From a portrait of a silent film director to a 10 year old with dreams of becoming a professional fighter, the 12th annual Lunafest short film festival, which takes place at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 11, shines a spotlight on issues facing girls and women of all ages.
Lunafest features nine short films, everything from animated to documentaries. Lunafest, a primary fundraiser for projects of the Manhattan Beach branch of Soroptimist International, is a traveling showcase for women filmmakers dedicated to improving the lives of girls and women globally.
“Funds raised continue to support SIMB’s many initiatives such as the global 'Dream It, Be It' program, which is career support for high school aged girls,” said Soroptimist chair Monica Frey. “This is part of the long-running 'Live Your Dream' programs providing Education and Training Awards for Women. The Soroptimist Dream Programs ensure women and girls have access to the education and training they need.”
Started in 2000 by the makers of the LUNA nutritional bar, Lunafest hosts more than 180 screenings across the country yearly and has raised more than $4.1 million for local causes and the Breast Cancer Fund.
Anne Edgar, co-founder of documentary film company Artifact Studios, and Megan Brotherton, comedy director for “Funny or Die,” are the guest speakers.
Edgar's short, “Girls Level Up,” is a profile of Laila Shabir, founder of Girls Make Games, which offers camps and workshops designed to teach girls how to create their own video games.
Edgar said the gaming industry right now is similar to Hollywood, where women have not had many opportunities to break into the video game market.
“It's a bit of a snapshot of what it's like for little girls to make their own games,” said Edgar, who is writer, director, entrepreneur and advocate for girls and women in STEAM education. “It's a bit of a back story about Laila who grew up in a conservative Muslim family in the Middle East, where basically if she and her parents hadn't kind of bucked convention, she really would not have had an education and probably would have married at an early age.”
Brotherton's short, “Buttercup” was inspired by a dream she had about her best friend.
“It's about grief and loss, basically its helped me through my own experience with grief and really finding peace with the people I've lost in my life,” Brotherton said.
“Buttercup,” shot on a farm in central Idaho, has made the festival circuit since 2016. It was last screened at the Sedona International Film Festival last week. She said a festival like Lunafest is a “dream come true” for short filmmakers since there are few platforms that distribute them. Her short has screened from Alaska to Florida, thanks to Lunafest
“My film plays really well on the big screen,” Brotherton said. “I think there's something special about seeing a film with a community … it's like live theater when you watch something as a collective. I think it's more powerful.”
The event takes place from 2 to 5 pm., at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, which is located at 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Light appetizers and wine are provided. Tickets are $20.