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Lunafest Promotes Women’s Films, Health

mspencers Icon Posted by Miranda Spencer

March 3rd, 2012

What could bring hundreds of diverse women (and a handful of men) to Philadelphia’s Lutheran Theological Seminary on a rainy Friday night? Not a sermon, but a celebration with a mission: Lunafest.

For more than a decade, the makers of the Luna energy bar have teamed up with the Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) – one of the few such nonprofits spotlighting environmental causes of the disease and focused on prevention – to mount a traveling festival of short films by and about women.

But Lunafest is also a fundraiser, donating ticket sales to the BCF and a local nonprofit or charity selected by the sponsoring organization, in this case Chestnut Hill Hospital Women’s Center. (Philly’s recipient is St. Catherine Laboure Medical Clinic, which provides health care to those without insurance, but fests in other cities and towns have supported everything from Soroptomist International to Alternatives to Domestic Violence.) It’s a kind of think-globally, act-locally strategy with something for everyone; the one I attended also featured a raffle that promoted community businesses.

As for the 9 films, they were as varied as they were thought-provoking and entertaining. This year’s offerings include:

    I Am a Girl! By Dutch filmmaker Susan Koenen, a portrait of a well-accepted transgendered teen
    Every Mother Counts, by American model-turned-filmmaker Christy Turlington, about obstetric fistula, a painful and common childbirth injury
    The Wind is Blowing on My Street, by Iranian-American filmmaker Saba Riazi, centered on a fictional student in Tehran who accidentally leaves the house without her headscarf
    Life Model (my favorite), from American Lori Petchers, a profile of a septuagenarian nude artist’s model and what she gives and gains from her profession

This season’s Lunafests started last fall and wrap up in June; find one near you, or organize one, by clicking the appropriate button at the website.

Maybe I sound like a commercial. But with all the attacks on women’s reproductive rights in Congress and state legislatures, and by certain “big fat idiot” radio personalities, it feels good to be able to report on something positive related to Women, Media, and …Health.

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