Taking place annually in the summer in beautiful Portland, Maine, Bluestocking Film Festival is an exclusive showcase for high-quality, provocative short fiction films featuring complex female protagonists driving the story and leading the action. At every screening since we began in 2011, we prove that audiences love a good story no matter what the lead character's gender is.

All short film submissions *must have a female main character* and also *pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test* (include at least 2 or more female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man). There are NO exceptions to these rules!

For its 8th season, Bluestocking returns to Maine and premiere two nights of screenings on Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4, 2018. After that, 8 selected films from the 2018 film slate will hit the road to reach new audiences and to build capacity with lovers of great female-driven films, wherever they may be.

Having received FilmFreeway’s “100 Best Reviewed Festivals” designation, we hope to impress a new roster of filmmakers at the 2018 festival.

Women are over 50% of the population, yet to this day, women play a leading role in commercial films only 29% of the time, but at Bluestocking, 100% of the films are female-driven. And Bluestocking demonstrates that women and girls can legitimately dream not only of driving the action in a film but of becoming a writer-producer-director.

In 2017, Bluestocking premiered in Los Angeles at a screening in the Spielberg at the Egyptian Theatre, sponsored by Cinefemme. A pre-screening mixer organized by Tema Staig/Women in Media was a roaring success, and filmmakers and actors were on hand for the post-screening Q&A, which several characterized as the best they'd ever participated in. Director Paul Feig was awarded with our Best Gender Swap award for "Ghostbusters" and Daina O. Pusic's film "Rhonna and Donna" won the Audience Choice Award.

After our exciting premiere in L.A., the 2017 Touring Program of eight selected films has traveled across the country and around the world, screening six times (so far). And we aren't finished yet! Additional screenings of the 2017 Touring Program will take place in Boston (March 15, 2018) and Philadelphia (April 12, 2018).

"Bluestocking Film Series is nothing short of genius — a beacon in the storm of gender inequity in Hollywood. The program truly casts a rare light illuminating a better future when women's voices are no longer censored and silenced in American storytelling. It is just this sort of inspired foresight that could result in the inclusion of women in the voice of our civilization — at last."
—Maria Giese, film director, founder of Women Directors: Navigating the Hollywood Boys Club

"Bluestocking was the real deal with uniting women in film and talking real issues in this business. The camaraderie was real with these filmmakers, and it continues on after."
—Yolonda Ross , Actor-Writer-Director


Again, to be considered, your submission *must feature a female protagonist and pass The Bechdel-Wallace Test* (film must include at least 2 female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man). We reserve the right to reject any film that doesn't pass the test, regardless of any of its other virtues.

NOTE WELL: we invite submissions of short fiction films ONLY, with a preference for films 15 minutes in running time or less. Feature length films are not considered. Nonfiction films/documentaries are not considered.

Audience Choice Awards, Bitch Pack "Best in Show," Best Performance, Best Cinematography, Best Direction, Best Production Design

As a showcase for talented, emerging or established directors of any gender , the Bluestocking Film Festival seeks high-quality, provocative, and innovative films that feature complex female protagonists and pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test (2 or more fem characters who talk to each other about something other than a man).

We're specifically looking for cinematic stories that portray women characters who are as strong, complicated, flawed, and heroic as their male counterparts and highlight female relationships with each other. Please note: Films that center stories of female relationships with men (or boys) are not in keeping with our mission, however good they might be.


You must be 18 years of age or older to submit a film.

By submitting your work, you guarantee that your entry is your original work, and does not infringe on the copyright or other rights of other people. You further guarantee that all listed creators have authorized submission to Bluestocking Film Series.

If selected, you agree to allow Bluestocking Film Series to screen your film in public, at booked screenings throughout 2018. By submitting your film, you also guarantee that you have no distribution agreements that would disallow us to screen your film as described.

Until dates and venues are confirmed on our website, please note that dates and venues are subject to change.

We watch submitted films in their entirety. Submitted films are initially assessed by Artistic Director and Lead Curator Kate Kaminski, then films are viewed by a select panel of judges to be assessed and scored according to our guidelines and mission. Please read through all criteria before submitting your film. All selection decisions are final.

ALL submissions must
1) feature a complex female protagonist in the leading role
2) pass The Bechdel-Wallace Test.

Therefore, all submissions are required to feature 2 (or more) female characters who talk to each other (for more than a few seconds) about something other than a man (or men or boys).

All films must be submitted electronically. No DVD entries will be considered.

I hereby agree for my film to be screened at Bluestocking events. I have the express authority to submit the film to the festival and I guarantee that I have obtained all necessary rights for a film festival screening. We reserve the right to use a clip or photos from accepted entries for promotional purposes. Bluestocking will not be held responsible in the case of screening materials being stolen, lost or damaged during shipment. We do not return materials submitted for consideration. Please do not send originals! The organizers reserve the right to decide all questions regarding the rules and regulations. Further, the Bluestocking reserves the exclusive right to determine what constitutes "passing" the Bechdel-Wallace Test when selecting submissions.

Overall Rating
  • alix bannon

    Screening my film at the Bluestocking Film Series was such a great experience. Kate and the fest crew were warm and inviting. The audiences were attentive and smart. It was a great screening and it was nice to spend time with the other filmmakers. This fest had such a positive and supportive atmosphere and would love to attend again in the future.

    August 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for these kind words and for coming to be with us, Alix! We're so glad to have met you in person at last:)

  • Stephanie Jeter

    I attended the Bluestocking Film Series this year to screen my film, and the journey to Portland, Maine was well worth it! I could not be more pleased with my experience, with both the organizers of the festival and the audience providing a welcoming environment. As a first time filmmaker, I fear that Bluestocking has set the bar unreasonably high and I'm sure to measure subsequent festival experiences by their standards. Bluestocking is true their mission of uplifting filmmakers who create narratives centering strong and complex female protagonists. Participating in both the screening and panel events proved to be very energizing, and I came away so encouraged to push forward as a female director. My only regret was not spending more time in Portland! I urge all filmmakers to attend in person and make time to explore Maine.

    August 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for these kind words:) So glad you were with us, Stephanie!

  • Jody Miller

    This is my second time to Portland, Maine for the BSFS. The first time i was an attendee only and this time, i am very happy to say, a participant with a film in the fest.

    I have nothing but positive things to say about my whole experience so if you're looking for criticism, this is the wrong review for you.

    First & foremost both years i attended I was blown away by the overall quality of the films. The curating for a small fest like this is VERY impressive. Second, Kate Kaminski and her entire Bluestocking gang are the friendliest and most helpful gang you'll ever come across.

    We've never felt so welcomed at a fest. Plus Kate's consistent help with housing and questions about location leading up to the event was on point.

    The quality of the judging panel and the individuals who are brought in either as sponsors, supporters, etc is also top tier for such a small fest. So worthwhile networking opps are offered.

    Lastly I'd like to point out that the inclusive nature of this fest is fantastic. I know some guys may want to stay away thinking that a fest with a feminist-theme may be a "bit much', but fellas you should really go and also submit to this fest. One of my favorite films this year was directed by a guy who knocked it out of the park.

    I hope to submit again in the future. Thank SBFS for doing your part!

    August 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for this (and for being a "regular"), JLM;)

  • I love Bluestocking! It's now one of my favorite film festivals. The people who run it are so supportive. You can just feel the care put into organizing every detail. The venue was great and the screenings were packed with attendees. And the programming is simply excellent. It's wonderful as a filmmaker and fan getting to see such diverse works by women. I often feel like I'm supposed to represent my entire gender at most (typically male-dominated) festivals. At this one, I got to just be me, and appreciate the many perspectives and styles of women directors out there. And I don't think I've ever attended a festival with as much inclusion, not just in terms of gender, but also in race, class, age, and sexual identity across the entire lineup. All the films were memorable & moving. It's a prime example of how meritocracy and diversity are not separate aspirations, and when you commit to the latter, nothing needs to be sacrificed with the former. It was truly beautiful to witness. The conversations both on and off stage were motivating & insightful. And I walked away with new friends and potential collaborators. I could go on and on about how wonderful this festival is. But I recommend just submitting a film and seeing for yourself!

    August 2018
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    Response from festival:

    This is such a great affirmation of what we're doing at Bluestocking — thank you so much, Christina!

  • This is a brilliant film festival. They are so warm and welcoming.
    The films shown were of such a high quality and there were wonderfully stimulating Q&A sessions after the screenings. And it was such fun!

    It's one of the best U.S. film festivals, So, don't hesitate to send your films.

    September 2016
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Mo! We hope you'll come back one day — with another great short film.