The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF) is one of the longest running women’s film festivals in the world.
Established in 1989 to support and promote women filmmakers, the SJIWFF produces several screenings, workshops and other events throughout the year, culminating in a five-day annual film festival held in October in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. These dynamic events attract over 4,500 participants. Every year the Festival receives over 400 film submissions and from those we present a powerful program of international documentaries, short films and feature works.
Festival week also features the [Interactive] Film Industry Forum, consisting of panels, workshops and face-to-face meetings for filmmakers, producers, and interactive creators. The Forum focuses on the business of filmmaking while the Festival celebrates international works by women.
Increase the exposure of new works written and / or directed by women
Showcase the province to the Canadian and international film industry
Increase the national and international profile of St. John’s and the province as a vibrant cultural site and place to do business
Deliver programs to help develop the next generation of filmmakers (FRAMED)
Offer outreach programs (Films on the Go, special screenings)
Facilitate interaction among filmmakers and between filmmakers and their audiences
Provide local communities access to outstanding yet unfamiliar and limited-release works
Produce a unique cultural event that highlights our filmmakers, our province and our industry
Support the development of the local film community through promotion, exhibition, market access, professional development and training opportunities and grants (RBC MJEFA, [Interactive] Incubator Project)
In addition to the annual Festival and Forum, throughout the year we organize a series of projects aimed at supporting local emerging filmmakers and growing local film audiences.
Our new Feminist Youth Ambassador program serves to make our work accessible to young people who do not live in the greater St. John’s region and both inspire and support the next generation of feminists.
Films On The Go is a provincial film screening tour, taking some of the Festival's favourite short films on the road to be shared with new audiences beyond the city centre. FRAMED, our film education series, puts the camera in young people’s hands to help them develop, shoot, and edit a short film through five-day film camps.
Partnering with our Forum, the [Interactive] Incubator Project is a unique initiative to help women develop as interactive storytellers. In the same spirit as our Forum, Scene and Heard is our film industry conference, offering in-depth masterclasses and workshops each spring.
We are also proud to offer the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, an annual peer-juried award for the production of a six-minute film by a new, promising female director. This award was established in memory of friend, filmmaker, and youth mentor, Michelle Jackson (1972-2008).
Locally, we’ve been recognized by readers of The Overcast, St. John’s cultural newspaper, in it’s annual Best of St. John’s awards. The St. John's International Women's Film Festival has won Most Valuable Player in the Local Film and Television Industry (2015-2017) as well as Best Local Arts Event (2017).
Recent national support includes the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival receiving national recognition from Telefilm Canada in 2016 for our work toward gender parity. In addition, Women in Film and Television Vancouver awarded us with the Please Adjust Your Set Award in 2014 for our outstanding leadership in the Canadian movement for gender diversity in the film industry.
Sonja Steyn, International Filmmaker (Australia)
"I decided to attend the festival because having my film selected is a game changer for me. It opens doors to funding possibilities now that I have directed a film that has been accepted to an international film festival."
Carol Whiteman, President & CEO
Women in the Director’s Chair
"The SJIWFF is a vital institution not just in Atlantic Canada, but nationally and internationally."
Carolyn Saunders, Filmmaker
"I just wanted to say thank you very much for running such a wonderful festival and for making me, as a filmmaker, feel wanted and welcome and important."
Karen Bruce, Director of Membership
Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
"This festival is doing so many great things for our industry and I'm super stoked to be a part of it."
Morghan Fortier, Executive Producer
Tinman Creative Studios & Skyship Entertainment
"The St. John’s International Women’s Festival is one of the best festivals I have ever attended. Informative, engaging, and relevant, the panels I attended were illuminating, and the screening sessions were entertaining, showcasing strong, inspiring, top-notch films."