On Wednesday, March 11, the Women’s Center at the University of Connecticut hosted its 2020 LUNA Fest, a travelling film festival that gives female filmmakers the chance to share their stories. For almost 20 years now, 150 artists have been given a voice with LUNA Fest, helping to make a difference with their films by raising funds for local women’s causes in around 200 cities.
This year, flyers around campus with the slogan “E for Rated Equal: Films By And About Women” earned the film screenings a large audience. When the doors opened, audiences enjoyed free giveaways and photo opportunities. Among some of the free giveaways were Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Gel Cleansers, Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Leave-In Miracle Nectar, Garnier Fructis Style Shine+Hold Liquid Pomade, Lemonzest+Blueberry Luna Nutrition Bars, Peanut Butter+Chocolate Luna Nutrition Bars and pizza.
Before the films were screened, a representative from the Women’s Center gave an introduction to what LUNA Fest is all about, explaining that LUNA has been fighting for equality for quite some time now.
“LUNA is committed to inspiring women, championing change and demanding that equality be a right, not an option,” according to the event program.
This year’s event lasted two and a half hours, during which a total of seven short films were shared with students and the general public. The films ranged between nine and 16 minutes and were comprised of issues surrounding sexual abuse, transphobia, toxic masculinity, struggles of the glass ceiling and sexism/misogyny.
One work celebrated during this year’s festival was “Ballet After Dark” by B. Monét of New York and Los Angeles. In her film, a young woman creates an organization to help other sexual and domestic abuse survivors through dance therapy after her own attack.
Another memorable film screened at the festival, “There You Are” by Lisa Donato of Austin, Texas, brings into focus the struggles of a trans woman who is put under pressure to dress like a man to say goodbye to her dying grandmother. In this film, the main character’s message is shared despite never speaking a word. The protagonist is able to live more happily at the end of the film when her mother comes to terms with her daughter’s identity, loving her unconditionally.
Other great films showcased this year were “Purl” by Kristen Lester and Libbert-Duncan, “XMas Cake — This American Shelf-Life” by Petra Hanson and May Yam, “Game” by Jeannie Donohoe, “How to Swim” by Noa Gusakov and “Lady Parts” by Erin Rye and Jessica Sherif.
After the showing, members of the audience were excited to stick around for raffle prize drawings. Winners received coupons to the Dairy Bar or for a meal at Subway (in the Student Union).
Not only were viewers happy to join in on the freebies, but they were able to learn about the work that goes into this film festival. This year, LUNA also partnered with Chicken and Egg Pictures, “a leading nonprofit organization advocating gender equality within the film industry.”
Be sure to check out future LUNA Fest events hosted by the Women’s Center in years to come! There’s always more room for people to come and celebrate Women’s History Month.
Clara Gomes is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at email@example.com.