CASCADIA Laurel

CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival will present these exceptional films directed by women from around the world on April 25-28, 2024 at the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham, WA and online May 2-12, 2024.

2024 Festival Selections

2024 FEATURED DIRECTOR JULES ARITA KOOSTACHIN

Poster for Bones of Crows<br />
INDIGENOUS DIRECTOR
U.S. PREMIERE

WaaPaKe (Tomorrow)

JULES ARITA KOOSTACHIN / CANADA
SPONSORED BY  IMCO CONSTRUCTION
RUN TIME: 80 minutes 

For generations, the suffering of residential school Survivors has radiated outward, impacting Indigenous families and communities. Children, parents and grandparents have contended with the unspoken trauma, manifested in the lingering effects of colonialism: addiction, emotional abuse and broken relationships.

In her efforts to help the children of Survivors, including herself and her family, Koostachin makes the difficult decision to step in front of the camera and participate in the circle of truth. She is joined in this courageous act of solidarity by members of her immediate family, as well as an array of voices from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.

Moving beyond burying intergenerational trauma, WaaPaKe (Tomorrow) is an invitation to unravel the tangled threads of silence and unite in collective freedom and power.

Short Films

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

BLOOD LIKE WATER

Dima Hamdan / Palestine
Sponsored by Greenwood Cider Co.

When Shadi embarks on a secret adventure, he accidentally drags his proud Palestinian family into a trap where they only have two choices; either collaborate with the Israeli occupation, or be shamed and humiliated by their community.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

BODILY RENAISSANCE

Claudia Lee / UK
Sponsored by Pandora Larner

An experimental poem-short exploring one woman’s journey with body image and dysmorphia. The protagonist’s dark struggle with self-loathing from societal pressures transforms, showcasing the power of rejecting external expectations in place of radical self-acceptance, through the lens of Renaissance women’s forms.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

CALL OF THE ORCAS

Jessica Plumb / USA
Sponsored by Mary O’Connell
& John O’Connell

Through the eyes of one of their human champions, researcher Ken Balcomb, “Call of the Orcas” explores the urgent effort to recover endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales of the Pacific Northwest. The story encompasses many perspectives on the unique orca culture of the Pacific Northwest, from an indigenous experience of orcas as family to the lifelong commitment of Canadian researcher Dr. John Ford.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

CHOICES

Kameishia D Wooten / USA
SPONSORED BY AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN WHATCOM

Hidden away under the bleachers at school, free-spirited Aisha gives a pregnancy test to Jessica, a cheerleader and prom queen contender, who’s terrified of what the results might mean. They are joined by their childhood friend Portia who has made her own decisions about motherhood. The three reconnect over their circumstances and celebrate all of life’s choices.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

EVANESCENCE

Maaman Rezae / USA
Sponsored by Kenneth Fulton

A Navajo teenager travels alone, searching for her missing sister. On the road, she meets a single parent and his infant who have fled home. Together they form a bond, ephemeral as it may be, and search for her sister.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

FOR ROY

Vivian Cheung / Canada
Sponsored by Ken Sager of Austin Burke, Miami

An imaginative Asian-Canadian girl attempts to fold a thousand cranes as she faces the loss of her father during his final days in the hospice.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

HAMSTER

Fatima Nofely / Iran
Sponsored by TRUE NORTH LEGAL SERVICES

A party with friends turns out to be a tragic event the next morning, one that will change the lives of Mahi and Pouya.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

HEMORRHAGE

Ruth Hayes / USA

A work of agitprop against the end of Roe v. Wade and the evisceration of women’s right to choose

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel
NOTED DIRECTOR

LA RUSE

Johanne Prégent / Canada
Sponsored By CINDY FRANKLIN & JONATHAN FRANKLIN

Clara, a 14-year-old, eats her lunch every day hidden away in the school bathroom. When 12-year-old Felix stumbles into HER room also looking for a place to hide, the hunted teens find themselves in forced isolation. In a brave mix of improvisation, sincerity and sensitivity, they devise a strategy to change their fates.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

MÅNGATA

Maja Costa / Germany
Sponsored By Chrysalis Inn & Spa

Mångata is a reflection of the Moon’s light on a water surface which indicates the way to the Moon. This light also helps to rescue little Alya. She is the only one saved from a refugee boat that sunk in the Mediterranean. Many years later, as an astronaut on a pioneering mission, she will need this light again. Maja Costa takes the refugee subject, usually shown as a drama or bitter tragedy, into new territories. Under the attractive guise of science fiction she may concentrate not on what is going on nowadays but look into the future with hope and optimism challenging prejudice and stereotypes.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

MUSICA QUARANTENA

Lillian T. Mehrel / USA
Sponsored By HERON’S HAVEN

A little girl’s love for her bedridden Papa inspires a town in lockdown to make music that can be heard their windows.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

ROSES

Coral  Knights / U.K.

Rosa unexpectedly finds herself spending an evening out alone while her daughter throws an 18th birthday party in their house. She finds a woman and is drawn to her.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

SAMPO

Marziyeh Riahi / Iran
SPONSORED BY CAROL SNOWBALL

A little girl and her mother, a single worker, reside in a low-income area of Tehran, the capital of Iran. The girl constantly wishes her mother would find employment at the memorial service, where employers treat employees more kindly.

A SHATTERING

Jan Jalenak / USA
SPONSORED BY DEBORAH LOOBER
& JANE BURNS

A carefully constructed marriage implodes when an unexpected call unleashes a fragility and pain that have been simmering for years.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

SOL SUPERNOVA

Kimberly Mendiola & Alyssa Rodriguez / USA

After finding her best friend overdosed, punk rock musician V sets out to avenge the friend’s death. She convinces the rest of her band to help her find those responsible for selling drugs in their community, but then must decide between revenge and forgiveness

SPIT IT OUT

Melina Kiyomi Coumas / USA
SPONSORED BY WOMEN OF MOREY AVENUE

An experimental short exploring the filmmaker’s lifelong struggle with a speech impediment.

STITCHED

Lorena Lourenco / USA
SPONSORED BY WOMEN OF MOREY AVENUE

A South Asian diasporic woman, tired of dating people who can’t keep up with her mutable cultural identity, decides to “frankenstein” together the ideal partner.

[subtext]

Erin Brown Thomas / USA
SPONSORED BY GLENDA HENIFIN

Two people on a first date mask and ignore their insecurities until an event forces them to say what they’re really thinking.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

Vida

Maria Valdez / USA
Sponsored By JULIE FLEETWOOD
& JOHN BINNS

After a bloody civil war, women of color are captured and sterilized as a form of population control. Vida and a group of resistance fighters prepare  to escape, but suddenly one of their own is captured, and they’re forced to decide between saving themselves or saving her and risk being captured.

SPECIAL ENCORE SCREENING

Love Letters

Greta Schiller / USA

“Love Letters” follows the remarkable love story of Bellingham-born professor and feminist scholar Catharine R. Stimpson and Australian musicologist Elizabeth Wood, and includes the story of Wood’s landmark 1970s legal victory to gain custody of her children. Both women, now in their 80s, recall a time when the desire to live and love authentically was itself a radical act.

FEATURE FILMS

HONORED GUEST DIRECTOR

MISS YOU ALREADY

SPONSORED BY PAUL MCMULLEN

The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel
WASHINGTON STATE PREMIERE

LAST DANCE

Delphine Lehericey / Switzerland, Belgium
SPONSORED BY BARBARA vz HOWARD
RUN TIME: 84 minutes

When you make a pact with your wife, well, you must keep it. So, at the age of 75, Germaine steps in for his wife when she passes away. The thing is that she was in the middle of rehearsing with a dance troupe, something contemplative Germaine would never think of doing and so the stage is set for this quiet widower to find his groove. His family meanwhile soon becomes intrusive—scheduled visitations, meals, and phone calls—and Germaine decides to keep his dancing a secret as he wants to keep his independence going. Adding to his commitments is a young girl who needs tutoring, and they make a bargain to keep his secret while he does her homework. Life is funny as one discovers busy is better for a rich life.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel
WEST COAST PREMIERE

Preconceived

Sabrine Keane & Kate Dumke / U.S.
SPONSORED BY PLANNED PARENTHOOD
RUN TIME: 80 minutes (English)

Where does someone turn when facing an unplanned pregnancy? Preconceived tells the stories of Maleeha and Maria, two women who, while navigating unplanned pregnancies, inadvertently found themselves at facilities discouraging them from abortions. The film is a window into these enigmatic centers that some call “pregnancy resource centers” and others call “fake clinics.” Shedding light on how many of these centers are a part of a movement striving to make abortion unthinkable and illegal, the documentary explores the complex role of deception, finances, faith, and privacy. Amid a shifting legal landscape, Preconceived underscores the significance of understanding the resources available to pregnant people.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel

AMA GLORIA

Marie Amachoukeli / France
SPONSORED BY  MEGAN TAYLOR
& KEN STODDARD
RUN TIME: 84 minutes 

Six year old Cléo loves her nanny Gloria more than anything. When Gloria must suddenly return to Cape Verde to care for her own children, Cléo makes her promise that they will see each other very soon. Gloria invites Cléo to her island and the two must make the most of their last summer together.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel
WEST COAST PREMIERE

Cowboy & The Queen

Andrea Nevinse / U.S.
SPONSORED BY SHEILA GOODWIN
& ROBERT GOODWIN & KELLY STABLES
RUN TIME: 84 minutes (English)

When an old-time California rodeo cowboy discovers a way to train horses non-violently, he is rejected by the traditional horse industry, nearly losing his livelihood, until he meets a most unlikely fairy godmother, Queen Elizabeth II. She challenges him to prove his methods, and by winning her endorsement, she catapults him to world-wide fame. Monty Roberts’ reflections about why their experiences of World War II as children might have fomented a meeting of the minds at mid-life becomes a rumination on authoritarian norms, as well as on the cumulative effects of small acts of kindness on the greater world. Weaving present day footage, exquisite archival, and never-before-seen moments of Her Majesty found in Monty’s cluttered garage, The Cowboy and The Queen is the inspiring, cinematic origin story of a true horse whisperer and his magical, 30-year relationship with the longest reigning monarch.

2024 CASCADIA Official Film Selection Laurel
WASHINGTON STATE PREMIERE

POWER ALLEY

Lillah Halla / Brazil
SPONSORED BY WENDY BOHLKE
& BRIAN HANSEN
RUN TIME: 85 minutes (English)

Set in São Paulo, it follows Sofia, a spirited teen volleyball player from a modest background, whose life takes a dramatic turn when she faces an unwanted pregnancy. In a society marred by rigid conservatism and restrictive women’s rights, Sofia’s story becomes a fight for autonomy and identity.  She is surrounded by a supportive team, including trans and non-binary members making the film a vivid exploration of queer sisterhood and resilience against the odds.