By Posted on: Monday, September 26th, 2016

The 27th Annual St. John’s Women’s International Film Festival Line-Up!



Our festival line-up is all ready to roll out, along with that ‘ol red carpet!

We gotta say, we’re tickled pink over this year’s roster. We’ll be showcasing an enormous amount of talent from all around the world — as far as Australia. And, of course, we’ve got a ton of local films. We’ve got more film fest parties than ever before, and our [Interactive] Film Industry Forum will have you rubbing shoulders with the likes of Aisling Walsh and Brigitte Berman.

Here are some highlights.

ExxonMobil Opening Night Gala
The River of My Dreams: A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent

The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival’s EXXONMOBIL OPENING NIGHT GALA will begin with a red carpet welcome at the Scotiabank Theatre (Avalon Mall) on October 19th, 7PM. Oscar-winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman’s film The River of My Dreams: A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent will open the Festival this year.

The River of My Dreams

Oscar-winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman turns her talents to one of our most beloved local heroes, the world’s most charming rowdy man. It takes at least a full-blown feature to capture the life and time of such a performer, and The River of My Dreams delivers. Berman managed to draw from Gordon Pinsent a most intimate portrait of what makes him tick. Growing up in Grand Falls didn’t exactly present a life of promise and fame, but the young Gordon had big ambitions and untapped talent, and, unlike so many who dream, he found a way out. Call it fate or design, Pinsent ended up living the dream over seven decades of performing. Whether stage or screen, Pinsent always gave his all, building a rich legacy with which many of us are so familiar, including but not limited to Quentin Durgens, M.P., The Rowdyman, of course, John and the Missus, and notably the films The Shipping News, Away from Her, and The Grand Seduction. There’s a lot revealed in this documentary, for all the world’s stage and some, like this still mischievous octogenarian, know how to own it.

Emera NL Closing Night Gala

The Festival will wrap up at the Scotiabank Theatre (Avalon Mall) with the EMERA NL CLOSING NIGHT GALA screening of Maudie, a stunning film directed by Aisling Walsh. Check it out on October 23rd, 7PM.

Maudie St. John's International Women's Film Festival

With a bravura performance by Sally Hawkins as the titular figure, Maudie is an uncannily brilliant profile of the much-revered folk artist. Nova Scotia-based Maud Lewis famously suffered from crippling arthritis. The loneliness such a condition must have imposed on her found a large measure of relief in painting. Lewis’s colourfully naïve images drawn from gardens and fields surely animated the dullness of her domestic environment. But what began as a pastime grew into something much larger once the world more or less accidentally discovered her work. Also more or less accidental was the way Lewis’s gruff husband entered Lewis’s life. Played with uncharacteristic crustiness by Ethan Hawke, Everett Lewis changed everything. Not the world’s favourite bachelor, he nonetheless gave Lewis a new life and a teeny weeny home in which she could colour her world. With a script by our BFF Sherry White and production credits shared by the indomitable Mary Sexton, Maudie is a gripping story made more powerful through its understated treatment of a rather unusual figure in the Canadian imaginary.

We are very excited to be opening Maudie with the  2015 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award winning film Crocuses by Wanda Nolan.

Fantastic Features

You get the tickets; we’ll bring the popcorn. Check out our titles — this year we’ve got lots of locals!

Feature Docs

Learn about everything from the lifestyle of old school burlesque dancers to what the seal hunt means to the Inuit. Read the full lineup here.

Boundaries St. John's International Women's Film Festival

This year’s CBC Friday Night at Heart‘s feature is Boundaries, a fresh and powerful drama shot almost exclusively on Fogo Island and with an all-women crew. We don’t think we know of another film quite like Boundaries—that is, one that so profoundly explores politics and power from a woman’s point of view. Well, not just one woman’s point of view: several women are implicated in an ongoing negotiation between Canada and a financially desperate remote island nation. This is 2016, not 1949, but echoes of confederation are inevitable. That said, the real focus is how the three women featured here must cope with the demands of family, isolation, male privilege, and so on. 


Nearly 40 shorts are on the schedule this year! That means you’re bound to find at least a dozen films to love. Cancel your calls and grab a cup of coffee to settle in for a good read of our shorts program.

[Interactive] Film Industry Forum

There’s another amazing [Interactive] Film Industry Forum in store this year, allowing industry folks to come together to learn, educate, and inspire. Sign up for pitch sessions (limited space!) or learn about creating web video content — all this, and so much more, at this year’s SJIWFF.

Also, meet this year’s IIP winners!

Film Lover’s Lottery

We’re still selling tickets for the Film Lover’s Lottery! The prizes are outstanding, including an Adventure Canada Cruise valued at $15,000. Get all the details here.

The RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award

Congratulations, Emily Bridger!

Emily Bridger is the winner of the 2016 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award! Emily was selected for her riveting script, Waste It, which will premiere in the 28th annual SJIWFF.

Emily Bridger

The RBC Michelle Jackson Award Emerging Filmmaker Award is facilitated by the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in memory of Filmmaker and Student Mentor, Michelle Jackson who passed away suddenly in 2008. The award is made possible with the help of the RBC Foundation, the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation, CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, MO Entertainment, the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-Operative, Casting by Maggie, Atlantic Studios Cooperative, Ruth Atkinson, and Anita Reilly Mcgee.

Meet Our New Staff

We’re gearing up for another great festival, and we’ve got some new faces onboard. Get to know us!


From the top (left to right):

Jenn Brown – Executive Director; Victoria Wells – Technical Director; Liz Burt – Guest Services; Phil Winters – Projectionist; Devin Shears – Volunteer Coordinator; Heidi Wagner – Production Manager; Candice Walsh – Communications Coordinator; Grace King – Program Coordinator; Megan Kendell – Forum Assistant; Jackie Hynes – Forum Coordinator; and Anna Swain -Technical Assistant.

Get Your Tickets!

Festival veterans, we have a few venue changes this year and, as a result, some new box office info. Please check out our Box Office Info page for ticket purchases!


None of this would be possible without your help. 

If you have any questions, please drop Candice a line at candice [ at ] See you in the movies!


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By Posted on: Friday, September 2nd, 2016

We’re Hiring for SJIWFF27!

We are looking for three people to join our fantastic SJIWFF27 team. Each position is 8 weeks, 40 hours/week, with a flexible start date aiming for Wednesday, September 7th or as soon as possible.

Please email Jenn Brown at: with a resume and availability no later than Monday, September 5, 2016.

Production Manager
Working with the Executive Director and the Festival team, the Production Manager’s duties include but are not limited to: Managing Box Office and screening logistics; coordinating meet ‘n greet, Opening and Closing Night

Guest Services
Working with the Executive Director and the Festival team, the Guest Services Coordinator’s duties include but are not limited to: Liaising with sponsors; managing ticket logistics for our VIP galas and Opening and Closing night events (including seating plans); managing Festival Pass and Delegate Bag lists; and more.

Communications Coordinator
Working with the Executive Director and the Festival team, the Communications Coordinator’s duties include but are not limited to: updating and maintaining Festival website and all social media accounts; writing press releases and organizing the press conference; managing the media buy and all Festival-related promotional activities, and more.


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By Posted on: Friday, July 29th, 2016

Big Day For The Festival!

Today is a big day for the Festival. We are saying a huge thank you and a warm goodbye to the incredible Sarah Smellie for all the powerful, imaginative and uncompromisingly feminist work she has done for SJIWFF over the past seven years and we are excited to be welcoming to our new Executive Director, the hilarious, whip smart and extremely competent Jean Smith!

Jean has worked in the arts in St. John’s for thirty years, including seventeen years in the film industry.

She has been the Executive Director of the Newfoundland Independent Filmmaker’s Co-operative and the Executive director of The Nickel  Film Festival. She also worked for two years as the Box Office Manager of LSPU Hall and as a Program Officer at the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. She has been the recipient of both a CBC Patron of the Arts Award and a Women in Film and Television’s WAVE Award

We are thrilled to have her at the helm as we begin gearing up for our 27th annual Festival! 

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By Posted on: Monday, June 13th, 2016

Job Posting: Student position – Program Coordinator

Student position – Program Coordinator
Date posted: June 13th, 2016
Application deadline: June 29th, 2016
Contract duration: 7 weeks
Start date: July 11th, 2016

Organization Information

At 27 years old, the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is one of the longest-running women’s film festivals in the world. We support women in film and television in Newfoundland and Labrador and around the world with our annual five-day Film Festival and Film Industry Forum; our annual Scene & Heard Film Industry Conference; our year-round FRAMED Film Education Series; our cross-provincial Films On The Go tour; and our one-off screenings and workshops.

Job Description

We’re looking for the perfect student to help us build our official Program Guide.

Each year, we publish a 100-page Program Guide which includes film and workshop descriptions, schedules, and delegate bios. It also includes ads and welcome messages from Festival and Forum supporters. Our Program Coordinator will work with our Executive Director to collect ads and messages from Festival sponsors, sell advertising space to local businesses, and put together our famous Festival swag bags. In some cases the student might also work on designing advertisements using InDesign and Photoshop.

This is a great opportunity to get to know the local film industry, and to gain experience with graphic design programs.


This position is offered through the Canada Summer Jobs program. Applicants must have been full-time students in the Winter 2015 – 2016 semester, be heading back into full-time studies this Fall and must be between the ages of 15 and 30.

The ideal candidate for this position is friendly, flexible, motivated and independent, with an interest in film, women’s issues and graphic design. This position requires strong organizational instincts, exceptional communication skills and a proficiency with office software such as Google Drive. Familiarity with graphic design programs like InDesign and Photoshop is an asset.

People of all genders are encouraged to apply.

Email applications to Sarah Smellie at

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By Posted on: Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

SJIWFF Podcast : Librarian, Chef, Comedian & Filmmaker Amanda Bulman

For this episode of the SJIWFF Podcast we talked to Amanda Bulman about her recent WIFT-Atlantic and PUnk Films 1K Wave Award win and film the award will allow her to make. Amanda’s film is a documentary that looks at reasons people stop making art and what it takes to get them back into practising their craft after a hiatus. In this podcast she also talks about how she began doing stand up comedy and her experience of the thriving comedy scene here in St. John’s.

Catch Amanda hosting our Friday the 13th Bingo fundraiser!

TW: Rape, Sexual Violence
Towards the end of this episode we talk about Rape is Real and Everywhere, A Comedy Show, a show where stand up comedians who are also rape survivors talk about their experiences of sexual violence.

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By Posted on: Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

FRAMED West 2016

FW Facebook Page 2016

FRAMED West film making camp is underway in Corner Brook this week!

The camp is being led by award-winning filmmaker Allison White, who was selected by Film Market Access (FMA) and First Weekend Club (FWC) as the winner of an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2016 Festival de Cannes /Marché du Film to present her current production project. White will be heading to Cannes days after the camp wraps up, you can read more about her win here.

Camp participants will film “Good Grief” a new comedic short film, written by Emily Bridger.

The film will play this Saturday, April 30th at the Theatre at Grenfell at 7:00pm, the event will also be the launch SJIWFF’s 2016 Films On The Go Tour.

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By Posted on: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Free National Canadian Film Day Screening April 20th at 7pm at Nifco – Cancelled Due to Weather


Unfortunately, this screening has been cancelled due to the storm, stay cozy!

Where: NIFCO, 40 Kings Rd
When: 7:00pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of National Canadian Film Day, The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF), the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Cooperative (NIFCO) and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) are partnering to show the feature length documentary Ninth Floor and the animated short film If I Was God. 

Mina Shum , director of Ninth Floor, will be Skyped in for a Q&A after the film.


Ninth Floor
Director: Mina Shum
Run time: 1h 21 min

In 1969, to protest the administration’s mishandling of racist accusations towards a professor, students at Sir George Williams University occupied a ninth floor computer lab.

If I Was God
Animator: Cordell Barker
Run time: 8 mins

In this short animated film, a Grade 7 boy’s mind starts to wander while dissecting a frog in Biology class. What would you do if you suddenly found yourself charged with God-like powers? Would you use them for good? For bad? Perhaps a little of both? The possibilities seem endless. Oh to have the power to toy with life and death, to create monsters who can punish those who torment him daily, or better yet, to create that one perfect day with Lily, the love of his 12-year-old life!

If I Was God is the latest offering from two-time Oscar®-nominated animator (The Cat Came Back, Strange Invaders) and long-time NFB collaborator Cordell Barker.

Click here to see the trailer for If I Was God on the NFB website.

Check out Cordell Barker’s Animation Master Class on the NFB website here.

Learn more about National Canadian Film Day here.

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By Posted on: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

SJIWFF Podcast: Renee Sharpe on Band Off

For this episode of the SJIWFF Podcast we spoke to Renee Sharpe about an event called Band Off that she put together. Band Off was invitation to people who haven’t felt encouraged to pick up an instrument and make loud music to do just that. Band Off was also an opportunity for people who’ve been in punk bands forever and have access to gear to help make room on stage for marginalized people.

Renee hosted a potluck where people put their names in a hat and were randomly placed in bands. The bands had two weeks to learn two covers and write one original song. Two weeks later the bands played a show at Renee’s house which was recorded by Elling Lien from Unpossible.

Renee and Unpossible are collaborating to put together another Band Off and everyone is invited. Names will be drawn on May 13th, 2016 at a potluck at Eastern Edge Gallery.
Follow the link for more information about the next Band Off:

At the beginning and end of this episode you hear the band Uptight, featuring Jess Barry, Catherine Roberge, Colin Moore and Robin Follett, playing the Band Off show.

Here are links to the full Band Off set:…Kzg4W8_NkzwZ7AFpL…Kzg4W8_NkzwZ7AFpL…kzwZ7AFpL&index=3

Photo by Noah Bender, you can see more of his photos here:–

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By Posted on: Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

SJIWFF Podcast : Daze Jefferies on Found Poetry, Experimental Music and Trans Narratives

I spoke to Daze Jefferies about her found poetry, experimental music and visual art.
Daze also talked about how feminism infiltrates every aspect of her life, how despite the diverse range of trans experiences certain types of trans narratives are more visible than others and the importance of creating a queer and trans archive in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Follow the link to read Daze’s Poetry:




Image by Daze Jefferies.
Intro music is a sample of “Yours for a While” by PMS & The Mood Swings.

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By Posted on: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

SJIWFF Podcast: Heather Jarvis and Laura Winters on The Safe Harbour Outreach Project

I spoke to Heather Jarvis and Laura Winters about the Safe Harbour Outreach Project and issues that effect sex workers in Newfoundland.

We talked about the difference between sex work and sex trafficking and the danger of conflating the two, as well as some of the ways that stigma around sex work is perpetuated and the diverse ways it impacts people’s lives in our province. Heather and Laura also unpacked laws around sex work in Canada and explained why we need to advocate for a legal system that focuses on harm reduction.

Follow the link to learn more about The Safe Harbour Outreach Program:

You might also want to check out this post on the St. John’s Status of Women’s Council blog which covers a lot of related material:…ghts-app


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