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.

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. 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 2018 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.


  • 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.


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