By Margaret Maynard
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
LunaFest, a traveling film festival that seeks to celebrate and inspire women through the art of film, makes a stop in Anderson on April 13. That day, nine short films produced by, for and about women will be presented at The Anderson Center for the Arts. The films celebrate the unique, touching and inspirational roles of women all over the world, while benefiting the local community through the Soroptimist International of Anderson.
“This season’s program of nine selected films will compel discussion, make you laugh, tug at your heartstrings and motivate you to make a difference in your community. Incredibly diverse in style and content, LunaFest is united by a common thread of exceptional storytelling — by, for and about women,” proclaims the LunaFest website, www.lunafest.org. A trailer of the films to be shown can be viewed on the website.
The festival takes its name from Luna, makers of the whole nutrition bar for women, which first established the festival in 2000.
100 percent of LunaFest proceeds are donated to charity. Some of the proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Fund, which identifies and advocates for the elimination of environmental and other preventable causes of the disease. In addition, each community that hosts the film festival benefits through the collaboration of a local nonprofit organization.
The festival comes to Anderson through the efforts of Soroptimist International of Anderson. This is the local chapter of an international service organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls. Soroptimists will raise funds for their projects by hosting the festival.
Sandy Leslie, fundraising co-chair for the Anderson Soroptimist organization, said that she read about LunaFest in a magazine.
“I read about it and presented the idea to our club members. We agreed it would be a perfect fit, so I applied and we were accepted,” said Leslie. She worked with Deborah Stapleton, executive director of The Anderson Center for the Arts, for the festival venue.
“Since the films shown are small, independent films chosen by a jury, they are a form of art and that seemed like the ideal location for showing them,” Leslie said.
Stapleton agrees that the center makes a great venue for the film festival. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to bring LunaFest to Anderson. There’s just such a wide gamut of films that are going to be shown,” Stapleton said.
Film subjects are diverse, ranging from a profile of the founder of a bicycle business, to lessons learned by a young gymnast at an elite training camp to a mother/daughter team selling tacos on their path to a better life,
“We’re thrilled to co-sponsor with the Soroptimists,” Stapleton said. “They do wonderful projects in the community.”
Anderson Soroptimists benefit the area in a number of ways. They make educational grants and awards for women and girls in the community, as well as provide support to the women’s domestic violence shelter Alternatives Inc., and send supplies to female Marines in war zones. They also advocate for awareness of women’s health issues and human trafficking.
“LunaFest has the potential to be a signature project for our group. We are hoping this is the first of many,” said Soroptimist President Cheryl Calder.
“I am impressed that we were able to tap into this nationwide project and bring it to our community,” said longtime member Marilyn Akers.
For more information on Soroptimist International of Anderson, call Calder at 765-602-5822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the Soroptimist website at www.soroptimist.org.