Festival Info

Our Focus

Founded in 2001, the High Falls Women’s Film Festival is one of the few film festivals worldwide that celebrates the work of women filmmakers, and is one of the longest running women’s film festivals. We celebrate the artistry and innovation of women in film — behind the camera, in leading roles on the screen, and at the heart of storylines.

The Location

The festival is always held in Rochester, New York, where Susan B. Anthony launched her fight for women’s equality and George Eastman invented motion picture film – the ideal backdrop for the festival.  Films are screened at the landmark Little Theatre in the city’s vibrant East End district, an area filled with excellent dining and abundant night life — all just a short walk away. For more information on all of the things that make Rochester a fantastic place, head to VisitRochester.com

The Events

Make time for the stimulating discussions, panels, workshops, Q&A sessions with filmmakers and celebrity guests. Our “coffee chats” with filmmakers feature intimate discussions with directors, producers and writers, offering an inside perspective of filmmaking from a women’s point of view. A highlight of the festival is the presentation of the coveted Susan B. Anthony “Failure Is Impossible” award to a women who exemplifies the courage, passion and artistry necessary to succeed. See the past award winners list.

2020 Board of Directors:

Mimi Tilton – Board Chair
Deborah DeJoy– Treasurer
Sherry Phillips – Secretary

Virginia Bacheler
Katie Baldwin
Alyssa Belasco
Linda Jones-Hight
Jack Kraushaar
Sanford Mayer, M.D.
Nancy Pagano
Susan Poole
Susan Rogers
Malcolm Spaull
Samantha Tassone
Elizabeth Tyler

2020 Advisory Council:

Lorie Barnum
Mark Costello
Jack Garner
Barbara Laughton
Marilyn O’Connor
Pam Sherman
Elaine Spaull
Jerry Stoeffhaas
Christopher J. Wilmot


A non-profit organization, the festival has screened more than 750 films since its inception, spotlighting the cinematic works of women and bringing the finest independent motion pictures and film artists to Rochester and Western New York audiences.  The festival includes features, documentaries, shorts, children’s and young adult programs. Films from past festivals have gone on to win Academy Awards®, Golden Globe Awards® and recognition at other festivals, from Sundance to Berlin.

The High Falls Women’s Films Festival presents more than 50 features, documentaries, and shorts, including a children’s program and student-filmmaker program, in addition to panel discussions, opening and closing night parties, and informal “Coffee With” events featuring visiting filmmakers and artists.

The festival is a lively mix of emerging and established talent, with past guests including actresses Kerry Washington, Lynn Redgrave, Rita Moreno, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christine Lahti, Bill Pullman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Mira Nair, Jane Alexander, Candice Bergen, Joan Allen, Gordy Hoffman, Famke Janssen, Faith Hubley, Stuart Craig, Diane Ladd, John Curran, CCH Pounder, Leslie Stahl, Celeste Holm, Lainie Kazan, Sally Kellerman, voice-over actress Nancy “Bart Simpson” Cartwright, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, Richard Donner, Agnieszka Holland, and Shrek director Vicky Jenson and editor Thelma Schoonmaker.

Past Festivals