On Saturday, November 5, Concord Academy’s Intersectional Feminist Organization (IFO) hosted LUNAFEST. LUNAFEST is the first traveling film festival with all-women filmmakers, focused on “films by women about women.” This is important as cinema is a very male-dominated industry. Along with screening these films, LUNAFEST donates the proceeds from each festival to a different organization for women’s causes, such as breast cancer research or Girls on the Run (a program that empowers girls through running). This organization was founded by LUNA, the first nutrition bar marketed towards women, and had its first event in 2001. LUNAFEST has since collaborated with over 170 different women filmmakers and raised more than 6.5 million dollars. The festival’s stated mission is to have a positive impact on our society through the money it raises as well as the awareness it spreads about important societal issues.
This year’s film festival was focused on themes of connection, hope, and compassion. There were eight total features, each around five to 15 minutes long. One of the films was Close Ties to Home Country by Akanksha Cruczynski. Close Ties was a true story about an immigrant who works as a dog walker for a wealthy family, and focused on her connection to her sister. Another one of the films was Between the Lines: Liz at Large by Abi Cole. This film follows an artist who becomes the first Black woman cartoonist in the New Yorker after being upset by the insufficient character diversity and making her own illustrations. The content of these films is both intriguing and impactful in terms of drawing attention to systemic problems. “I think […] representation of all kinds of stories is important, especially so when the directors are sharing their own stories,” said Camilla Breckon ’23, one of the IFO co-heads. IFO also believes that women’s access to health care is important, as they chose to donate the proceeds of this year’s LUNAFEST film festival to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that helps people with their reproductive health care and sex education. Given the current struggle with reproductive rights and the ability to choose, donating to this organization was a valuable step in supporting people’s ability to make their own decisions regarding their health care.
Many people outside of the CA community attended LUNAFEST, but only 21 CA students came to this event. LUNAFEST provides people with a space to view films that combat the lack of representation of women in the film industry, along with collecting money to support the needs of women in this area. The IFO co-heads believe these causes are important and hope the CA community will continue supporting this organization.