Soroptimist International of Oak Harbor is once again hosting the national film festival, Lunafest, which is described as “films by women, for women and about women.”
Nine films will be shown the evening of March 27 at the Elks Lodge in Oak Harbor. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and light hors’ d oeuvres. Screenings begin at 6:15 p.m. General tickets are $12; students $5.
Lunafest was launched in 2000 by the company that makes Luna energy bars as a way to showcase and champion women in film.
“It’s about giving women the opportunity to tell their stories and opening the door for filmmakers who might not otherwise be given the chance to show their art,” Kit Crawford, Clif/Luna Bar owner, said in a press release.
There are 2.13 male short-film directors to every one female director, according to Lunafest research.
The company encourages local groups to host the traveling film festival as fundraisers for causes benefitting women and girls.
Proceeds from the event will help fund Soroptimist local programs that improve lives of women and girls with awards, scholarships, mentorships and grants, said Marilee Paddock. The group also funds free heart screenings and mammograms for low-income women.
Proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle will also help sponsor the “Dream It Be It Program” for local high school girls.
Lunafest screenings are in more than 175 cities across the nation.
The festival is a perfect fit with the mission of Soroptimist, Paddock said. Soroptimist is a Latin word, meaning “best for women.”
“Improving the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment,” is the goal, Paddock said, all accomplished through volunteers.
Soroptimist International of Oak Harbor also runs the popular thrift store, Upscale Resale.
“We are an international organization with the same mission throughout the world,” Paddock said.
“The films that the Luna Company has chosen for Lunafest come to us from around the globe. The films are by women, for women and about women. Everyone can relate, even if the film is with subtitles.”
A local filmmaker will also make her debut.
Oak Harbor High School sophomore Anna Kate Fahey made a short film called “Travel with Cheerios.”
“The video concerns fellow student Emma Wezeman who caught the attention of General Mills when she started posting artistic photos of Cheerios,” Paddock said. Fahey produced it at OHHS Digital Filmmaking/Wildcat TV Productions, which is run by students.
This year’s Lunafest lineup include stories of many cultures, some conflict and some comedy.
“Girls Level Up” is about young Pakistani women who grew up in a conservative Muslim neighborhood in the Middle East helping Silicon Valley middle school girls realize their dream of designing their own video game.
“Fanny Pack” is a comedy about a young Indian-American woman who wants to follow her dreams and a fanny pack-clad Indian father who chases his daughter through an airport hoping that she will follow his.
A Korean-owned nail salon in a Connecticut strip mall is the site of a tale of romantic competition in “Joy Joy Nails,” where “claws come out and the terrible truth under the varnish is revealed.”
“Waiting for Hassana” tackles the much more sobering topic of the kidnapping of 276 teenage girls by the extremist organization, Boko Haram. It’s a harrowing first-person account of one girl’s escape from captivity and a heart-wrenching lament for her closest friend Hassana — one of the many girls who are still unaccounted for.
Tickets for Lunafest are available at Upscale Resale, 210 SE Pioneer Way.