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Applications for Women’s Weekend Film Challenge Are Open

Women's Weekend Film Challenge
(Image credit: Women's Weekend Film Challenge)

NEW YORK—Applications are now open for the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge (WWFC), the organization’s fifth film challenge, and the first since the pandemic forced productions across the country to shut down. 

To date, WWFC has held four film challenges — three in NYC and one in LA — and worked with more than 700 female filmmakers to produce 30 short films that have been screened at more than 90 film festivals.

The WWFC was set up as part of a grassroots initiative founded in 2017 by filmmakers Katrina Medoff and Tracy Sayre. It aims to address the lack of women and nonbinary people behind the camera and on screen through a variety of programs, including the signature film challenge. 

The group will be working with approximately 200 women and nonbinary filmmakers to produce six films in one weekend. Applications for those hoping to participate are open until June 27. 

“We are so excited to once again be hosting the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge to provide a diverse group of talented filmmakers with the opportunity to tell their stories on screen,” Sayre said. “Many creative relationships have been fostered through our four previous challenges, and the results — 30 expertly crafted short films — prove there is no shortage of skilled women in every role of production.”

This summer, women and nonbinary filmmakers will be placed on teams to write, shoot and edit a short film in just one weekend. 

It’s free to apply to and participate in the challenge, and the organization provides top-of-the-line equipment, workshops and more. Organizers are expecting more than 1,000 applications and will select about 200 participants. 

The challenge weekend will take place Aug. 11-14. Filmmakers in every role of production — from gaffers and sound mixers to writers and actors — can apply between June 1 and 27 to participate in the challenge. WWFC enlists the help of guest judges to thoroughly review each application. 

This year’s judges include cinematographers Nancy Schreiber, ASC, and Carmen Cabana; casting director Adrienne Stern; and filmmakers Anna Sang Park, Annie Sundberg, Danielle Eliska and Mahak Jiwani. WWFC then places accepted individuals onto crews in order to ensure that each team has the talent necessary to make a stellar short film.

Top-of-the-line equipment, software, production insurance, production stipends and film festival submission stipends are provided courtesy of WWFC and its sponsors, including Zeiss, Sony, ARRI, Cinelease, Gotham Sound, Casting Networks and Final Draft.

Participants will meet their fellow crew members for the first time during a pre-production meeting at CarStage in Long Island City in early August. The film challenge kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 11, when organizers will pick a genre out of a hat for each team and announce a prop that all films must incorporate. Teams will begin writing their scripts that evening and will have until Sunday, Aug. 14, at 11:59 p.m. to submit the completed film.

“While progress has been made to combat gender imbalance in the film industry, more work must be done to achieve equity,” Medoff said. “Participants will finish the weekend not only with a highly professional short film but also with a broad network of motivated, talented women.”

WWFC will host a premiere screening of the films in late August at Village East in Manhattan. Participants will network with each other and other industry members at an afterparty.

More information is available at womensweekendfilmchallenge.com (opens in new tab)

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.