Girls Impact the World Film Festival & Red Carpet Awards 2018

St. Andrew's Dell Fine Arts Theater

Saturday April 7th 2018 11:00 am –  8:00 pm

Inspiring Global Change Through Women's Stories


Please join Connecther and Presenting Sponsor, Eloise DeJoria for the 6th Annual Girls Impact the World Film Festival on Saturday, April 7, 2018, for an exciting day of panels, films, awards, speakers, and calls for social change through powerful storytelling. Finalist films from the Girls Impact the World Film Festival will be screened. 

When: Saturday, April 7, 2018 - daytime panels and sessions begin at 11 AM. Red Carpet and Evening Awards Ceremony begins at 5 PM. 

Where: St. Andrews Dell Fine Arts Theater

5901 Southwest Pkwy, Austin, TX 78735

Dress: Smart Casual

Contact for questions.

 @connecther @gitwff


Connecther is proud to bring the festival to a whole new level with a daytime program that includes two special panels and a full-length screening of GITWFF 2018 finalist films. 



10 am - Doors Open - Registration

11 am - Panel #1

Powerful Women in Media: More Than a Moment?

How are power dynamics shifting in the media industry at this pivotal moment of #MeToo and Time’s Up? These inspiring women will talk about their hard-won career paths and will share their insights about how women entering the field can make a difference.


·  Zain Asher is an anchor for CNN international based in New York.

·  Christine Minji Chang is an actress, producer, and executive director of the nonprofit Kollaboration, which showcases the talents of Asian-Pacific Islander American artists.

·  Pamela Ribon is a screenwriter (Moana, Smurfs: The Lost Village) and television writer who works at Disney.

·  Elizabeth Avellan is a pioneering Hollywood producer (Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn).

·  Moderator Layla Yu is co-director of the Girls Impact the World Film Festival

12:30 PM - Panel #2

From Filmmaker to Changemaker: Young Filmmakers Who Are Making a Difference


What’s next after the Girls Impact the World Film Festival? Get inspired to take it to the next level by these inspiring Girls Impact the World filmmakers. They’ll share how they are using their short films to make an impact in their communities. Find out how you, too, can start a conversation and spark social change—starting with a five-minute film.


·  Sarah Jehaan Khan is an environmental filmmaker and activist in Pakistan.

·  Rebecca Dharmapalan, one of Glamour’s 2017 “College Women of the Year,” makes films about sex trafficking and speaks at national forums.

·  Karen Gaytan is a Latin American filmmaker who recently launched a nonprofit that promotes diversity in film.

·  Susannah Joffe has studied film at St. Stephen's for four years and hopes to major in film in order to promote social justice through film. She is also a singer and has performed at SXSW.

·  Moderator Claudia Robaina is manager of the MIT Director's Fellows program.

2:30 PM – Film Screenings of Finalist Films

Join us for our premiere screening of the Girls Impact the World 2018 finalist films! See what young filmmakers are doing and find inspiration in their work.


2 to 4 PM – Food for Purchase at Food Trucks




5:00 PM Red Carpet & Live Music by Ley Line


6:00 PM  GITWFF Evening Awards Ceremony


Welcome from Co-director Layla Yu

Remarks from Sarah Jehaan Khan - GITWFF 2015 winner
Present Green Is, Best Film Production, and People’s Choice Awards
Screen People’s Choice Winner

Remarks from screenwriter Pamela Ribon
Present Girls in Stem and Judges Choice Second Runner Up Awards
Screen Judges’ Choice Second Runner Up

Remarks from St. Andrews Head of School Sean MurphyPresent Stand Up Men Award

Remarks from Gem donors Sharon D’Agostino and Dr. Meena Vendal
Present Gems and Judges’ Choice First Runner Up Awards
Screen Judges’ Choice First Runner Up

Musical Performance by Melat

Remarks from CNN anchor Zain Asher, Present Global Impact and Ending Violence Against Women Awards                  Screen Ending Violence Against Women Winner

Remarks from Connecther South Asia Director Azmina Karim
Present Honest Beauty and Let Girls Learn Awards

Remarks from finalist Judge Elizabeth Avellan
Present Judges’ Choice Grand Prize Winner with Connecther Board Members
Screen Grand Prize Winning Film

Closing remarks by Christine Pollei

Thank you closing from Connecther founder Lila Igram and festival co-director Layla Yu


8:00 PM - Private Reception for VIP Ticketholders

Speakers and Panelists:

Eloise DeJoria is a presenting sponsor and finalist judge for the Girls Impact the World Film Festival. In addition to being the spokesmodel for Paul Mitchell, Eloise uses her time and talents to help people lead healthy, fulfilled lives. She focuses her efforts on recovery programs, the arts and promoting the rights and well-being of women and girls.

Elizabeth Avellán is the Co-Owner and Vice President of Troublemaker Studios and President of EYA Productions. Troublemaker’s first feature was the 2001 hit Spy Kids. In addition to producing family genre films that have collectively grossed over a billion dollars, she has played a primary role in developing Austin, Texas as a thriving film community. Avellán began her producing career when she co-founded Los Hooligans Productions in 1991 with Robert Rodriguez as the two began their feature film project, El Mariachi. During the past decade, Avellán has produced a dozen films.

Pamela Ribon is a screenwriter (Moana, Smurfs: The Lost Village), TV writer, comic book writer, author, and best-selling novelist. She was a 2017 Film Independent Directing Lab Fellow and was named one of Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch. She’s currently co-writing Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 and has been a member of the Disney Animation StoryTrust since 2013. She was a writer and narration consultant on the Disneynature documentary Bears.

She’s been in comedy rooms for both network and cable television, most notably the Emmy award-winning Samantha Who?. Pamela has adapted her popular novels for both film and television (Why Girls are Weird, You Take It From Here), and developed original series and features for ABC, ABC Family, Sony, Warner Bros., Disney Channel and 20th Century Fox Productions. Her original comic book series SLAM! — co-created with Veronica Fish and set in the world of roller derby — receives rave reviews. She has also penned issues of Rick and Morty. Her comedic memoir Notes to Boys (and Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public) was praised by NPR as “brain-breakingly funny.” Her first graphic novel, My Boyfriend is a Bear, will be released April 2018.

Sarah Jehaan Khan is an 18 year old from Islamabad who uses film and creative mediums to highlight innovations rural Pakistani women and girls use to combat the effects of climate change. At 15 she made her first film, Harvesting Hope, which won an award at the international Girls Impact the World Film Festival held at Harvard. She was presented the award by environmentalist and actor Ian Somerhalder. 

Sarah has also been featured in BBCs list of the Top 100 Women of 2014 for her advocacy and filmmaking. Her new film, The Ripple Effect, is about how access to clean water has transformed the lives of women in Pakistan. It won the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and Girls Impact the World Green IS prize and has been officially shortlisted for over 13 film festivals in Kuala Lumpur, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Austin, Noosa in Australia, Sose (Armenia) and Princeton University.  

Zain Asher is an anchor for CNN International based in New York. She currently anchors CNN Newsroom on Fridays and Saturdays, and can be regularly seen filling in on the network's premier business programs, Quest Means Business and CNNMoney with Maggie Lake. Asher also hosts Marketplace Africa, CNNI's weekly business show about the continent and its place within global markets, and often interviews CEOs and world leaders for the program. 

She anchored CNN's special coverage around the inaugural #MyFreedomDay, a global call to action that raised awareness of modern-day slavery all over the world. She also hosted special programming around the deaths of Fidel Castro, boxing legend Muhammad Ali and singer George Michael. Asher has also covered many high-profile stories from the field including the 2014 kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria, and the 2013 terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. In addition, she has hosted panel discussions at the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and a well-reviewed TED talk in London.

She is fluent in French, Spanish and Ibo (her native Nigerian dialect).

Minji Chang is a Korean American actor, emcee, podcast host, community activist, and non-profit executive director. Minji graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Public Health and after exploring careers in health and technology, she pivoted to pursue her lifelong passion of acting & advocacy work with a focus on social justice through the arts.  She presides as the current Global Executive Director of Kollaboration, a non-profit organization and grassroots movement that spans North America by means of 14 major city chapters. Kollaboration discovers, connects, and elevates Asian Pacific Islander American artists through live showcases, community partnerships, leadership development, and digital content including weekly podcasts to explore Asian American culture and advance diverse representation.  Her work with Kollaboration has included partnerships with Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Rock the Vote as well as HBO, Comcast NBCUniversal, Warner Brothers, Pandora, and Spotify. She has been featured on numerous viral BuzzFeed sketches in addition to a growing body of short films and national commercials. 

Claudia Robaina has made it her personal mission to nurture creative individuals to reach their full potential. A musician herself, she dedicated a decade to classical music management while at Columbia Artists Management and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At both organizations, she managed and empowered the careers of hundreds of conductors, instrumentalists, and composers. Claudia’s reputation as a thoughtful leader, effective producer, and personable manager has led her to cultivate strong working relationships with Yo-Yo Ma, André Previn, Yefim Bronfman, Colin Currie, and John Williams, among other professional collaborators including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Silk Road Ensemble, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

In her role as program manager of the Director’s Fellows, Claudia strengthens the foundation of this remarkable program by connecting the Fellows to the Media Lab’s antidisciplinary vision, engaging in collaboration with the Lab’s community, and encouraging the Fellows to become agents of change and international ambassadors for the Media Lab.



They all share a label. They each have a name. An art exhibition that introduces Austin residents to some of the city's refugees. This isn't about politics, it's about community. Through portraits and storytelling, we invite you to come and learn the names, see the faces, and get to know some of your refugee neighbors. 

Connecther is honored to bring Refugee is Not My Name to GITWFF. Photographer Ashley St. Clair and writer Jess Archer will be in attendance. Ashley is a freelance humanitarian photographer and the art director at STAV Creative, a creative agency based in Austin, Texas. Her background is in photojournalism, graphic design (and beekeeping). She focuses on helping individuals and organizations doing good things for our community and our world to tell their stories through images. Jess is a free-lance writer, blogger and speaker.  Jess's first book is entitled, Finding Home with The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Billy Graham. In this memoir, she details her struggle to find the meaning of “home” in a childhood without one. Jess lives in Austin, Texas with her folk musician husband, B. Sterling Archer and their two children.                                                                                



Born in Austin, Texas, Mélat is the eclectic soul of modern RnB. Mélat tells a story that is both challenging and inspiring crafted from her very own life experiences. It is a pure and honest reflection of her soul. From love, lust, success, to failure Mélat sings of what it means to be a human being simply longing to “be”.

For Mélat, the daughter of Ethiopian parents who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s, being different comes naturally. Along with her rich voice, it’s her rich heritage, upbringing and worldview that gives her music its soul. Just like the singer’s signature white-blonde curls and fascinating story, Mélat’s music is intriguing and unique—qualities that stand out brilliantly on her new album, Move Me II: The Present. @beholdmalet

Ley Line

The four women of Ley Line first crossed paths in Colorado in 2013. After meeting at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a spontaneous adventure to the Piedra River hot springs marked the musical merging of Austinites Kate Robberson and Emilie Basez with twin sisters Madeleine and Lydia Froncek. Ley Line’s sound is grounded in the dynamic harmony of the four members whose diverse musical personalities moves them fluidly across genres. Songs rooted in blues, soul, and folk are infused with rhythms from Brazil, Latin America and West Africa. Vivid lyrics and innovative instrumentation express the peaks and valleys of the human experience. 


Sari Andoni is an accomplished musician, neuroscientist and activist. Born near the city of Bethlehem, Palestine, Sari learned music at a young age with his first performance at the age of 6. After coming to the United States for his higher education, Sari was able to combine a career in science and music. His passion for knowledge and his creativity in the arts enabled him to publish his discoveries in auditory neuroscience in world-renowned journals and textbooks. He currently collaborates with various artists from diverse backgrounds and genres including Jazz, Indian, Classical, Brazilian and Latin music. He is the founder of two successful music projects in Austin, Layalina, which performs traditional and classical Arabic music, and Indimaj, a fusion group that interweaves elements of Arabic, Indian and Jazz music into creative compositions and improvisations. Sari studied Arabic music and oud performance at Edward Said Conservatory in Palestine and under great oud masters, including Rahim Alhaj, Simon Shaheen and Charbel Rouhana. He has performed in many countries including Germany, Spain, Egypt, Jordan and various cities within the US.


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St. Andrew's Dell Fine Arts Theater

5901 Southwest Pkwy, Austin, TX 78735, USA

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