Tonight at 7 p.m., the traveling film festival LunaFest is making a stop in the Isla Vista Theater to showcase nine award-winning short films concentrating around diverse topics and issues within the female community and raise money for local and national organizations.
The event is hosted by the UCSB Women, Gender and Sexual Equity Department and all proceeds will go towards funding for various organizations such as the Campus Advocacy Resources & Education Emergency Advocacy Fund and the Breast Cancer Fund. According to Event Coordinator Hannah Brown, the festival focuses on providing a spotlight for women filmmakers who are often underrepresented in mainstream media.
Brown said the goal of the festival is to unite a wide range of groups on campus and reach out to students through film and philanthropy.
“The purpose of Lunafest is to bring together the campus community through film,” Brown said. “It aims to provide a fun and relaxing environment to showcase films by, for and about women.”
According to Brown, the event’s films all focus on celebrating gender and shedding light on the struggles faced by women within their communities. She said the event particularly aims to showcase the strength of women with agency.
“Each film has a different story and a different message, so I expect each person to be impacted differently,” Brown said. “Some explore gender and others explore sexual equity. Someone might be inspired to start a business by the short documentary or re-think their relationship because of another film.”
According to Jill Dunlap, director of the Rape Prevention and Education Program as well as the Women’s Center Programs at the WGSE, the application process to request LunaFest to come to Isla Vista proved competitive and difficult.
“Campuses have to be applied and selected. Hannah Brown, the coordinator of the event, took the time to make our campus’s application look good,” Dunlap said. “The fact that LunaFest selected us as one of the campuses makes it kind of a big deal. It is a really great opportunity.”
Dunlap said the event has proven to be successful and well-received in her previous experiences at other campuses.
“I think [Lunafest] is fitting and perfect because what it is trying to demonstrate is working for equity for women in all fields, inclusion of women in the film industry where we can have an impact. The stories produced are great educational pieces for women,” Dunlap said. “We brought Lunafest to the last campus I worked at and the directors talked about how important it was to them, that there were women-directed films. They are really empowering and powerful.”
Admission cost to the festival is $5. Free Luna Bars will be provided for all attendees. For more information on Lunafest, visit www.lunafest.org.