Origin Story

This piece is written by NMLFF Executive Director, Aisha Weinhold.

No Man’s Land Film Festival was birthed at sea. I had been on bow watch now for nearly an hour, wrestling with the conundrum of what to do once this five weeks of removal from real life came to an end. I had signed up for a program to sail across the Pacific Ocean - a voyage that we stretched to nearly 5 weeks. 

I had signed up for this trip on a whim. I received an email on my birthday reading, “Apply for Free.” And somewhere in my diluted mind, I assumed that if I were admitted during this period, that my tuition would be free - a birthday miracle. Sadly, not the case.

I had spent my last year “escaping.” Escaping from parents, relationships, boys, work…you name it, I was probably running from it. I ran away from college into the Cascades and then ran from the Cascades to Boston and then to Hawaii via sailboat. I was lost, to say the least - but I was having a GREAT time.

On bow watch, I was struck with the idea of No Man’s Land. Initially, I wanted to call it “Yeah, Braa.” Fortunately, I have good girlfriends who turned me in a different direction.

Ever since October 2011, I have been obsessed. Films and females have taken over my life, and just in the knick of time. Not only is NMLFF a platform for inspiring women to reach out and inspire one another, it is also a savior. In my roughest times, I have had NML to lean on and the wonderful ladies and gentlemen that support it. 

NMLFF got me through breakups, being alone, snowless days, shitty friends, directionlessness, and boosted me through finals week and beyond. It's crazy how excited it makes a lady when you get a submission or a reply from anyone that you reached out to. Maybe I am easy to please, but No Man’s Land has saved me, continues to daily, and I want to spread this amazing support with as many females as possible. Men are invited too, but we all know why we are really here. 

Adventurers Unite!

<3 Aisha