The CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival (CASCADIA for short) is a 501© (3) nonprofit based in Bellingham, Washington. It was founded in 2015, following a successful collaboration with Toronto’s Female Eye Film Festival to present eight documentary films directed by women at “Doctober,” a month-long event held every October at the Pickford Film Center in downtown Bellingham, WA. Five women filmmakers and the FeFF artistic director participated in a Directors’ Panel, hosted by Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts. The event was well-attended by the local film community, students, and members of the public.
CASCADIA sponsored a new program of documentary films and workshops at the Pickford’s 2016 “Doctober” film festival. Included were an evening kick-off party and two days of films and networking events. That effort was repeated in 2017 with additional sold-out screenings.
Following that success, CASCADIA debuted its own independent film festival April 20-23, 2017 with a curated program of 24 films from around the world produced and directed by women. A second successful film festival was held April 12-15, 2018. CASCADIA also hosted educational events to assist aspiring and working directors. Board Members and volunteers are working to grow CASCADIA’s donor base and fundraising efforts to cover the costs of the additional educational programs and a 2019 festival.
In addition to showcasing the work of female directors and producers, CASCADIA seeks to:
- Educate audiences and the community by partnering with local businesses, Western Washington University, and arts organizations to sponsor forums, workshops, special film showings, and related events, in addition to year-round education programs for filmmakers.
- Promote Bellingham, Whatcom County and the region as a destination for filmmakers and for film enthusiasts to enjoy the area’s many amenities while attending the festival.
Recent Media Releases
2021 Festival Dates Announced April 1, 2021
CASCADIA 2019 Film Selections March 15, 2019
An Evening With Freida Lee Mock *updated* March 16, 2019
In The News
“Film Festival Abound This Summer Around Seattle,” The Seattle Times, 5/3/23
“Things To Do In Washington State In May,” Seattle Met, 5/1/2023
“Local festivals, theaters–and movie goers–boost independent films,” Salish Current, 11/13/23
“CASCADIA Interntional Women’s Film Festival,” Bellingham Alive, 5/25/2023
“Oscar-winning director joins CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival,” Cascadia Daily News, 4/27/2023
“CASCADIA Offers Online Festival,” The Northern Light, 5/10/23
“Lights, camera, action: Celebrating female film directors in Bellingham,” The Western Front, 5/24/22
“Daughter of a Lost Bird: Reconnecting to Lummi heritage,” The Northern Light, 5/04/22
“Daughter Of A Lost Bird: Arts & Entertainment Spotlight,” KMRE’s Arts & Entertainment Spotlight with Margaret Bikman, 5/10/22
“CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival announces 2022 Festival Dates,” The Northern Light, 4/06/2022
“CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival submissions due Nov. 20,” The San Juan Islander, 8/22/2021
“Top 30 Things To Do This Weekend,” The Stranger, 5/2020
“Women’s Film Festival To Take Place Online May 14-17,” The Northern Light, 5/2020
“Work Ethic In Filmmaking,“ Art Voice, 4/2020
“Whatcom Arts Project: That’s Entertainment,” Cascadia Weekly, 4/2020
“Crowd Control: An Audience Alert,” Cascadia Weekly, 3/2020
“CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Gears Up For Fourth Year,” The Northern Light newspaper, 2/2020
“These events around Washington state have been cancelled or postponed by coronavirus,” Bellingham Herald, 3/2020
LISTEN: Interview With Mel Damski and Audrey Sager on “Let Me Think About That” KMRE FM Bellingham, 7/2019
LISTEN: Interview With Executive Director Cheryl Crooks on “Into The Arts,” KPNW Webcast Radio, 3/2019
After Hours: CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival (p. 61) Business Pulse, 3/11/19
The Best Film Releases & Festivals in Seattle: Spring 2019, The Stranger, 3/14/19
What To Do In And Around Bellingham, Whatcom Talk 3/5/19
Out & About, Skagit Valley Herald 3/7/19
Film Festival Review: The 2018 Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival, Pacific Northwest Media Research Consortium
A Weekend of Women in Film, The Western Front, 4/18/18
Don’t Miss This Years CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival in Bellingham, at Culture Trip, 4/12/18
CASCADIA Women’s Film Fest Returns in Bellingham Alive, 4/1/18
Sheila and Bob Goodwin: Bringing International Film Talent to Bellingham, Southside Living Magazine, 4/1/18
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Celebrates Films Directed by Women, WhatcomTalk, 3/13/18
Enjoy Whatcom County Film Festivals All Year Long, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blog, 1/22/18
Cheryl Crooks and Hot Dam Scandal, Bellingham Art Beat, 12/4/17
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Presents Big Sonia and Letters from Baghdad, The Stranger, 10/14/2017
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Open Submissions for Women-Directed Films, Tacoma Daily Index, 10/2/17
Film Screening: “Megan Leavey” to Benefit CASCADIA Film Festival, DirectedbyWomen.com, 9/9/2017
‘Megan Leavey’ Special Screening and Fundraiser, GeekWire, 9/9/17
Bellingham Hosts Their First Women’s Film Festival, The Horizon, 5/2/17
Earth Day, “Dirty” Dan Harris and Trivia Bee Among Weekend Options, Bellingham Herald, 4/19/17
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Launches, Wilde World Communications Blog, 4/18/17
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Launches in Bellingham in April, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blog, 4/3/2017
Behind the Olympia Curtain–April 2017, Keep Film in Washington, 4/1/17
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Opens April 20, WhatcomTalk.com, 3/14/17
Nowra Christian School student’s short film chosen to feature in Washington, North Coast Register, 3/1/17
A Soft Spot in My Heart for Independent Film, My Wilde World, 2/12/17
Sail Into Spring with Independent Film in Whatcom County, WhatcomTalk.com, 2/11/17
Enjoy Independent Film All Year Long with Pickford Film Center, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blog, 12/20/16
Female Directors to be Celebrated at Pickford Film Center, The Western Front, 10/28/16
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Selects Programming Director, Bellingham Business Journal, 10/6/2016
- CASCADIA founders believe that an essential perspective on humanity and life itself is missing when women’s voices are not heard.
- Women are grossly underrepresented in behind-the-camera roles in film and television.
- A 2017 study by the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Communications and Journalism School, “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair?” evaluated 1000 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2016. Out of 1,114 directors, only 4% were female.
- In a 2016 report, the USC researchers found that women directed only 3.4 percent of all films, 17.1 percent of TV and digital broadcasts, and 11.8 percent of streamed productions. Only 30% of speaking characters in top-grossing films were women.
- According to a 2014 report produced by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, of 700 top-grossing fictional films produced from 2007 to 2014, only 24 were directed by women. Women had leading roles in only 20% of the top 100 films and only 2% of those films featured non-white women in leading roles.
- Women make up nearly half of all film school graduates, according to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. But for most grads, this education does not translate into a visible film career that matches that of their male counterparts.
- Despite these statistics, it’s important to remember that women are not absent from filmmaking. Women are making documentaries and narratives, shorts and features, web series and TV shows. They do face significant challenges with regards to financing, opportunity, visibility, and legitimacy when producing and distributing their films. Yet women work through many of these obstacles in spite of them, and they create amazing work. CASCADIA is committed to supporting and showcasing this work.