Posted on March 8, 2021

To celebrate International Women's Day, the CIFF team has picked some of our favourite films from women filmmakers to share with you! From an Oscar-nominated director to past CIFF favourites, these films make for great watching any day of the year.


n2trmskrNvQQtlCJyiA8HDmTeBI2xs original

Brian Owens, Artistic Director


Most viewers were introduced to the work of Jane Campion with the Oscar-winning THE PIANO (a brilliant film indeed). I became enamoured with her in 1991 when I sat on the floor of my college rental on a rare weekend alone and took in all 160 minutes of her glorious second feature, AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE.

Based on the autobiographies of New Zealand author Janet Frame, the film is divided into three chapters telling her story of growing up in poverty, her time in a mental institution, and her growth and development as an author. Campion gives each chapter a unique visual tableau and each stage of Frame’s life is brought to life by a different actress (it was also my introduction to the amazing talent of Kerry Fox). Yet, the film doesn’t necessarily feel episodic. Instead, each piece is a perfect contribution to a complete portrait of one very unique life. To catch a glimpse into the early work of one of the best female filmmakers working in the world today, be sure to seek this one out.

Available to stream on Criterion Channel and iTunes


Lucia Juliao, Development Coordinator


This documentary about a woman exploring her history for the benefit of her future is so beautifully told. Seeing Kulap Vilaysack's journey in this movie is so incredibly touching. She shows such vulnerability and strength and is so deserving of a superhero's Origin Story. 

Available to stream Tubi and Amazon Prime.


Adam Keresztes, Shorts Programmer


I've seen a handful of Patricia Rozema films but this one always stands out. It hits that gritty/grimy 90s Toronto aesthetic that I really like and the De Palma-style intro is a solid setup. There's some serious voyeurism, landfill housing situations and one of the weirdest sex scenes I've seen. Bonus for an awesome original song and music video!

Available to stream for free on YouTube thanks to Encore+

IMG 3354

Morgan Cairns, Digital Marketing Specialist


I program a screening series dedicated to showcasing women filmmakers, and picking just one film is nearly impossible. So I picked three.

1. DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL Directed by Marielle Heller and based on the fabulous graphic novel of the same name by Phoebe Gloeckner, DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is definitely one of those films that I recommend to everyone I know. As the title suggests, it's the coming of age story about a young girl, set in the 1970s. Minnie, an aspiring illustrator, is stirred by her awakening sexuality and enters into an affair with her mother's boyfriend. A sumptuous '70s colour palette sprinkled with brilliant animations and a soundtrack I have listened to over and over again, DOATG feels both whimsical in its presentation and completely authentic in its portrayal of teenage girls and their sexuality. Available to stream on Amazon Prime, Tubi, Sundance Now and iTunes.

2. FIRECRACKERS The debut film from Jasmin Mozaffari, I saw FIRECRACKERS at CIFF 2018, and it completely blew me away. I've seen a lot of so-so debut features, but Mozaffari somehow managed to avoid all the typical first-time director pitfalls and made a film so daring and so powerful,  I'm still thinking about it three years later. Following two girls trying to escape from the confines of their small town, the film is a total emotional knock-out, earning Mozaffari the award for Best Director at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards. Available to stream on Crave, hoopla and iTunes.

3. WHIP IT If there's one film I can watch over and over and over again and never get tired of, it's WHIP IT. The debut feature of the one and only Drew Barrymore, and starring Elliot Page, Alia Shawkat, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Ari Gaynor, and Eve (yes, that Eve), WHIP IT is the feel-good movie of all feel-good movies with a heavy dose of bad-bitch-ness that will make you want to take up roller derby IMMEDIATELY. Bonus, I discovered some of my favourite songs listening to this film's soundtrack. Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches, Your Arms Around Me by Jens Lekman, Doing It Right by The Go! Team, it's all on there.  Available to stream on Cineplex, YouTube and Google Play.
Back to blog listing