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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    LUNAFEST of female filmmakers


    The UA Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and Clif Bar and Company are teaming up again to feature female filmmakers at the 10th annual Tucson LUNAFEST.

    Beginning Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Loft Cinema, eight short films will be screened, all of which are made by, about and for women as part of the LUNAFEST traveling film festival. The festival endeavors to traverse the nation, screening women’s short films in order to promote independent female filmmakers, bringing communities together through a love of cinema and raising money for charities centered around women’s issues.

    Each year, the people at Clif Bar and Company receive around 900 short film submissions for the next year’s festival, and after a careful selection process, a panel of judges chooses which eight or nine films would be the best to exhibit. Each year’s films have a variety of subjects and appeal to various ages, so people of any age or background can find something they will enjoy.

    “There are a lot of films in there about female bonding, parent and child relationships, breaking social boundaries,” said Leigh D. C. Spencer, program coordinator of the gender and women’s studies department and coordinator of Tucson LUNAFEST.

    Spencer has been involved in LUNAFEST since she began working at the UA, which was the second year the festival made a stop in Tucson.

    Tucson’s LUNAFEST is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, but the festival actually began in 2000. Originally, the event was tied to another one of Clif Bar and Company’s programs that chose a female undergraduate student to work with them and be trained in marketing, philanthropy and special events.

    As part of this program, women were involved with putting together a LUNAFEST for their community and deciding which charity to raise money for through the screening. One of the students involved was from the UA and chose to donate a portion of the funds to the Women’s Studies Advisory Council, the nonprofit associated with the department of gender and women’s studies.

    The festival’s first year was a success in Tucson and became an annual event. Although the leadership program was shut down several years ago due to lack of funding, LUNAFEST has stuck around because of its immense popularity around the country.

    In its second year in Tucson, the traveling festival sold out at Gallagher Theater and had to move venues to the larger and more accommodating Loft. Since then, the festival has had a steadily growing audience and was packed last year, with 450 of the 500 seats in the theater filled.

    LUNAFEST events around the country donate part of their proceeds to a local nonprofit benefitting women, as Tucson’s festival does with WOSAC. However, the main beneficiary of the festival across the nation is the Breast Cancer Fund. This nonprofit organization endeavors to fight breast cancer by educating people about their risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer and the things they can do to try to lower that risk.

    Out of each dollar made from LUNAFEST, 15 cents is given to the BCF, and 85 cents is given to the host’s chosen local charity, thus contributing 100 percent of all LUNAFEST proceeds to local and nationwide nonprofit organizations. General admission tickets are being sold at $10 and student tickets are at $5.

    There will also be a raffle for a custom LUNAFEST hanging art quilt that audience members can participate in.

    According to Spencer, the combination of the audience, shorts, charity and celebration of female filmmakers give the festival an atmosphere that must be experienced.

    “You’ve got, like, 400 random people sitting in the theater, strangers, and they’re all getting up and cheering,” Spencer said. “It’s just amazing to be a part of something that’s so obviously inspirational to people.”


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