The 34th annual St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF) and Film Industry Forum is back! October 17th to 23rd.

The five-day Festival will be held in the downtown core of St. John’s, with screenings and celebrations at the newly renovated Majestic Theatre and Industry events at the Alt Hotel.

This year’s 7 incredible features and 33 short films by women and gender-diverse filmmakers spans 11 counties, with 9 films produced here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Viewers will come together in the theatre for the first fully in-person Festival since 2019 to experience these diverse and multifaceted stories.

Opening the Festival this year is Party Pirate, a hilarious feature by award-winning force Ruth Lawrence, joined by her son, Luke Lawrence, who plays the lead and debuts as a screenwriter. Cast includes Patricia Andrews, Joel Thomas Hynes, Mary Walsh, Che Durena and Sima Sepehri, who joins the lovable loser Tommy in this outrageous romp about learning to fight your own battles and revelling in what makes you unique.

RBC Closing Night showcases Fawzia Mirza’s colourful debut The Queen of My Dreams, a Bollywood-inspired feature that spans generations and countries. When Azra’s father suddenly dies on a trip home to Pakistan, she finds herself being asked to play the role of perfect daughter. As we move back and forth from her mother’s youth in Karachi to her own coming-of-age in rural Nova Scotia, similarities between two lives are revealed.

Poster Child, a short by local filmmaker Brianna Russell, will also premiere at Closing Night. Brianna is the 2022 recipient of the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award.

The CBC Friday Feature COVEN is the newest offering from filmmaker Ramu Rau. The documentary follows three millennial women as they explore what it means to be a modern day witch.

A highlight of this year’s lineup is Chloé Robichaud feature Days of Happiness (Les jours heureux). This story of a queer orchestra conductor navigating her rising acclaim and complicated relationships has been met with enthusiastic reviews.

This year’s lineup inspires empathy and connection with incredible stories from our province, Canada and around the world. In what has been dubbed the year of Barbie, we are especially excited to feature Black Barbie, a lively personal exploration of longtime Mattel employee Beulah Mae Mitchell who changed the world with one question: “why not make a Barbie that looks like me?”

Join us at The Rooms for Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun, a fearless story about Indian Relay, a sport for the truly brave that involves vaulting from horse to horse. Or come see Backspot, the highly-anticipated film from D.W. Waterson about an elite cheerleading squad, starring Devery Jacobs from Reservation Dogs (both are attending).

Four short film programs will offer audiences an array of masterful storytelling, as seen in our local shorts. Holly Anderson’s documentary Hebron Relocation explores home and community through generations of displaced Labrador Inuit. Amanda Bulman brings us Lessons from the Loom, chronicling one woman’s quest to revive the craft of weaving in the province. Stacey Gardner’s film The Gaze shows us the world through the eyes of a Korean artist living in Newfoundland.

Bravery and compassion lead in many of the films this year. September 7th, 2012 follows filmmaker Ashley MacDonald as she embarks on a journey to create new meaning for a day marked by a traumatic experience. Miss Campbell: Inuk Teacher tells the story of Evelyn Campbell, a trailblazer for an Inuit-led educational system in the small community of Rigolet, Labrador. Mallory Clarke’s First Position shows a night of ordinary courage as a person contemplates changing her life after running into an ex. Nicola Hawkins’ Scored By Time is a captivating portrait of an older woman in 19th century Europe.

Concurrent with the Festival is the five-day Film Industry Forum, bringing industry luminaries together here in St. John’s for a dynamic lineup of candid panels, one-on-one pitch sessions and project consultations, engaging artist talks, and welcoming networking events.

Find our full lineup and ticket information at

2023 SJWIFF Schedule graphic

Start Date

Oct 22, 2023

View Event Website
Facebook icon Facebook icon Facebook icon