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Film Festivals

Ten Years of The Socially Relevant Film Festival

The Socially Relevant Film Festival
(SRFF) is now in its tenth year of cinema and documentaries with a message. Running March 16 to the 31st, SRFF features filmmakers and stories from around the world with over 70 films from 23 countries. SRFF’s mission is to shine the spotlight on filmmakers who tell compelling, socially relevant, human interest stories across a broad range of social issues without resorting to gratuitous violence or violent forms of filmmaking.

The festival opens March 16 at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater with the documentary Shabu and feature Tnaash. Directed by Shamira Raphaëla, Shabu is a documentary from The Netherlands, follows a teenager from Rotterdam who must pay back the repairs for a trashed car over the course of one summer while also pursuing his musical passion. Tnaash, directed by Boudy Sfeir, is set in the aftermath of the August 4th Beirut Port explosion where Lebanon’s first trial by jury must decide the fate of an illegal Syrian refugee accused of brutally killing a social activist known for helping the damaged community after the blast. Other films include the New York premiere of Only Child in which a 60-year-old adoptee from Dublin navigates the misogynistic landscape of Ireland's past in a relentless search to find her birth mother with only her name and town of birth known.

Along with its extensive features block is six thematically divided short film blocks: Family and Adoption, Home and Health, Climate Change, LGBTQ, and BIPOC Films. SRFF will also include Q&As, Happy Hours, Workshops, Staged readings of scripts, and an Award Ceremony to recognize the work of the talented filmmakers that the jury will pick.

To learn more, go to:

Socially Relevant Film Festival
March 16 - 31, 2023

Various Locations in NYC and Online

2023 Annual Athena Film Festival: Feminist Cinema Takes the Stage

Judy Blume Forever 

Running in person March 2 - 5 at Barnard College is the 13th Annual Athena Film Festival. Centered around women in leadership, the festival includes film screenings, in-depth panel discussions and  live talks with filmmakers and industry experts, and special events in addition to shorts, feature films, and documentaries.

The festival’s centerpiece film running on March 4th is Judy Blume Forever, directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, is a documentary on one of the most beloved and banned  authors in the United States.

Other films include the New York premiere of The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears and written by Steve Coogan and Jeff PopeDaughter of Rage (La hija de todas las rabias), written and directed by Laura Baumeister de Montis, as well as screenings of The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears, Angry Annie (Annie Colère), directed by Blandine Lenoir, and My Emptiness And I (Mi vacío y yo), directed by Adrián Silvestre. The festival will also screen Women Talking, directed by Sarah Polley, which is nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

“Entering the 13th year of the Athena Film Festival I could not feel more proud of the unique and exciting slate of films we are sharing with our audiences this year. We look forward to bringing these important and underrepresented voices to the big screen,” said Melissa Silverstein, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of AFF and Founder of Women and Hollywood.

“The narratives we see shape our understanding of the world,” said Umbeen Bhatti, Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership. “At the Athena Film Festival, audiences won’t encounter tired, outdated narratives, but rather, narratives that more accurately reflect the world we live in and the future we want to build.”

To learn more, go to:

Athena Film Festival
March 2 - 5, 2023

Barnard College

Winter Film Awards International Film Festival: Cinema Around the World On the Lower East Side


Featuring voices and visions from around the world, The Winter Film Awards International Film Festival is back from February 15th to the 25th. Running at Cinema Village (22 E 12th St, New York, NY) and NY Film Academy (17 Battery Pl), the Festival’s lineup includes 73 films from around the world from first-timers and seasoned directors alike. With works including animation, documentaries, comedies, romances, dramas, horror, music videos and web series, the WFA International Film Festival emphasizes diversity of voices, actors, and subject matter.

Cinema Village will feature several special blocks of films:

  • Documentary Day – Saturday February 18th 12pm-11pm. All documentaries, all day!

  • Bloody Sunday Horror Day – February 19th 4:30pm-11pm. Eleven frightening films from around the world!

  • Weekday Matinee Shorts Screenings – February 20-23 afternoon.  Animation, Made in NY, Documentaries and Horror

Films include 10:35, directed by Alan Sánchez and Isabel Reyes. After the death of his mother, Nico is in a crematorium waiting for her ashes. Nico begins working on an experiment with a virtual reality glasses to travel to a parallel universe and see his mother once again. Just like an hourglass, Nico will depend on the last grain of sand to accomplish his purpose.

ŁOBYRA, directed by Natalie Plaskura, is a chapter of an ongoing gloomy tale about the rise of the grouse king. It tells of strange looming figures, who emerged under unknown circumstances, not revealing if their intentions are good or evil. Seemingly attracted by an invisible calling, they are steering towards the summit of a mountain and summon something, which was put to sleep for a long time.

Miss Viborg, a feature directed by Marianne Blicher, follows a former beauty queen and senior citizen Solvej living in a social housing area on the outskirts of Danish provincial town Viborg. Each day, she performs the same old routines roaming around on her scooter dealing her prescription drugs, dreaming of a world outside Viborg and reminiscing over old love letters from her past. When unforeseen circumstances bring her neighbour’s daughter, rebellious 17-year-old Kate into her life, an unlikely friendship forms and new hope for the future emerges.

The festival will also feature evening Education Sessions that are free to the public. These discussions and lectures cover everything from filmmaking on a budget and legal issues for film makers, to elevating trans voices in cinema.

To learn more, go to:

Winter Film Awards International Film Festival
February 16 - 25, 2023

Various Locations in NYC

2023 New York International Children’s Film Festival: Tales of Joy, Bravery & Growth


New York’s premiere fest for children of all ages, the New York International Children’s Film Festival, is back again, running March 3 to the 19th. Held at theaters across NYC (SVA Theatre, Film Forum, DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema, Scandinavia House, Sag Harbor Cinema, and Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn), the festival has been bringing quality and thought provoking films for younger movie goers since 1997. This year’s festival includes films from the US, Japan, Colombia, South Korea, France, Canada, Netherlands and more.

The festival features an extensive slate of animated films, including shorts such as Fur, directed by Madeleine Homan, in which a girl attempts to understand and comfort her sister after gray fur covers her body, making her feel miles away even as they sit right next to each other. For fans of vintage animation there’s 1972’s Panda! Go Panda!, directed by the legendary Isao Takahata (Only Yesterday, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya).

Also included are live action films and shorts such as Okthanksbye, directed by Nicole van Kilsdonk, a coming of age story in which two girls —one with a cochlear implant and one without—, make a trek by themselves across the French countryside to visit a hospitalized grandmother. In Totem, directed by Sander Burger, eleven-year-old Ama loves the water, and not only because she’s surrounded by the Rotterdam waterfront. She’s also a passionate swimmer, spending every spare minute in the pool training for the upcoming championships with her best friend, Thijs. Though she’s the daughter of Senegalese asylum-seekers, Ama feels Dutch, through and through. So it’s all the more unthinkable when her family members are unexpectedly detained, leaving Ama to find a solution. Harnessing the focus she learned in swim training and armed with the wisdom of her mother’s tales of their homeland, she must forge a path of her own. Fortunately, a gigantic spirit animal rooted in Senegalese tradition might just be of service.

The festival continues its annual Industry Forum “Toward an Inclusive Future,” which brings together creators at all stages of their careers to discuss children’s media on all sides of the camera. New this year is “NYICFF in Your Neighborhood,” free presentations of a NYICFF short film program for ages 3-8 taking place at venues citywide.

To learn more, go to:

New York International Children’s Film Festival
March 3 - 19, 2023

Various venues in NYC

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