In April of 2021, Chloé Zhao made history as the first woman of color to win the Oscar for best director in the 93-year history of the Academy Awards. She was the second woman ever to achieve this honor.
We are delighted that 2023 brought even more impressive strides for women filmmakers. While these events are encouraging, there still exists chronic underrepresentation of women and people of color in this industry…and great enthusiasm for festivals such as ours which work toward change.
We discovered this enthusiasm in 2014. What began as an idea for a student club event at a local college transformed into a fully-realized film festival when we received 730 submissions from around the world. Nevada Women’s Film Festival was born in March 2015 in honor of Women’s History month, and we’ve never looked back!
For nearly a decade now, NWFFest has been deeply involved in the conversation of equity and inclusion by providing a platform for women and historically marginalized voices. Yet even with the years of consciousness-raising and the slow awakening of the industry to its failures, we know there is still much progress to be made.
At NWFFest, our mission is to celebrate and support the fair representation of women in film. We showcase films with a strong and diverse female presence, women at the helm, and stories which depict a variety of worldview, background and experience.
Our programming does include films not directed by women, but they must feature compelling, complex female characters or subjects (positive representation). Think of the tried and true Bechdel Test. What was the last movie you’ve seen? With any luck, it may have featured one or two strong female leads (super heroes not required). But to pass the test, a work of fiction must have:
As we now know, incredibly, very few films can pass this simple test. Most of us have grown up in a society where this imbalance is the historical norm, and we are desensitized to it. This discrimination is deep-seated and systemic, especially for women of color and the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite the challenges, women of all backgrounds continue to make great films.
We believe that change begins by awareness. At NWFFest we come together each year to be entertained, inspired and enlightened by some of the most talented and creative women in the world.
Please celebrate with us and join the conversation. We hope to see you this summer!
Nevada Women’s Film Festival is a project of Women in Film (WIF) Nevada, a 501(c)(3) organization.