The COVEN Film Festival is a Charming Stranger Films, LLC production, devoted to short films by emerging women filmmakers from the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world. 

Our event features 2 full days of films made by women, panels, Q&As with filmmakers and excellent networking opportunities.

Film blocks featured at the festival are curated by Charming Stranger, and ‘best of fest’ programming partners, Bluestocking Films Series and Etheria Film Night; who have more than 25 years combined pushing for inclusion behind the camera and representation across screens.

Festival passes include: access to all films, Q&As with filmmakers, a creative distribution panel on building audiences, stellar networking opportunities, and awards party. Proceeds to benefit Cinefemme.

This event spotlights women storytellers, and recognizes that not every woman is young, white, middle-class, cisgender, or able-bodied. Our mission is to amplify ALL women's stories -- emphasizing indigenous, differently-abled and women of color -- told by women creators.

COVEN Film Festival reserves the right to change our programming without notice.

Best Film
Best Director
Best Bay Area Film
Best Bay Area Director
Emerging Talent Award
Best International Film
Audience Award  
Best of Etheria and Bluestocking

All winners will receive an award and be featured across festival social channels, festival video and website.

This event spotlights women storytellers and recognizes that not every woman is young, white, middle-class, cisgender, or able-bodied. Our mission is to amplify all women's stories—emphasizing indigenous, disabled and women of color—told by women creators.


Entering a film into the COVEN Film Festival implies the acceptance of the following regulations. The Festival wishes all entrants the best of luck with their submission and their film.


Films must be directed or co-directed by a woman.
Submission is open to all short films 20 mins max duration that have been completed after January 1, 2018. We welcome narratives, documentaries, animations and student films.
Works-in-progress are not accepted.


By entering your film for consideration to the 2019 COVEN Film Festival, you authorise that your work is cleared for festival exhibition and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. The submitter and all filmmakers associated with the project shall indemnify and hold harmless the COVEN Film Festival and any representative or affiliates from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including, but not limited to, attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.


If accepted to screen at the Festival, the entrant agrees to provide a DCP format file for exhibition. Foreign language films must be subtitled in English. Any costs associated with any subtitling or formatting is the sole responsibility of the entrant. Our partner SimpleDCP offers a 20% discount.

Festival laurels will be provided to all Official Selections and Award Winners. Films should be presented in their original versions with English language subtitles or commentary where necessary.

By submitting, you agree that the Festival is allowed to use film stills, film posters, and trailers, and share them on social media sites and on the Festival website. Prints may be made, including film posters and stills of all selected films.

The Festival does not pay screening fees. Please submit your film via the online submission platforms. By submitting, you agree that your film can be screened without a screening fee.

Terms and conditions updated September 2018.

Overall Rating
  • Sarah K Reimers

    This is a first-class festival! Thoughtfully hosted and carefully curated. The communication was excellent and I met some wonderful film-makers from all over the U.S. This is a film-festival designed by film-makers who've been to A LOT of festivals and know what works and what doesn't. They also put a lot of energy into building and supporting their community. I can't recommend COVEN highly enough.

    February 2019
  • Jody Miller

    Coven started out right and got even "righter"!

    The communication prior to the fest was TOP NOTCH. They were always accessible & patient - even answering the most novice questions if we had em prior to the fest and to say Melinda and her team were accommodating is an understatement.

    And things just got more amazing from there.

    The second we walked into the Kabuki Hotel (which was kick-a** btw) we were greeted with "Hey! We know you guys!", which made us feel amazing, welcome and expected.

    Hotel accommodations were top notch and very cool. The filmmakers lounge was in the KABUKI as well and provided every snack and supply you would need. Meals were provided throughout the day and pretty damn good.

    The hotel is located half a block from the theater. So let's talk about the theater. Wow!!!! Your film will look and sound GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!! We were blown away by this state of the art tech and we were VERY honored to say we have screened there. You will be SO proud to see your film on that screen!!!!

    I would love to go on and on about this entire experience ... but ill try to sum it up ... Second to NONE. Wonderfully curated (the level of talent was OUTRAGEOUS!!!!! and an honor to be among), networking was so fun, the ENTIRE Coven team is a gang of badass humans who are passionate, talented, caring and fkn daring. This will be a "destination festival" without a doubt! I'm gonna work hard to be able to come back thats for sure.

    Thank you Coven.

    February 2019
  • Alexi Scheiber

    Wow! Going to Coven will be a precious memory to me for a long time. The organizers were generous, hardworking, intersectional feminists. Everything was amazing, but let’s break it down:
    -curation: amazing films with diverse leads, narrative structures, genres, and directors. Not a single dud.
    -networking: what a positive atmosphere of people who wanted to uplift women! Got a lot of business cards I still have to write messages to.
    -the venue and hotel were awesome, it was also great to meet Native activists and learn about the lands history.
    -even the application: it was great to have a women’s film fest acknowledging that our films didn’t have to be explicitly about womanhood (many are limited in this way), and that the application fee was affordable! Many women’s festivals are upwards of 20$ for shorts, which creates class barriers in an already demanding field.

    My only complaint was the festival should’ve been 2 days! the scheduling got a little tight and we had to rush through the amazing healthy meals that came with our badges at the filmmakers lounge. Please, sponsors/donors/investors, give this team what they need to make a Coven year 2, over 2 or 3 days this time.

    February 2019
  • Elaine Del Valle

    Fabulous! I can’t say enough about the team and the intention. I loved all the films and the power behind all of the people. It’s also in historic japan town and if you can get there early or stay a day later it’s great. I applaud this fest and loved everyone I met there!

    February 2019