Reel Importance

This Austin film festival puts the spotlight on girls and their stories

Austin film festival puts the spotlight on girls and their stories

Girls Impact the World Film festival
The festival awards more than $20,000 in cash prizes. Girls Impact the World Film Festival/Facebook

Returning to Austin for a second year in a row, Connecther's sixth annual Girls Impact the World Film Festival is one of "reel" importance. The festival, which features a full day of events, screenings, speakers, and an awards ceremony, shines a spotlight on girls and women around the world.

Since its inception, the film festival has provided a platform for artists often neglected by mainstream media: young women. The filmmakers, many of whom are still in high school, are uncovering untold stories in areas like education for girls, maternal health, self-image, girls in STEM, and violence against women. The goal, say organizers, is to channel social change through the power of filmmaking. 

"This comes at a very important time now that people are talking about the importance of women in film with the Time’s Up movement — and I’m looking forward to our audience being able to see what these filmmakers have to say," said Connecther Founder Lila Igram in a release. "As one of our finalist judges Zainab Salbi said, ‘Change simply starts with inspiration, and inspiration always starts with a story.’"

Held on April 7 at the Dell Fine Arts Center at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, the festival will feature screenings from 20 finalists — including five from Austin-based filmmakers. 

The local finalists include:

  • Mirage by Emily McClanahan
  • A Truth by Susannah Joffe
  • #MeToo by Ginger Rodriguez, Monserrat Torres, and Candace Castillo
  • Women and Men by Kevin Keelan
  • A World in Motion by An Nguyen, KhueTran and Makayla Moore

The finalists were selected from more than 200 entries, the most ever for the GITWFF.

Following the screenings, panelists will select the winners of more than $20,000 in prizes in categories including Most Innovative Film or Solution, Stand Up Men, and the People's Choice. The winning filmmaker will also take home a $5,000 grand prize. 

Additionally, special guest speakers including CNN's Zain Asher, Christine Minji Chang, Pamela Ribon, and Claudia Robaina will participate in thought-provoking panels analyzing women in both media and film. Other highlights of the festival include a red carpet awards ceremony, live performance by Ley Line, food trucks, and more. 

Tickets for the day-long festival range from $17.09 for student tickets to $106.37 for VIP. A list of purchase options is available here.