I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.
– By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer
It’s been a week since the LUNAFEST East Bay event. While the final numbers aren’t in yet, the East Bay Committee met its goal of increasing our audience and increasing how much money we raised for the Breast Cancer Fund and El Cerrito High School’s Information Technology Academy (ITA), our beneficiaries. More than 300 watched the films “by, for, about women,” with nary an empty seat in the main part of the theater. Just as important, our aim of a 20-percent increase in funds raised after expenses is definitely within reach.
Some 175 cities or organizations have hosted a LUNAFEST film festival, and some of them are within the San Francisco East Bay. But one of the things that I feel distinguishes LUNAFEST East Bay for our audience is the sense of community that people enjoy. Anna Schumacher, filmmaker of Finding June, told me after the event: “El Cerrito is always there to support. I saw parents of old friends I haven’t seen in a half a decade or more – old friends who live on the other coast even. But those parents, and those alumni, come because the community has shaped them, their families, and El Cerrito folks will always pay that forward.”
A good friend, Wendy Johnson, came for the first time with her daughter, Lindsay, who is in high school. She sent me an email the following week, and she enthusiastically let me know: “I’ve been saying for months that this was the year I wasn’t going to miss it, and I’m so glad we went! Lindsay and I really enjoyed ourselves. It felt like the events in El Cerrito that remind you that it is a small town. I saw people we knew from soccer, scouts, and Harding Elementary School (of course).” That’s what is unique about LUNAFEST East Bay.
And now, what better way to tell the story of LUNAFEST 2016 than through pictures. Here we go:
Isabella, Wyatt, and Dylan – ready to sell, sell, sell those raffle tickets at the VIP event.
Chair Joann Steck-Bayat, Peggy Murphy, and Laurie Schumacher, whose daughter is one of the filmmakers this year, share a toast before the VIP guests arrive.
The finger food is on the table….
Our bartenders are ready to pour wine and beer….
Our two piano players playing for tips….
Our second piano player tickling the ivories.
Me, Joann, Laurie, and Joann’s husband, Hossain.
Raising money for good causes across the country.
El Cerrito High School Information Technology Academy students volunteer to help serve food at the VIP event.
The weather was nice enough to hang out in the backyard of Joann’s lovely home.
Peggy engages filmmaker Meg Smaker in conversation at the VIP event.
Dylan killin’ it with raffle ticket sales.
Committee members Jeannine Pagan and Anja Hakoshima share a moment at the VIP event.
Filmmaker Anna Schumacher enjoying the food at the VIP event.
Yummy sliders, anyone? Our ITA students were fabulous ambassadors for El Cerrito High School.
Enjoying the food and wine, and being outside on a lovely mid-March evening.
A reminder of why we’re here.
The GoPro team, distinguished by their sport jackets, pose with one of the ITA students before going on the move capturing the evening on camera.
East Bay Committee member Peggy did a smashing job as emcee of the film festival at the El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater.
At the on-stage interview before the screening, I asked the filmmakers to talk about the inspiration for their film. Meg Smaker, filmmaker of Boxeadora, discusses finding the story that nobody is telling but that needs to be told.
Anna Schumacher and Matt Takimoto discuss the inspiration for Finding June – the movie and the score, respectively.
Filmmakers Meg Smaker and Anna Schumacher, Finding June composer Matt Takimoto, and yours truly as interviewer and author.
LUNAFEST filmmakers hamming it up at the photo booth, from left to right, Ruan Du Plessis (director of photography for Finding June), Anna, Matt, and Meg.
Artist Lauren Ari and her daughter make LUNAFEST an annual mother/daughter tradition.
A group of friends sharing a memory at the photo booth.
Good friend Wendy Johnson and her daughter Lindsay at the photo booth.
Raffle prizes on display!
We had a successful raffle, with a GoPro camera and several themed baskets of goodies.
Just another successful LUNAFEST with the East Bay Committee members – sans Beth, Rebecca, and Laurie. Until next year….