I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.
– Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
Save the date: On Saturday, March 8th, at 7:30pm in the El Cerrito High School Auditorium, the Lunafest East Bay Organizing Committee will present its screening of Lunafest: A film festival by, for, about women. As members of the Lunfest East Bay Organizing Committee, we were honored and treated to watching the nine short films at the World Premiere in San Francisco last Thursday. You can catch a trailer of this year’s short films by clicking on the link on Lunafest’s home page.
‘Did you catch it?’ The indomitable spirit
Before the screening, special guest Dr. Stacy L. Smith from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, talked about her research on gender and film, which I blogged about this past Monday. You can read it here. Following Dr. Smith’s talk, President and CEO of The Breast Cancer Fund, Jeanne Rizzo, RN, spoke. The Breast Cancer Fund, a nonprofit focusing on the identification and advocacy for the elimination of the environmental causes of breast cancer, is a major recipient of funds raised by Lunafest. Rizzo walked onstage with a cane and announced that she had pushed back her knee replacement surgery in order to attend the world premiere. When numerous people asked her how she had hurt her knee and she told them she was playing beach Frisbee, she said her answer elicited three distinct responses that exposed a generational bias. Women her age and older either winced in sympathy or demanded to know why she would put herself in that position as an older woman playing such a physical sport. But then there was a group of women who wanted to know with great interest and excitement: “Did you catch it?” Rizzo proudly affirmed that she had caught the Frisbee, which drew applause from the audience. “I had a moment in the air that felt great,” she exuded. “I connected to the indomitable spirit.”
In highlighting that indomitable spirit, Rizzo was referencing the work of Lunafest, the creativity and inspiration of the nine women filmmakers, and every one of us out in the audience. It was quite infectious. The message is to bring our own indomitable spirit to bear. Bring it to the surface. Be free, unencumbered. Bring it out of us and create our own “Did you catch it?” moment.
Nine short films
The nine short films chosen for this year’s Lunafest are refreshingly diverse – documentary, animation, comedy, drama – a really lovely mix:
Granny’s Got Game: “Seven fiercely competitive women in their 70s bond and play winning basketball, proving you are never too old to do what you love,” by Director Angela Alford of Raleigh, NC.
Flying Anne: “A young girl with Tourette’s syndrome takes ‘flight’ to navigate life with her tics,” by Director Catherine van Campen of the Netherlands.
Sidewalk: “A woman walks through life, confronts her changing body and learns to love herself,” by Director Celia Bullwinkel of New York, NY.
First Match: “A determined female wrestler prepares for her first coed high school match,” by Director Olivia Newman of Brooklyn. (The young wrestler attended the San Francisco world premiere. According to one of our organizing committee members who spoke with her at the breakfast the following morning, she is still wrestling and majoring in philosophy at a college in upstate New York – quite the combination.)
Sound Shadows: “Enter a world where sound gives shape to space,” by Director Julie Engaas of Oslo, Norway. (Another one of my favorites)
Maria of Many: “Meet Maria – Mexican immigrant, domestic worker, committed mom, and activist,” by Director Alexandra Liveris of Palo Alto. (Liveris will be Lunafest East Bay Organizing Committee’s honored guest at the El Cerrito screening in March.)
Running Dry: “A woman impacted by economic hardships journeys into contemporary Athens,” by Director Dimitra Nikolopoulou of Athens, Greece. (A favorite of mine)
Date with Fate: “When it comes to blind dating, some things are meant to be – whether you like it or not,” by Director Venetia Taylor of Sydney, Australia.
Tiny Miny Magic: “When Sam and her mailman exchange presents via her mailbox, an unexpected love connection blossom,” by Director Danielle Lurie of New York, NY. (While I loved all of them, I was very fond of this little gem.)
This is a perfect outing for a Girls’ Night Out or Women’s Night Out. A few friends who came for the first time with their teenaged daughters this past March found it a great Mother-Daughter Movie Night. Conversely, bringing your male counterparts – husbands and sons – also makes for an enjoyable evening with potential for interesting follow-up conversations. Mark your calendars for March 8th, and make plans for a great evening of community, friendship, inspiration, and creativity.