Hundreds of pro filmmakers will join forces in New York City this summer to create six short films, as part of the fifth Women’s Weekend Film Challenge.
A grassroots initiative founded in 2017 by filmmakers Katrina Medoff and Tracy Sayre, WWFC aims to address the lack of women and nonbinary people behind the camera and on screen through a variety of programs, including its signature film challenge, which places creatives on teams to write, shoot and edit a short in just one weekend. This year’s challenge set for August will be the first to take place in-person since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.
Film creatives of all kinds can apply for the challenge for free at this link, between June 1 and June 27. Participation is also free of charge. Organizers are expecting to select around 200 participants from a pool of more than 1,000 applications, with the help of guest judges including cinematographers Nancy Schreiber, ASC, and Carmen Cabana; casting director Adrienne Stern; and filmmakers Anna Sang Park, Annie Sundberg, Danielle Eliska and Mahak Jiwani. Top-of-the-line equipment, software, production insurance, production stipends and film festival submission stipends will be provided to participants, courtesy of WWFC and its sponsors, including Zeiss, Sony, ARRI, Cinelease, Gotham Sound, Casting Networks and Final Draft.
Teams will link up for a pre-production meeting at CarStage in Long Island City in early August, with the challenge kicking off on August 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 their completed film.
“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,” said Sayre. “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.”
“While progress has been made to combat gender imbalance in the film industry, more work must be done to achieve equity,” added Medoff. “Participants will finish the weekend not only with a highly professional short film but also with a broad network of motivated, talented women.”
Since its first challenge in January 2018, WWFC has worked with more than 700 women to produce 30 short films, which have been accepted to more than 90 film festivals. WWFC will host a premiere screening of this year’s completed shorts at Village East in Manhattan in late August—inviting participants to network with each other, as well as other industry members at their afterparty.