Auntyland Film Festival

2nd Annual Festival is open for Submissions through January ’23

The second annual AuntyLand Film Festival (ALFF) seeks film submissions now through January 2023. A Women’s History Month tradition, this hybrid Festival offers both digital and in-person film screenings on March 8, International Women’s Day, and runs through the end of March 2023.

“We’re back by popular demand for a second year. The maiden voyage success during the height of the Covid19 pandemic, award-winning films, plus a summer film fest that featured a student-curated program — proved that Auntyland carved a unique place in the film community. We’re ready to promote and support more independent, short films that intersect with diverse cultures, communities, comedy, romance, experimental, politics, features, and more,” said Sylvia Wong Lewis, Festival director.

Women and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color make up the majority of the world population. But our stories rarely take center stage. We hope to change that. ALFF is the only festival that centers on talented Elders, especially mature women actors, writers, directors, and producers. Aunties are Queens who bring realness to our lives. We welcome your bold real stories to the festival.

Important dates: Submission deadline – January 27, 2023; Notification Date, February 20, 2023; Event Dates March 8-31, 2023. Submit your films here:

Auntyland Film Festival (ALFF) brings diverse artists and audiences together to celebrate storytelling. Plan your Women’s History Month with us where we traditionally celebrate International Women’s Day, on March 8, and screen films through the end of March.

Related Link:

Auntyland Summer Film Festival runs from July 1-August 31, 2022.

Live Talkback

Three Films, Three Directors

July 27, 2022, 2 PM, EDT

Rain: Up Close – A Meditation, 0:03:21 minutes, by Louise Fleming

It’s the Fuller Brush Man, 0:47:00, by Craigh Barboza

CityBIRDS, 0:04:00 minutes, by Kristin Reiber Harris

Moderator: Pat Doyen

Production Manager: Jordan Baptiste

… Other Auntyland Summer Film Festival Specials

Student-curated showcase, Free Screening now through August 31, 2022

Yokelan, 66, 0:09:34, directed by Tang Yi

The Beauty President, 0:10:02, directed by Whitney Skauge

Lost Keys, 0:04:27, By Amanda Baraka

Friends Who Remember, 0:09:24, directed by Devon Blackwell

To the girl that looks like me, 0:05:09, directed by Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah

And Then She Kissed Me, 0:02:06, directed by Alexis Khodanian

The Elephant Gown, 0:07:34, directed by Rahiem Robinson

The Black Sheep, 00:26:42, directed by Ed Perkins

Seashells, 0:09:32, directed by Nathalie Christmas

To view films, click ‘Summer Festival’ here:

Thank you for attending our summer film festival!

Auntyland Film Festival is produced by Narrative Network and Auntyland and made possible by

private grants and generous donors via our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas at:

A special thank you goes to the Summer Festival Team 2022:

Jordan Baptise, Barnard College, Class of 2025

Isabel Aragon, Smith College, Class of ’24

Maryn Graskey, Smith College, Class of 2023.

Consultants: Gina Lamb and O.Funmilayo Makarah

2022 Award Winners at the 1st Annual Fest

The jury has deliberated and the audience has voted. AuntyLand Film Festival’s (ALFF) inaugural festival awards were announced recently. The award-winning filmmakers will each receive a cash prize.

“The top five Grand Jury Awards and top three Audience-Festival Favorite films were recognized for excellence in independent storytelling,” said Sylvia Wong Lewis, festival director.

“Bold, intersectional, and culture-focused stories prevailed across all categories. These awards recognize brilliant, visionary artists whose dynamic work will shift the culture and open new dialogues,” said Lewis.

The top five Grand Jury Award winners received the most combined judges’ and audience votes. The winners were: A Ring: A Short Film, directors Ray Martell Moore and Monique A. Robinson, Best Romance Film; Weep Not, directors, Lenora Thomas Douglas and Cheray O’Neal, Best Society Film; Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color, director, Cheri Gaulke, submitted by Jon Gann, Best Arts Film; City Trees, director, Kristin Reiber Harris, Best Environment & Animation Film; and Basurero, director, Eileen Cabiling, Best Global Film.

The top three Audience Awards also called ‘Festival Favorites’ received the most support from the public. The three films to receive the most love from the public were: Star Boy, directors Tilsa Wright, and Stephen Williamson, Best Romance Film; Carnival Queens, Tiffany Bradley, Best Culture Film; and United We Heal, Director, Ebony Roberts, Best Society Film.

To learn more, click here:


How to Fest at Auntyland’s First Film Festival!

Film Synopses & Blocks

Block 1: Arts, Society, Experimental

Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color. The first documentary to explore Alma Thomas’ life as a Black woman artist who re-started in her 60s, received national attention at 80, and whose work is now sought-after by collectors everywhere. Director, Cheri Gaulke. Submitted by Jon Gann. 20:00

Creole Love Call. An imaginative, joyful, short film that crafts home movie archival images from the Prelinger collection to celebrate women and girls, sisterhood, and friendship. This film was part of an open initiative by the Seven Tones Project for filmmakers and musicians to create short films based on Duke Ellington’s music. Director, Pat Doyen. 3:20.

Weep Not. Remembering an early childhood trauma after the death of her best friend and grandmother, Journey must make a decision before it’s too late. Director, Lenore Thomas Douglas. 13:07.

United We Heal. Through choreography and spoken word, anti-Black racism is explored and moves forward to Black joy, freedom, and triumph. Director, Ebony R. Roberts, Submitted by Short & Sweet Films. 13:46.

hold — fuel — when – burning. Magical in an experimental way. Urban sights and sounds filter through a window and fire escape on the Lower East Side of New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic’s first wave. Director, Danielle Chu. 10:42

Exhausted. An imaginative short film that captures how the whole is feeling right now. No matter your background you will feel the weight of targeted hate crimes as we watch an Asian woman tirelessly wipe off her makeup. Director, Tiffany Jiang. 2:26.

Haunted. A spooky walk in the woods with a howling wind explores the feeling of being haunted by people, places, and memories.  Danielle Vishlitzky. 3:11.

Block 2: Romance, Culture, & Comedy

A Ring: The Short Film. After a rocky relationship, a young Black couple meets to amicably call it quits. But a circular conversation evolves into how the mother and father got together is revealed. Director, Ray Martell Moore, Submitted by Monique A. Robinson. 12:28.

Star Boy. An animation film about a Caribbean love triangle between a star Cricket player, his wife, and his pregnant girlfriend. Co-Directors, Tilsa C. Wright and Stephen Williamson. 9:06.

Tell Me About Orange. A sweet coming-of-age story about a blind teenager who struggles to express his love for his best friend, a girl. Maybe love is truly blind. Director, Robin Noonan-Price. 6:43.

The Girl Next Door. A gifted harmonica player is trapped in a small town until a free-spirited singer moves next door. Will the prodigy choose music over holding her difficult family together?  Director, Donna Wheeler. 19:00.

Carnival Queens. A work-in-progress where Caribbean American women of all ages and sizes dance their determination at Brooklyn’s famed West Indian Day Parade. Director, Tiffany Bradley. Submitted by Colored Criticism. 10:14.

Steamed! A comedy tinged with wacky humor and horror. The directorial debut of Beverly Bonner, star of Frank Henenlotter’s “Basket Case” horror film series. STEAMED! follows Louise Campbell (played by Bonner), a take-no sh*t stand-up comedian who can stand toe-to-toe to any challenge—that is, except a green stalker with a LOT of balls. AND she can’t just laugh it off when the bodies start piling up around her. Submitted by Jacob Baron. 20:00.

Block 3: Global, Environment, Activism

Basurero. Based on a true story of a Filipino fisherman, an Inside look at the inhumane politics behind drug users, sellers, and the search for psychic and emotional value in the world. Director, Eileen Cabiling. 15:00.

One, if by land. Undocumented immigration journeys from Mexico, China, and Mozambique raise the question of impossible dreams. Nandini Sikand. 13:45

City Trees. An environmental love letter to the wonderful trees in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, NY. Director, Kristin Reiber Harris. 4:24.

The Healing Game Part 2.  Japan and Brooklyn’s children recover from two separate natural disasters – Japan’s Tsunami, 2011 and Brooklyn/New York City’s Hurricane Storm Sandy, 2012 because of the healing power of baseball. Directors, Vivian Lee and Sylvia Lewis. 9:00.  Submitted by Vivian Lee.

The Line. A queer woman of color experiences defining moments as she escorts patients through lines of angry protestors at a women’s health center that performs abortions. Director, Melisa Resch. 12:14.

Volunteer Teachers / Maestras Voluntarias Cuban Aunties recall their experiences as the first volunteer teachers in a pilot literacy campaign on this island nation. English subtitles. Director, Catherine Murphy. 17:36.

Film Festival Team, March 2022

We are so grateful to Shannon Joy Shird, who wore many hats to help us get the inaugural film festival to the finish line – Production Manager, Moderator, and Chief Troubleshooter.

SHANNON JOY SHIRD is a writer, producer, cultural curator, yoga instructor, and abolitionist. Shannon is born and raised in Baltimore City, MD. Westside to be specific.

While studying international affairs in New York, Shannon, naturally, realized she wanted to work in the arts. She has served as an outreach producer on the award-winning documentary films, Black and Cuba (2014), and COMPLICIT (2017). She also produced BLOOM a documentary short set in Negril, Jamaica.

Shannon Joy Shird, Festival Production Manager, Moderator, Chief Troubleshooter.

Shannon curates public art projects, and intimate gallery shows, and produced educational and cultural events for organizations like Brooklyn Arts Council, MoCADA, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Andrew Freedman Home, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and ARTrepreneurship, which she also co-founded. She also crafts thoughtful and specific educational and workplace training for all ages around topics of racial justice, media literacy, abolition 101, transformative justice, and emotional intelligence.

Shannon has organized mixed media cultural projects in NYC, South Africa, and Japan with 1Future and is an active member of the Venceremos Brigade, a Cuba Solidarity Organization. She’s also producing a podcast: Let’s Get Back To Queer, launched in December 2020.

In 2015 she wrote a short story that became the short film, BodyMore. She serves as the film’s writer and executive producer. Shannon takes care of Operations for House of Ease. She holds a BA in History and International Affairs from Smith College and a MA in International Affairs from The New School in NYC. Follow her on Twitter & IG @MissShird.


We were honored and blessed to be mentored by our film Queen, O.Funmilayo Makarah, who guided us with patience and friendship throughout the whole production of the inaugural Auntyland Film Festival, March 8-31, 2022.

O.FUNMILAYO MAKARAH is an award-winning film/videomaker, installation artist, curator, media activist, and educator from Los Angeles. She uses experimental and documentary conventions to intertwine social, political, and economic concerns with issues of history, gender, race, and identity. She is the founder and Executive Director of the seventeen-year-old Heritage Film Festival in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Founder of the Los Angeles arts organization, IN VISIBLE COLORS (a media arts organization dedicated to the creation and promotion of films and videos by African Americans, Asian Americans, Latina/os and Native Americans). She is also the former Director of Expanded Visions, a curatorial program to bring independent film/video makers and their work to South Central Los Angeles youth. Makarah has a B.A. in Multi-Media (Art and Theatre) from Smith College, an M.F.A. in Film and Television from UCLA, and an M.A. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the Art and Art History Department of the University of Rochester (where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies).

O.Funmilayo Makarah, Moderator

Before moving to Maryland, Makarah worked for the Berlin International Film Festival, served as Chair of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Media Committee, and was a panelist for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific American International Film Festival. She was a member of the Video Screening Committee of L.A. Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), a member of the Executive Committee for Available Visions, a National Conference on the nontheatrical distribution of African American independent films/video, and a founding member and Curator of the international media arts organization, L.A.Freewaves.

She has worked closely with arts organizations, including Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY), The Center for New Television (Chicago), Video In (Vancouver, B.C.), Women in the Director’s Chair (Chicago), Arizona Commission on the Arts (Phoenix), California State University, Northridge, and GeVa Theater (Rochester, NY) where she served as Dramaturg for Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years. Makarah served on selection panels for Sony’s Visions of the U.S. Video Competition, The National Black Programming Consortium, the NEA, the Independent Television Service, Inc. (ITVS), and the Independent Filmmaker Program of the American Film Institute (AFI). She has been honored by the City of Los Angeles with a Media Certificate of Commendation for her work to promote art and artists, selected by Black Women in Media Arts to be the October representative on their annual calendar, and she received a Certificate of Commendation from Prince George’s County, Maryland. In Maryland Makarah also served as a Maryland State Arts Council panelist for both the Arts in Communities and Multi-Discipline Committees and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Humanities Council.

Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board of the Creative Edge Collaborative in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Makarah’s work has been exhibited throughout the US and in Canada and Europe. A partial listing of Makarah’s exhibitions and lectures include The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, LACE (Los Angeles), Women Under the Influence Film Festival, Pitzer College, Baltimore’s Creative Coalition, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Smith College, Video In (Vancouver, B.C.), UC Irvine, The Venice Photo Biennale (Italy), Future Studio (Los Angeles), Acorn Gallery (Pasadena, CA), The National Gallery of Art and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum (Baltimore). She is a member of the prestigious film movement, The L.A. Rebellion. Her L.A. Rebellion work has been exhibited at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and toured throughout the US, and in Canada, and Europe.

Judges / Curators

Our distinguished Selections Panel functioned as the judges and curators to help us choose the films chosen to be featured in the festival. We are very grateful for their expertise, advice, and support.

LOUISE FLEMING – Filmmaker/Videographer/Visual Artist, Arts/Media Consultant. FOCUS: Experimental/Nonfiction short form. Recent work RAIN: Up Close – a meditation on rain and water. Previous work includes Pecking Order – about urban ‘streetwise’ pigeons, and My Bridge, one man’s homage to an iconic NYC bridge. Her works have been screened at film festivals and online media showcases. Ms. Fleming is currently at work on This Unique Life, about the late songwriter Bruce Woody and Deja Vu, an impressionistic take on the four seasons. Previously she was Co-President/Curator of Women’s Screening Series CineWomen NY [CWNY] @ at Two Boots Pioneer Movie Theater and Anthology Film Archives NYC. Education background: American University, Bachelors Degree and a Master’s Degree, New York University Graduate School of the Arts. Professional Memberships: Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Black Documentary Collective, New York Women In Film/TV (NYWIFT), and The Creative Edge Collaborative.

Louise Fleming, Film Curator, Judge

YOKO LYTLE is a Brooklyn resident from England who combines doula and childbirth education work with freelance video post-production work. With 15 years across a wide variety of content, Yoko specializes in commercial post-production, principally within editorial and motion graphics/VFX and alongside top agencies and brands.

Marjorie Clarke is a freelance producer and marketing executive with experience at UniWorld Group Advertising, MTV Networks, Columbia Records, Sony Music, and Def Jame Recordings. She is currently working on Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy film to be distributed by Netflix.

Festival Details

To attend the film festival, RSVP at A password will be sent so one may watch the films on Vimeo from March 8-31 on:

Filmmaker talkback Q&A sessions will air live on StreamYard on March 8 at 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm, and 8:30 pm on Streamyard. You may view recordings of the live interviews on Auntyland Film Festival’s YouTube channel.

A Film Festival about Creativity & Independence

By and For Women & Diverse Storytellers

Auntyland Film Festival (AAF) is a community, volunteer-driven event devoted to short films by and for women and diverse communities. Based in Tribeca, New York, the Festival’s screenings will open online, on March 8, 2022, International Women’s Day, and run through Women’s History Month, March 31, 2022. The early bird submission deadline was October 15, 2021; the Selections were made on February 24, 2022; the virtual Festival opened on March 8 and ends on March 31, 2022.

“Films are a great way for multiple generations to connect with each other as we come out of Covid-19 lockdown,” said Sylvia Wong Lewis, Festival Director, and Auntyland Founder. “We are the only women’s film festival to center women 50 and older. While joy, resilience, and kinship are popular themes, we are excited to engage in new dialogues through films,” Lewis added. 

The Festival focuses on diverse, Diasporan women and girls’ work, roles, and interests. The Festival promotes inclusive, diverse, and independent filmmaking. Admission to all events is free, including screenings, panels, and special events.

The Festival offers exposure, promotion, and publicity to filmmakers about topics of interest to diverse cultures and is especially reaching out to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC aka PGM – People of the Global Majority) filmmakers. In addition, stories by and about LGBTQ women and girls, people living with disabilities, older women, and aunties of all ages are welcome. The Festival also provides networking for distributors, reviewers, and the general public to attend and support current artistic developments in film.

Awards & Prizes

A distinguished Selections Committee of diverse professional Creatives will select the top film awards. All award winners will receive a cash prize.

The People’s Choice Awards will be based on selected films to receive the most public votes via a festival survey.

Some awards will come from sponsors that especially support themes such as diverse narratives, documentaries, comedy, food/cooking, gardening/home story, pet or animals, environment, ‘Made in NYC’ and ‘Only in New York’ stories, and LGBTQ stories.


Award criteria are quality and integrity! We look for creativity, script originality, cinematography, photography, graphic design, acting, editing, special effects, set design, costumes, music, and sound design.

The Festival also looks for a ‘Wow!’ factor. Under-represented stories that are compelling, inspirational, and entertaining stories are a plus. Comedies must be funny.

Submissions – Short Films!

Welcome Filmmakers and Video Producers! The Festival welcomes your independent, artistic creativity that is 30 seconds to 20 minutes. You may submit as many short films as you like. All genres are welcome including narrative, memoir, comedy, horror, youth media, animation, experimental, and more.

Feature film ‘Works in progress’ and Trailers are welcome. However, the filmmakers must edit to fit the Festival’s 30 seconds to 20-minute time frame limit.

Full-length films that are longer than 20 minutes, will be considered for special community event screenings.

FilmFreeway is a proud Auntyland Film Festival sponsor.

Rules & Terms

Short films only: 30 seconds to 20 minutes. The Festival’s marketing campaign includes annual awards announcements in the Hollywood Reporter and other world-class media that give Official Selection film previews.

Filmmakers are not paid to screen selected work. All submissions MUST indicate two working contact phone numbers and working email addresses.

All submitted work must be easily accessed through

Selected work will be screened online during Women’s History Month, March 8-31, 2022.

When you submit your work to Auntyland Film Festival (AFF), you accept full responsibility for the content and obtaining proper rights to all content in your submitted work.

Dates & Deadlines

Early Bird Deadline: October 15, 2021

Regular Deadline: January 30, 2022

Extended Deadline: February 17, 2022

Notification Date:  February 24, 2022

Event Dates: March 8- March 31, 2022


AFF Collaborators, Partners, and Sponsors: Heritage Film Festival, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, and Fractured Atlas.

All submitted work will be accessed through

Auntyland Film Festival (AFF) is a production of and Narrative Network, based in Tribeca, New York. Fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, tax-deductible donations may be sent to

Email contact



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New York, New York 10005