A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform.
– Diane Mariechild, American author and lecturer on women and Buddhism
Only 14 more days until LUNAFEST! The one-evening women’s film festival, hosted by the LUNAFEST East Bay Committee, will be presented on Saturday evening, 7:30pm, at the El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Center, 540 Ashbury Avenue, El Cerrito, CA. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet to this inspiring film festival, let me offer you 10 inspiring reasons to go.
1. Come to the VIP event preceding LUNAFEST at 6pm, 638 Clayton Avenue, El Cerrito, CA, a block away from the film screening. Mingle with our honored guests, Jeanne Rizzo, RN, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, and filmmakers Emily Fraser and Katherine Gorringe. This year, personal chef Sirona Skinner Nixon and her wife and partner, Sinead O’Rourke, of S&S Foods, are creating amazing food for our event, which is being paired with wine and beer, donated by local businesses Grey Fox Vineyards (90 Grey Fox Lane, Oroville, CA 95966, 530.589.3920), Trumer Brauerie (1404 4th St., Berkeley, 94710, 510.526.1160) and Lagunitas Brewing Company (1280 N. McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma, CA, 94954, 707.769.4495). Get your VIP tickets here, or contact me.
2. While at the VIP event – or if you are just going to the film festival – find a friendly raffle ticket seller and buy tickets to try to win some amazing prizes, including a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, donated by the Whittier Education Foundation, and a GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition, donated by GoPro. The LUNAFEST East Bay Committee has been incredibly fortunate to have wonderful local businesses support our fundraising efforts with donations. Check out our raffle board to see other bundled prizes.
3. This year, Tatsumaki Taiko, a group of women Taiko drummers, including breast cancer survivors, will be entertaining attendees before the film festival, in front of the ECHS Performing Arts Center, beginning at 7pm. Taiko is an ancient Japanese form of percussion using large drums that has evolved into a complex musical art form that features tightly choreographed movements that are aligned with Japanese martial arts. Linger outside and appreciate the loud, hard, and fast music!
4. The main beneficiary of the traveling LUNAFEST film festival is the Breast Cancer Fund, whose tagline is “Prevention Starts Here” and whose mission is “to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.” Please learn more about what this important nonprofit organization – backed by peer-reviewed scientific research – is doing to educate and protect women about the dangers we face in our environment. As the Breast Cancer Fund entreats: “Together we can stop this disease before it starts.” Get educated and be an advocate. Do it for yourself and your friends. Do it for your daughters and granddaughters – and, really, your whole family.
5. Support El Cerrito High School’s Information Technology Academy (ITA), the main local beneficiary of the LUNAFEST East Bay Committee’s festival. In the past, LUNAFEST proceeds have enabled the ITA to provide its students with a classroom set of digital drawing tablets, cameras, lights, and a 3D printer. This small learning community is supported by TechFutures, a nonprofit organization established by Mr. and Mrs. Ron Whittier to give underserved West Contra Costa Unified School District students an opportunity to have career-focused courses in digital art and computer systems management subjects. To boot, ITA teacher Melody Shah is also a LUNAFEST East Bay Committee member.
6. Be inspired by our LUNAFEST welcome, which will be given by Jeanne Rizzo, RN, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund. I was honored to have interviewed her in February and learned about her incredibly full life and the passion and compassion fueling it. Learn about her here. Be inspired by her in person. And by all means, meet her in the lobby after the screening. You will go home wanting to fulfill, or continue fulfilling, your own life!
7. Filmmakers Emily Fraser and Katherine Gorringe, whose short film “Lady Parts” was chosen for this year’s LUNAFEST, will be featured in a brief on-stage interview before the film screening. They will discuss the making of “Lady Parts” – “in an industry dominated by men, Lady Parts Automotive brings a woman’s touch.” Read about these amazing women and what inspires them, and meet them after the screening.
8. See eight great short films “for, by, about women.” This year’s selections once again celebrate the diversity of women’s lives and viewpoints as shared through the eyes of nine women filmmakers. One of the goals of LUNAFEST is “connecting women through film,” which is especially urgent and poignant in an industry where women representation is shamefully low. Let’s support women in film – from story to subject to filmmaker to producer to every other aspect of bringing a film to a hungry female audience – and celebrate their creativity, poetry, courage, and perseverance.
9. Stay a bit in the lobby after the screening and engage in conversation with family and friends about the eight great short films we all shared together. Enjoy a fresh cup of complimentary coffee donated by Kevin O’Neil and Jen Komaromi of Well Grounded Tea & Coffee Bar (6925 Stockton Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530, 510.528.4709), who have generously supported LUNAFEST and other local fundraising efforts. Indulge in a cupcake or cookie baked by Pam and Ron Braxton of Braxtons’ Boxes, who were part of our Dessert Circle last year and sold out of their wonderfully baked goods. A big shout-out to Zachary Braxton, who charmed attendees with his big smile and great customer service. Support our local businesses on the 21st and beyond!
10. Seize the evening! Make a women’s night out of LUNAFEST. Share a special evening with your daughter (and/or son!). Bring your whole family. As women – multitasking nurturers and caregivers – we often don’t take time out for ourselves because we’re so caught up on making sure everyone else is fine. Do yourself a much-needed favor and enjoy a relaxing evening full of art across many different forms, beauty, knowledge about our health, friendship, family and community – all of which contribute to making our lives full. We have a lot to be thankful for, so celebrate big.