The Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition is the focus of one of the seven shorts in the Lunafest film festival, which will benefit the Soroptimist International of Manhattan Beach on May 1. (photo courtesy of Soroptimist International of Manhattan Beach)

For the 15th year, Soroptimist International of Manhattan Beach will benefit from cinematic talent when Lunafest returns virtually Saturday, May 1.

Seven shorts from women filmmakers highlight the annual event, from which 100% of ticket sales will benefit Soroptimist programs for women and girls. Topics this year range from the women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole expedition to the nonagenarian artist Betye Saar.

“We’re proud of our long association in bringing outstanding films to a greater audience,” said Kelly Fogarty, vice president of membership at Soroptimist of Manhattan Beach.

Luna helped the filmmakers reach a bigger audience, Fogarty said, by connecting them to resources such as Chicken & Egg Pictures, a foundation that offers grants and mentorship.

Lunafest was founded in 2001 by the makers of the LUNA nutritional bar and is billed as the “world’s first all-women traveling film festival." The organization hosts more than 200 screenings across the country yearly and has raised more than $6 million for local women’s causes, according to its website.

In April 2020, Lunafest was scheduled to take place in Redondo Beach, but the coronavirus pandemic shut it down until June, when the festival took place virtually for the first time.

The virtual screening begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1, for a 48-hour viewing window. Tickets include a snack bag of popcorn and candy. Ticket buyers can opt-in and festival organizers will send a pick-up date. There is also a beer or wine option for those at least 21 years old.

Soroptimist International, meanwhile, is also celebrating its centennial this year.

“Our members have seen the impact of the pandemic on the women and girls we serve," Fogarty said, "and we have responded with more online programs."


Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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