LUNAFEST: UConn Women’s Center empowers community members through short film

Students and faculty watch films from the annual LUNAFEAST film festival in Konover Auditorium on Thursday, April 6th. LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Students and faculty watch films from the annual LUNAFEAST film festival in Konover Auditorium on Thursday, April 6th. LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Women directors were celebrated and featured at the annual LUNAFEST Film Festival Thursday afternoon at Konover Auditorium on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus.

Since 2008, the Women’s Center at UConn has presented this event annually, featuring a series of short films by women from across the globe.  The event’s proceeds go towards the Breast Cancer Fund in addition to a local non-profit organization, with this year’s organization being the Women’s Center.

The program began with a trailer created by “LUNAFEST” to preface the films that were to follow.  “LUNAFEST” film festival, established in 2000, travels to over 150 cities in the country to feature short films by women and to empower others, as mentioned in the opening trailer.

This year’s film festival featured nine films shown back to back, all written and filmed in unique ways to address a series of real-world issues.  

Some of the films had a very serious message to convey.  The first film, “Free to Laugh,” was a documentary about women recovering from life in prison before they are released back into the world for the first time in years.

“Another Kind of Girl,” was a documentary of a 17-year-old Syrian girl in a refugee camp, showing how it was a window of opportunity to build a life she could not otherwise have in Syria.

“[The film] was relevant, especially with what’s in the news right now,” said second-semester English and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies major, Mary Hogan.  “It really humanized the situation.”  

More light-hearted films were also included “Join the Club,” which told the story of female author ranting about her membership to a networking club, and “The Honeys and Bears,” was both about a synchronized swim team for senior women by the same name.

Although there were few in attendance, the audience was diverse, drawing in both students and adults, and those who came said they enjoyed the films shown.

“I was interested in seeing films by women for women, as [the slogan] says,” said Hogan.  “I was happily satisfied.”

“The first film brought a tear to my eye, like at the end when the woman said ‘I want people to remember me for me and my smile,’” said second-semester psychology and WGSS major Liza Rice.  “It’s a new perspective.  These women are find new ways to re-enter themselves into society after being in prison.”

As associate director of the Women’s Center Kathy Fischer was a part of the preparation for this event, and has always enjoy the experience.

“It’s always really diverse films and they’re very real,” said Fischer.  “People can resonate with [the films] in different ways.  You can see the world through someone else’s lens, through short film, and they’re always powerful.”


Lucille Littlefield is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucille.littlefield@uconn.edu.