Share |


Occasionally, a woman takes up a movie camera. Occasionally, she turns her lens to capturing her own life, or the life of friends, or the lives of women we don’t often get to see.  Such are the films in LunaFest, a festival of short films by, for, about women, coming to Vashon Tuesday, February 7th at Vashon Theater as a fund-raiser for the Vashon Resettlement Committee.
Ex-con comediennes. Synchronized swimmers over-55. One woman seeks an unknown father. One finds safety in a hair salon. And the youngest, a 17-year-old Syrian girl, discovers joy, courage, and videography in a refugee camp.
“LunaFest is a “fund-raiser in a box” as it were,” says Liz Illg, a board member with the VSC. “The company who makes Luna Bars wanted to raise money to help eliminate causes of breast cancer in the environment, but with a multiplier effect out in the world. So LunaFest is offered by them as a fund-raising activity for local groups. 85% of the money we raise goes toward efforts of the Vashon Re-Settlement Committee, with 15% back to Luna’s campaign against breast cancer.”
Established in 2000 by LUNA, makers of the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, the LUNAFEST traveling film festival spotlights the work of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes. Here’s the 2017 line-up—
In “A Different Kind of Girl,” a 17-year-old Syrian girl reflects on how, in a bleak, cold refugee camp, she and her younger siblings discover their own inner resources for living larger, in ways they never even wanted, back home in Syria.
“I’ve been shot, cut, jumped out of windows, incarcerated. But the scariest thing of all is Falling in Love,”  says one former inmate in “Free to Laugh,” a story about teaching comedy skills to women just out of prison.  In Los Angeles director Joey Ally ’s film “Partners,” two young lesbians confront how tightly intertwined their work and personal lives have become.
In the film by Los Angeles filmmaker Eva VIves, a young New Yorker agonizes over whether to join a woman writers’ networking club.“You’re alone for years, working nights while everyone else is out there getting drunk, getting laid, and you’re just there reworking every word, just to have a Junior Editor tear out a THIRD of your BOOK just to make it ‘suitable for publication.’  Which you’re happy to hear, it’s what everyone wants to hear, even if they’re killing your vision, it’s okay!”  
In Belgium filmmaker Frederike Migom film “Nkosi Culture,” a white girl having an argument with her boyfriend on the streets of Brussels escapes into a Congolese hair salon. And there she finds safety, support, stories common in the bonds of womanhood… at least for awhile…
In Venna Rao’s film about a synchronized swim team of over-55s in Harlem, one elder lady admits,  “I never was a dancer, but I can DANCE in the water. I can turn upside down, I can spin, I can do all kinds of things I can’t do on land.”  To the melodies of the Nutcracker, watch these rubber-capped lovelies together do their graceful moves as they tell you what it’s like to be one of Harlem’s Honeys & Bears Synchronized Swim Team.
Doors open 5:30, program starts at 6, program runs for about 90 minutes, and end with audience discussion of the films and the work of the Vashon Resettlement Committee. Tickets are available online through (get tickets early) or at the door: students $8, elders $13, adults $15.
VRS was formed to provide compassionate resettlement support and a welcoming community for families traumatized by war and cultural dislocation. Currently, we are working to host Syrian refugee families on Vashon Island and to help with community resources and services, English, job skills, schooling, and acclimation to local cultural and social environments.
The Tuesday night showing is hosted by Vashon Theatre through Vashon GreenTech Night.  Neither GreenTech nor Vashon Theatre have approved, authorized, or sponsored the program content and are not associated or affiliated with the sponsoring organization.

Sponsors include Amiad & Associates, Vashon Senior Center, Vashon Film Society, Audacious Aperture, Woman’s Way Red Lodge, Vashon Theatre and Island GreenTech.