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 with a bold vision of supporting and promoting the creative work of women in screen-based industries from around the world, the Festival has grown from a single evening of screenings to the province’s flagship film festival. Operating year-round, the SJIWFF is known for a diverse program of independent film screenings, high-calibre workshops and masterclasses, international film forums, hands-on youth filmmaking camps, career-accelerating mentorship programs and of course, advocacy work in the movement for gender diversity in our industry.
Every year the Festival receives over 600 film submissions and from those we present a powerful program of international documentaries, short films and feature works for the signature five-day annual Festival. Respected nationally and internationally, the SJIWFF will celebrate its 30th annual Festival October 16-20, 2019 in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.
Festival week also features the 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.
Offer outreach programs, aimed at supporting local emerging filmmakers and growing local film audiences.
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.
Our mission is to increase the awareness of women’s contributions to the film, television and interactive industries, and to provide integral services to these local industries. This includes training young and emerging filmmakers, as well as providing professional development opportunities to our more senior filmmakers, producers and creators. We aim to entertain audiences with a wide variety of engaging, thought-provoking, multi-genre films from here and from around the world, and to showcase St. John’s and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on an international stage.
In February of 2019, USA Today named us as one of the Top Ten Film Festivals Worth Travelling For. The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council named the Festival as the 2018 Hall Of Honour Inductee, in recognition of a distinguished lifetime contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador. We’ve been recognized by readers of The Overcast, St. John’s cultural newspaper, in their 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 (2015-2018) 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."