumental in bringing issues of sexual violence and harassment to the forefront of global consciousness. Similarly, the 2021 reversal of Bill Cosby's conviction due to procedural issues further exemplifies the legal challenges faced in holding sex offenders accountable. These rulings emphasize procedural technicalities over the substantive justice that survivors seek, potentially discouraging them from coming forward and risking marginalization of their voices.

These decisions have reignited the #MeToo movement's urgency, reminding us of the critical work still required to transform our legal system into one that truly supports survivors. The movement, which gained momentum in 2017 following revelations about Weinstein, has brought widespread attention to sexual misconduct, particularly in the film industry and high-profile industries. Despite these legal setbacks, the #MeToo movement continues to empower individuals to share their stories, fostering a broader cultural understanding of the pervasiveness of sexual violence.

The dissenting opinions in these cases underscore the ongoing struggle to validate survivors' experiences and criticize the majority for perpetuating outdated notions of sexual violence. They highlight the judiciary's crucial role in shaping how society confronts and adjudicates sexual assault and harassment and protects survivors.

As we reflect on these developments, let us strengthen our commitment to the #MeToo movement and advocate for legal reforms that protect survivors and uphold the dignity of all women. We must continue to support those brave enough to speak out and ensure that their courage leads to genuine change. Importantly, we must also emphasize the power of women supporting other women, reinforcing our collective strength and solidarity. I understand that it can be overwhelming and exhausting to continually advocate for one's rights, especially when they are being taken away. Yet, with the support of your community, these challenges become not just bearable, but also a powerful opportunity to unite and strengthen our collective resolve.

Together, we will continue to advocate for a just system that acknowledges the complexities of sexual violence and prioritizes the well-being and rights of survivors, empowering us to establish safe work environments. We are reminded of our commitment's crucial importance, and of the empowering role women, alongside the #MeToo movement, play in driving further action and a better safer world for all.

With warmest regards,

Julie Rubio

President, Women in Film San Francisco Bay Area

Articles to check out: 

From Variety Magazine

Mariska Hargitay on overturning of Harvey Weinstein's conviction & on Instagram: Variety Instagram

From Substack:

Are Film Festivals the New Art House? by Anthony Kaufman


Prompting ChatGPT with Philip Shane

When: May 10th, 2024 at 3:00-4:30 PM PDT

Where: Zoom

Cost: $30/$15 Non-member/member rate

Join Philip Shane, an award-winning documentary filmmaker with over three decades in the industry, for an enlightening Q&A discussion on leveraging ChatGPT in documentary filmmaking. This session, drawn from Shane's interactive workshop, will delve into the myriad ways AI can transform the pre-production, production, and post-production stages of documentary making. Participants will gain insights into using ChatGPT for everything from ideation and research to storyboarding, data analysis, and even marketing.

Shane, known for his work on films like Being Elmo and Dancing in Jaffa will share his expertise on incorporating AI tools for enhanced creativity and efficiency, while also addressing their limitations and strategic use. Ideal for filmmakers at any skill level, this Q&A is a unique opportunity to explore the integration of AI in your filmmaking journey, inspired by Shane's rich experience in both film production and as the host of the science podcast "What the If?" Embrace this chance to understand how ChatGPT can innovate and streamline your documentary projects.


    •    Leverage AI in filmmaking and television

    •    Incorporate AI tools for enhanced creativity

    •    Prompt for storyboarding, data analysis, and marketing

Philip usually charges over $200 for a class like ours! This engaging virtual event is open to both WIFSFBA members and non-members of all genders. See you online at this transformative discussion on using ChatGPT and AI in your media projects.

Questions about this event? Please email us at with the subject line “Prompting ChatGPT.”

MORE INFO and register here:  WIFSFBA Events - Philip Shane  

Writing Workshop with Lorien McKenna

When: June 5th, 2024 at 6:30-8:00 PM Pacific

Where: Zoom

Cost: $20/$10 Non-member/member rate

Note: Email for student discount code with “Writers Workshop Student Code” in the subject line.

Please join us for an interactive writing workshop with Lorien McKenna, screenwriter extraordinaire and popular co-host of the Screenwriting Life podcast! First, Lorien will talk to us about her journey as a screenwriter from working at Pixar (Up, Brave, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur) to showrunner for Emmy-winning Tab Time. This will be followed by an interactive writing workshop focused on “character want.” Afterwards, we’ll have an engaging Q&A with Lorien. Sign up and get into the LAVA of your story!

Lorien’s Bio:

Lorien McKenna is an Emmy-nominated and NAACP Image Award-winning writer. 

As a Story Manager at Pixar Animation Studios, Lorien worked on Up, Brave, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur. She was the Development Producer on several animated features at Paramount Animation and was the Co-Executive Producer for Curious George for the TV series and animated feature films. 

Most recently, Lorien was the Showrunner for the Emmy-winning YouTube/Kids at Play preschool show Tab Time. She’s written and developed for NBC, Hulu, Comedy Central, and Netflix. She adapted and will make her feature directorial debut with How to Set a Fire and Why, based on the novel by Jesse Ball. She has written two Red Raion projects and is in development on a third. She is currently in development on an animated project with Rideback and Titan1A producing based on the Zomben Comic books. 

Lorien is a Script Editor for Screen Australia (How to Please a Woman), Screen Queensland, and Screen Ireland. She is a mentor for the Cinestory Foundation and the Nostos Screenwriting Retreats. She received a BA in English Literature & Performing Arts and an MFA in Playwriting from St. Mary’s College of California where she taught as an Adjunct Professor in the English and Theater Departments. 

She is the co-host of the popular podcast The Screenwriting Life, along with screenwriter Meg LeFauve. 

Her favorite writing snacks are dill pickle chips and black licorice.

MORE INFO and register here:  WIFSFBA Events - Lorien McKenna 


Pitch-A-Pro Wrap Up

What an exciting evening we experienced on Pitch-A-Pro Night! Forty-seven people registered to pitch ten pros. At least seven participants were asked to send in scripts. Some pros allowed all their pitchers to send them more information about their scripts. Three lucky winners pitched the entire pro panel and the audience at the end of the evening. 

Thanks to all the volunteers who kept time in the breakout rooms and our intrepid Zoom techs who helped keep the evening running smoothly. A lot happened behind the scenes to bring the evening to fruition.

If you attended Pitch-A-Pro, we’d love to hear your feedback. Email us at with the Subject Line: PAP Feedback.

- Carol Hall, WIFSFBA Script Incubator Coordinator

Script Incubator News

Our next monthly Table Read will be on Monday, May 20th from 7-9pm. Come join us and hear 1-10 page excerpts from writers’ work, read by talented actors from the Bay Area and beyond. No homework! Just show up! And all participants are encouraged to give feedback.

If you have any questions about the table-read or would like to reserve a spot for your script at the June meeting, feel free to contact Carol Hall at with “Script Incubator” in the subject line. 


CAAMFest Film Owl

Where: The New Parkway Theater, Oakland CA

When: May 19th, 6:30pm

Cost: $15

A film I worked on as a PA and then various other positions like AD and script supervisor for a few days last year, called Kaneko’s Owl, now re-named Owl, will be playing at CAAMfest! Check it out! The film has beautiful imagery (Terrence Malick was a big inspiration for the director Julian Pham) and a talented cast (co-producer/lead actress Marica Petrey) and crew. 

Here’s the trailer: Owl trailer

Get your tickets here: Owl tickets

-Nil Unerdem, WIFSFBA Secretary

Do you have career or event 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 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 - Events & Invitations

2024 SIMI Valley Film Festival
Festival: September 5, 2024-September 8, 2024                                                                                                             
Film Submission Deadline: July 21, 2024   

“We’re excited to announce the opening of submissions for the 2024 SIMI Film Fest, showcasing top features and short films from around the world. 
We are seeking films of the highest caliber that exhibit exceptional skill and artistry, and that push the boundaries of creativity and storytelling.  Our goal is to showcase the most daring and innovative films that captivate and inspire audiences.  If you believe that your film meets this criteria, then please…send it! 

We are accepting films across all genres -- comedy, drama, action, thriller, animation, sci-fi, or any unique combination.  If your storytelling is compelling, you may just be a perfect fit for screening at SIMIFF. “

Submission Info:  Simi Valley FF  

(NOTE to WIFSFBA members:  you are eligible for a submission discount -- please contact (‘SIMI Valley FF’ in subject line) to receive the discount code)

SMITHSONIAN American Women's History Museum - Call for Applications: Spotlight Documentary Residency

Submission Deadline:  May 31, 2024

“The Smithsonian American Women's History Museum  invited you to co-create a more inclusive record of American history by shaping how stories from your community are told.  The Spotlight Documentary will support teams of professional filmmakers and community builders to create short form, limited documentary series that share histories of notable American women and girls who are well-known to their communities but have not been recognized or celebrated in mainstream narratives about American history.

Reimagining a conventional residency, a cohort of four teams will receive $50,000 in production funding, interdisciplinary mentorship, and a national platform for their completed work, while retaining full ownership rights to the series.  The residency will take place from mid-August 2024 through mid-February 2025. Selected teams will live and work in place and must complete their series in that time frame.

More details about program requirements are available on our Spotlight Program Page and detailed information about how to prepare and submit your application, including selection process and criteria, and templates to ease application prep, can be found on our Apply Page.  Please direct any questions to:”

SFFILM Documentary Film Fund

Application Deadline:  May 31st

“Do you know any filmmakers looking for an enriching opportunity? The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund has distributed nearly $1 million to advance new work by non-fiction filmmakers worldwide, many of whom go on to premiere at festivals like Sundance, our own San Francisco International Film Festival, Tribeca and more, as well as collect dozens of nominations and awards. Take a look at SFFILM’s website for more information and for news about other filmmaking opportunities.”


Women in Film and Video - New England (WIFVNE)

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

WIFVNE event: Networking Wednesday

When: May 15th, 7:00 - 8:00 PM Eastern, 4:00- 5:00 PM Pacific

Where: Zoom

Free to attend! Advance registration required.

“WIFVNE's Networking Wednesday is an opportunity to connect, share resources, and learn in a low-key environment. Introduce yourself to others who can encourage and support you.  Share what you are working on and what you are working towards.  Let us know what you can offer and what support you seek.”

RSVP here:  WIFVNE Networking

Alliance of Women Directors

“The Alliance of Women Directors is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women and gender non-binary directors working in the entertainment industry.  Today we are an inclusive collective of over 400 professional women and gender nonbinary directors working together to affect positive, lasting change in the entertainment industry.  A relentless advocate for gender parity, AWD  believes it is vital that stories are told from all perspectives.  Representation matters.

AWD is committed to substantially increasing the number of working women and gender nonbinary directors in film, television, commercials and new media by:

We hope you’ll join us as a member, ally, volunteer or donor.”                    
MORE INFO:   Alliance of Women Directors 

WIFT-US Member National Networking

When: May 9th, 2024, 7:00 PM Eastern, 4:00 PM Pacific
Where: Zoom

“Join us to meet other crew across the US! Crewing up in another area, join us and let’s put you guys together! Want to network? Join us! Must be a paid member of your local WIF chapter.”

MORE INFO:   Register for WIFTUS Networking Night 


BASH - Bay Area & Sacramento Short Film Festival 2024

When: Saturday, May 25, 2024 / 11:00am - 5:00pm

Where: Eclectic Box SF Theatre - 446 Valencia Street, SF, CA 94103

Tickets: $12-$13.50

“BASH is a Semi-Annual Film Festival showcasing a diverse sampling of BAY AREA and SACRAMENTO made shorts and mini features, award-winning directors along with amateurs breaking in the industry and blowing everyone away.  From EPIC Comedies to Horrors, and  Serious Dramas to Documentaries, our selections are eclectic and all across the board!  Audience choice winners will win trophies and exposure on our networks.”

Buy Tickets:  BASH Tickets

'ENCANTO' Film w/San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

When: May 24,2024 @7:30pm / May 25, 2024 @2:00pm

Where: Davies Symphony Hall -- 201 Van Ness Ave, SF 94102

Tickets: $59-$186

“Watch the magical tale of an extraordinary family in the town of Encanto, featuring all-new songs by Emmy-, Grammy-, and Tony Award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda performed live by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.”

Buy Tickets:  Encanto


The Women's Film Festival

Late Submission Deadline:  May 17, 2024

“The Women’s Film Festival is an annual festival during Women’s History Month in March that showcases work made by and/or about women.  Please submit your work (documentary, short, feature, animation, or music video) featuring a strong female role in the category of director, writer, producer, editor, director of photography, or lead actress.”

Submission Info:  Women's Film Festival

Austin Film Festival Script & Film Competition

Script Application Deadline: 

Film and Short Competition Deadline:

Cost: Varies based on what is being submitted, from $60+. Contact us at for a member discount code if submitting.

“For thirty years, Austin Film Festival has been catapulting writers into life-changing careers. With one of the most noteworthy competitions among Hollywood tastemakers, AFF consistently yanks newcomers from the isolation of their desks and ushers them into the bustling world of film and television. Whether your dream is to sign a contract, land an agent, learn from an industry icon, or take home the coveted Bronze Typewriter Award, it’s simple: you can’t win if you don’t enter.”

Apply here: Austin Film Festival 

Shore Script's 2024 TV Pilot Contest

Regular Deadline: May 31, 2024                                                                                                                                                
Final Deadline:  June 28, 2024                                                                                                                                                    
Accepting:  1 hour & ½ hour TV Pilots, including Web Series, Limited Series, and Anthology shows

Our TV Pilot contest is for screenwriters looking to get staffed on TV Shows, and have their pilots picked up by Production Companies. This contest has a proven track record of helping emerging writers achieve their goals of becoming full-time working TV writers in the US & abroad.  Writers through our TV pilot contest have gained representation, and gone on to write and get staffed on shows for Netflix, HBO, HULU, Universal, SYFY, FOX, Sony, SkyTV, Peacock & Others.”

Submission Info:  Shore Scripts TV Pilot Contest

Film Pipeline Shorts Film Competition

Early Deadline: June 5, 2024 - $35                                                                                                                                
Regular Deadline: September 10, 2024 - $40

“The 7th Annual Film Pipeline Shorts Competition seeks remarkable directors and diverse, engaging content -- the type of work defined by forward-thinking perspectives and unconventional yet universally appealing stories.

Film Pipeline has created a platform significantly different from a festival:  selected entrants are given one-on-one collaboration with Pipeline execs to develop or produce additional scripts, consideration for industry circulation, and extended promotion of their film to our broader audience.”

Submit here: Film Pipeline Shorts Competition

Film Independent Producing Lab

Increasing the representation of women and non-binary writers in television

Submission deadline:  May 6th for Non-Members, May 20th for Members 

Application Fee:

“The Producing Lab helps further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to film professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of independent producing. In addition to attending lab sessions with legal, financial and production experts, each Producing Lab Fellow will be paired with an experienced Creative Advisor with whom they’ll work to develop their project over the course of the program. Taking place during the course of two weeks in October, the Lab culminates with a pitch session with established executives, offering participants valuable practical experience and the chance to introduce their projects to a larger cross-section of the industry.

Producers may apply with feature length narrative projects that are in active development or post-production. Through the Lab, Fellows develop strategies and action plans to bring their projects to fruition.”

MORE INFO: Film Independent Producing Lab


SCREENCRAFT Film Fund Grant Program                                                                
Regular Submission Deadline:  May 31st / Final Deadline June 30th 

“ScreenCraft will offer production grants to talented creators for narrative features, short films, TV pilot series scripts, and documentaries that display originality, vision & exceptional potential. 

With $30,000 in grant funds available, this unique grant program is designed to help fund your vision. We consider a range of projects, from treatments to standalone screenplays to fully-packaged projects seeking finishing funds and will choose 1-4 projects to fund.  Grant amounts will vary depending on the scale and merit of each project. “

Submission info: Screencraft FF Grant 

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

Berkeley Film Foundation Grant

Application Deadline: May 13th (Opens April 2nd)  

“Berkeley FILM Foundation supports East-Bay based emerging and established independent filmmakers whose work combines intellectual clarity with creative use of the medium and focuses on supporting social, historical and innovative documentary and dramatic works. Our mission is to nurture, sustain and preserve the thriving local film community while attracting the next generation of filmmakers.  We support documentary works that have a social consciousness and address  complex issues of our time.

The BFF grant program accepts applicants who live or work in the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, El Cerrito, Albany, Richmond, and Oakland. Applications will be accepted  from filmmakers in Production, Post-Production or Distribution. A project sample of up to 10 minutes of edited footage is required with your application.”

Apply here: Berkeley Film Foundation

Cali Catalyst Grant

Application Deadline: May 6th, 2024  

“CALI Catalyst provides unrestricted grants of up to $7,500 to California changemakers who are creating tangible impact within the arts and culture sector, shifting power and influence to historically underrepresented voices.

CALI Catalyst applicants can be individuals or teams of individuals.* To be eligible for funding consideration:  

Apply here: Cali Catalyst Grant

2025 Headlands Center for the Arts Residency

Application Deadline: June 10th, 2024

Cost: $35

“The Artist in Residence (AIR) program awards fully sponsored residencies to approximately 50 local, national, and international artists each year. Residencies of four to ten weeks include studio space, chef-prepared meals, housing, travel and living expenses. AIRs become part of a dynamic community of artists participating in Headlands’ other programs, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within the artist community on campus. Artists selected for this program are at all career stages and work in all media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, new media, installation, fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, dance, music, interdisciplinary, social practice, and architecture.”

MORE INFO: Headlands Center for the Arts Residency

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

Newsletter designed by Lina Indeeva and edited by Nil Unerdem