Must-See Films at Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival

From full-length to shorts, from funny to heavy to insightful and poignant, here are highlights from the 29th annual Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival.

When the 29th annual Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival kicks off Nov. 11-13, it will bring 43 films to Colorado Springs centered around women filmmakers and life as women experience it—some locally, some globally. Here are some highlights definitely worth watching.

5 Full-Length Documentaries

Frame by Frame

Filmmaker: Mo Scarpelli & Alexandria Bombach

After decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime, four Afghan photojournalists face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own — reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves.

Growing Up Coy

family photo growing up coy film
Photo courtesy of Growing Up Coy.

Filmmaker: Eric Juhola

A young Colorado family engages in a highly publicized legal battle and landmark civil rights case, as they fight for their 6-year-old transgender daughter Coy Mathis’ right to use the girls’ bathroom at her school. The Mathis family’s case in 2013 was the first in the United States to decide in favor of a transgender youth using the bathroom facility that corresponds with their gender identity. The film asks a universal question that any parent could face: “How far would you go to fight for your child’s equal rights?”

Driving with Selvi

Driving with Selvi is one of the films featured at RMWFF
A still from the film Driving with Selvi. Courtesy of Driving with Selvi.

Filmmaker: Elisa Paloschi

Selvi, like so many girls living within India’s patriarchal culture, is forced to marry at a young age, only to find herself in a violent and abusive marriage. One day, in deep despair, she chooses to escape, and goes on to become South India’s first female taxi driver. This is the 10-year journey of a charming, strong and utterly courageous young woman who defies all expectations, moving beyond the pain she’s experienced to create a new life.

Burn Burn Burn

actresses in Burn Burn Burn film
Photo courtesy Burn Burn Burn.

Filmmaker: Chanya Button

A female-driven roadtrip comedy about friendship, love and that awkward moment when your dead best friend still gets you to do stuff. Following the death of their friend, two girls in their late 20s embark on a roadtrip to spread his ashes. Seph and Alex take turns driving. Dan is in the glove compartment, in Tupperware, decreasing in volume as the trip progresses.

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, is one of the featured films.
CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, is a feature film at the 29th annual RMWFF. Courtesy of CODE.

Filmmaker: Robin Hauser Reynolds

CODE documentary exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap and digital divide. The film highlights breakthrough efforts that are producing more diverse programmers and shows how this critical gap can be closed. CODE asks: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code and how do we get there?

5 Featured Shorts


Dancers from one of the featured short films, Solo.
Veronica and James at Colorado Springs-based Ormao Dance Company. Courtesy of Solo.

Filmmaker: Thomas Crandall, Elle Gannon and Andrew Deslauriers

Veronica is new to Colorado Springs-based Ormao Dance Company and must prepare a duet with another newcomer, James. Serious and disciplined, Veronica keeps him at a distance, but while rehearsing they become friends. James sees Veronica looking at him one day, and he asks her out to a concert. She says no; she doesn’t want to complicate work. Tension builds between them as Veronica denies James’ advances and continues practicing for the final performance.

In the Meadows

Filmmaker: Esther Chan

Miguel, David and Danielle are three young friends who grew up in Meadows Park, Colorado Springs, where they faced gang violence, family tragedy and poverty. Their stories have shaped them into who they are today: resilient individuals who are working to break the cycle and give back to their community.

Mama Rwanda

A production still from one of the featured short films, Momma Rwanda.
Photo courtesy of Mama Rwanda.

Filmmaker: Laura Waters Hinson

Mama Rwanda examines a new generation of Rwandan women whose passion for entrepreneurship is transforming Rwanda into one of the world’s fastest growing economies. A tale of working mothers who endured genocide, Mama Rwanda is a deeply intimate portrait of two women on journeys to build peace through prosperity creation.

I Am Yup’ik

Filmmaker: Daniele Anastasion and Nathan Golon

The story of Byron Nicholai, a 16-year-old Alaskan Yup’ik teenager who leaves his tiny village and travels across hundreds of miles of frozen tundra to compete in an all-Yup’ik basketball tournament. Unskilled as a Yup’ik hunter, a tradition passed down over thousands of years, Byron is determined to prove himself by leading his village to a championship in the District Tournament.


Filmmaker: Amy Nicholson

Let us reflect on the brief existence of Pickle the fish. Although he could not swim, he was lovingly cared for by a couple that kept him propped up in a sponge. Along with an obese chicken, a cat with a heart condition and a paraplegic possum, his life is a celebration of man’s eternal capacity to care for all creatures. He will be dearly missed.

Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival 2016

When: Nov. 11-13

Where: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Colorado College

What: About 40 films that present the world as women experience it and that inspire curiosity, educate, entertain and stimulate conversation. Filmmaker discussions and an opening night gala

For a full schedule, details and tickets:

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