Each edition Cinema Femme Magazine was dedicated to women’s film, featuring interviews with directors and film critiques written by women around the world. “After the first few episodes, I started getting messages from a lot of women on social media thanking me for posting interviews, thanking me for the opportunity to learn from female directors,” says Martin.
The positive response reflected the need for community and educational resources, inspiring Martin to launch the Cinema Femme short film festival to further support emerging women and non-binary filmmakers. For the third year now, the festival has offered the Breaking Down Walls mentorship program as the grand prize given to participating filmmakers.
At the culmination of the four-day festival, a group of acclaimed directors select their personal wards from the festival showcase. “Enabling mentors to individually select their mentees based on shared thematic interests provides a richer experience for both parties,” says Martin.
Mentorship is a six-month commitment that mentors and mentees fulfill on their own terms, with the requirement that they meet for one hour each month to establish a working relationship. “All the chosen mentors are committed to supporting emerging artists,” says Martin. “Mentors are selected based on their demonstrated passion for elevating women, non-binary or underrepresented voices in the industry, or their work on screen, or how they work on their sets,” she explains.
Mentors help their mentees develop their current project, develop skills and expand their network; In 2020, director Laura Moss mentored writer/director Gabriela Ortega as she worked on her short film Ouella, which screened at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is currently being processed into a feature film.
This year’s Cinema Femme Short Film Festival will feature 23 short films on a variety of topics, including the story of two stoner witches seeking revenge, a rogue AI-powered virtual assistant, and a father who must place his daughter in foster care. Little. Each block of short films will be followed by live Q&A with a celebrity or non-binary director.