Weekend Roundup: Event Spotlight: LUNAFEST

Tracy Ko/Daily
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By Emilie Plesset, Weekend Roundup Editor
Published November 12, 2014

The University’s chapter of Students Against Rape will bring LUNAFEST, a traveling film festival, to campus Thursday evening in the Rackham Amphitheatre. Funded by LUNA, the makers of the women’s nutritional bar, LUNAFEST screens short films created by and about women.

Each year, LUNA chooses eight short films to feature and then selects organizations to bring the festival to 150 cities throughout North America. This year’s event will be the second time the festival will be brought to campus since 2007.

“LUNAFEST celebrates women film makers and women in that industry who don’t always get recognition,” said LSA senior Audrey Parenti, president of University Students Against Rape. “It celebrates women who are doing great things.”

The films range from 10 to 15 minutes in duration and include the works of female filmmakers from around the world. Many of the films represent women of various ages, time periods, countries and backgrounds through different filmmaking techniques and animation.

Some of the films featured this year include “Tryouts,” which follows a Muslim American teenager in her pursuit to join her high school cheerleading team and “Flor de Toloache,” which documents an all-female mariachi band and the obstacles they face by challenging traditional gender roles.

All of the event’s proceeds will be donated to charity. While 15 percent of the money will be donated to the Breast Cancer Fund, LUNAFEST’s primary beneficiary, most of the money will help University Students Against Rape organize their annual Take Back the Night Ann Arbor Rally in April.

“At the same time as having fun, hopefully the event provokes a conversation about sexual assault on our campus,” Parenti said. “Possibly get people to talk about remedies and just talking about the topics in general.”

The Take Back the Night rally is an international march that raises awareness for sexual assault and supports its survivors. The event includes speakers and performances, which are then followed by a march around Ann Arbor.

“The rally is something that really raises awareness for sexual assault,” Parenti said. “We want to celebrate our survivors.”

After screening the films, University Students Against Rape leaders will read sexual assault survivors’ stories to promote the Take Back the Night rally and awareness about the issues.

A reception will follow the film screenings with donuts and coffee donated by Washtenaw Dairy and Starbucks.