The grassroots women-in-film initiative Women’s Weekend Film Challenge (WWFC) is set to host its fifth edition today, August 11, through August 14 in New York City. The challenge will see 180 professional filmmakers joining forces to create six short films.
Founded in 2017 by Katrina Medoff and Tracy Sayre, the initiative aims to address the lack of women and non-binary people behind the camera and on screen through a variety of programs. Besides its signature film challenge, an inaugural pilot accelerator program was also launched last year.
According to a press release, this weekend will see the challenge return for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic shut down film productions across the globe in 2020.
This year’s 180 participants are assigned to six teams created by WWFC, who will each have to write, shoot, and edit a film in just 84 hours — at noon today, August 11, organizers selected a genre for each team, and announced a prop that all films must incorporate. Scripts are to be written today, filmed on Friday and Saturday, and then the participants will have until Sunday, August 14, at 11:59 p.m. to submit their completed shorts.
Said Sayre, “our community was really hungry for this opportunity after COVID shut down production. This is our first in-person program after the pandemic hit, and the record-breaking number of submissions we received showed how much interest there is in networking with a diverse group of women and non-binary filmmakers.” Nearly 600 people applied to fill every role of production this year.
An alumna of the 2019 challenge as an actor, Kareema Bee applied again following a positive experience the first time. Now a producer in charge of one of the teams, Bee said: “The Women’s Weekend Film Challenge helped me to stretch artistically and find community with other artists. I’m looking forward to leading an incredible cast and crew this year to get to the finish line with a short film.”
The completed films will enjoy a premiere screening hosted by WWFC in late August, providing the participants an opportunity for further networking.
“This is a unique opportunity for our filmmakers to not only exponentially grow their networks and build their portfolios, but also to see their work on screen just weeks after they created it,” explained Medoff. “At our screenings, our participants greet each other like old friends. When you work ‘in the trenches’ with a crew on such a tight deadline, it creates such a lasting bond.”