Eight years, eight films, one drink, lots of food, $10 — this year’s LUNAFEST film festival had something for everybody.
The University of Idaho Women’s Center hosted the eighth annual LUNAFEST Thursday at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center. Featuring eight short films, the festival began with a reception at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary drinks by Camas Prairie Winery and appetizers by Mikey’s Gyros.
“LUNAFEST is a fun activity,” said Heather Shea Gasser, director of the Women’s Center. “When people come to LUNAFEST on a Thursday night with all the other things going on, not only will they get to be a part of a community of people who are enthusiastic about seeing films made by, for and about women — but also it’s an event in itself.”
March is Women’s History Month, and Gasser said an event like this highlights the contributions of women to the film industry.
“If you watch the Academy Awards or any of the recent award shows, you know that women are really underrepresented in terms of filmmakers,” Gasser said. “(The festival) raises awareness about that lack of representation and also brings attention to some of the up and coming stars of the independent filmmaking industry.”
Although the films are made by women, they feature universal themes that appeal to all audiences, Gasser said.
“It’s not just this kind of feminist film fest and I think that it’s really applicable across all genders,” Gasser said. “I think people will find it to be very entertaining regardless of what their backgrounds are. I think what the Luna group does … is select a broad array of films that will appeal to a variety of different perspectives.”
This year’s films addressed a wide range of topics, including health, women’s athletic prowess, women and outdoor recreation activities, women’s art, relationships and personal identity, according to UI.
Vanessa Guillen was a volunteer and attendee at last year’s LUNAFEST event. She said men also benefit from the films, which highlight women’s issues.
“I got to talk to people (who attended), which movies were their favorites and their experiences,” Guillen said. “(They said the films) were great, most of them were super inspirational.”
Beyond the topics of the films, LUNAFEST is a platform for showcasing artistic expression, Gasser said.
“When we think about artistic expression, I don’t think we initially jump to films as a way of expressing one’s artistic perspectives,” Gasser said. “By bringing a film festival like this to campus, it allows for a different form of artistic expression to become more mainstream.”
Kaitlin Moroney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org