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About FeFF and the Founder

FeFF was way ahead of its time. Since 2001, FeFF has been advocating for gender equity, inclusion, and diversity in the industry.  Founder / Artistic and Executive Director Leslie - Ann Coles conceived the Female Eye Film Festival in 2001 having observed that women directors were a minority among directors at the international film festivals she attended with her award winning debut film, "In The Refrigerator."

In addition to producing the annual FeFF, Coles has served as an Official Juror, and guest curator for KIN International Women's Film Festival (Yerevan, Armenia); Porto Femme (Porto Portugal); The Flying Broom (Ankara, Turkey); Beirut International Women's Film Festival (Lebanon, Beirut); Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival (Los Angeles, CA) and FemCine (Chile).     


FeFF continued to expand its outreach, and in 2015 curated a documentary program for Doctober, a month long festival (Bellingham, Washington), and curated a Canadian Shorts Program for the  Los Angeles Int. Women's Film Festival. In recognition of Women's History Month the FeFF created a program for The Waterloo Art Gallery, and  facilitated a screening in Sudbury Ontario for Pride. 

In 2023, Coles was invited to adjudicate sponsorship and the award proposals for the Eurimage Fund as an International Expert involving organizations dedicated to gender equity from the European Union. 


2001: The Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) was established and incorporated as a provincial not-for-profit organization in Toronto, Canada.


2002: The Female Eye presented 42 films in its inaugural year; 70% of the participants were local Toronto directors.


2003: FeFF launched the Script Development Program and opened it to both women and men. A mandate to select screenplays that feature a female protagonist was adopted.


2004: FeFF produced its first December 6 Program, In Memory of the Montreal Massacre, featuring films that pertain to global issues of violence against women. FeFF presented its seventh December 6 Program in 2014. Proceeds have been donated to shelters for women escaping domestic violence. Coles traveled to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on International Women's Day to present films addressing the AIDS pandemic and its impact on women and girls.

2005: FeFF became a competitive festival presenting awards for Best Films and Best Screenplays at the Closing Awards Ceremony.


2006: FeFF produced its first Young Filmmaker Development Workshop. In this workshop, the Female Eye and alumni directors mentor female youth on the production of their debut films. Since the inaugural workshop the Female Eye has produced 46 short films involving 26 Indigenous. 


2007: FeFF held the inaugural FeFF Photo Exhibition and Experimental Film Program. 


2009: Jules Koostachin and Coles spearheaded another FeFF signature series, The Canadian Indigenous Filmmaker Series with Jules as the Head Program Officer.  


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