The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced film festivals from around the world, including the Napa and Sonoma Valley Film Festivals, to cancel, postpone and find fresh, creative ways to showcase new films in a virtual environment.
Locally, we will sorely miss the annual November Napa Valley Film Festival excitement of viewing sneak peeks, catching quick glimpses of visiting stars and experiencing the rush of adrenalin felt hustling from one film to the next.
If you love seeing new flicks, however, all is not doom and gloom.
Check out the 11th annual LUNAFEST, a compilation of seven inspiring and often tear-inducing short independent films, directed by women and about women, which can be viewed in the comfort of your home while sheltering.
“Learning about race and gender equity has never been timelier,” said Maggie Friedrich, longtime LUNAFEST event chairperson. “While we will miss the energy of a theater full of social justice advocates, these films are inspiring!”
The full, 96-minute program will be screened next Thursday, June 18, beginning at 7 p.m., with tickets available at Eventbrite.com. Ticket holders will receive a streaming link and password for access. A 24-hour window will be available for those who cannot join the 7 p.m. start time.
LUNAFEST proceeds support Napa and Solano Girls on the Run, NEWS and Soroptimist International of St. Helena Sunrise. For further event details plus age recommendations and content alerts, visit lunafest.org/screenings/napa-ca-031920.
I found the LUNAFEST shorts to be a welcome breath of fresh air (sans mask wearing)! Production values are high, filmmakers are experienced professionals and most relevant are the works’ contemporary themes relatable to all genders.
LUNAFEST 2020 films include:
— “Purl” an animated film by Kristen Lester and Gillian Libbert-Duncan
An earnest ball of yarn gets a job at a fast-paced, high-energy, bro-tastic start-up.
— “Ballet After Dark” by B. Monet
A young woman finds strength after an attack by creating an organization to help survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence through dance therapy.
— “There You Are” by Lisa Donato
A transgender woman must dress like a man to say goodbye to her dying grandmother.
— “X-Mas Cake — This American Shelf-Life” by Petra Hanson and May Yam
This coming-of-middle-age story follows a pop singer’s journey from hot to not, and what ensues across cultures from New York to Tokyo.
— “Game” by Jeannie Donohoe
A new kid in town shows up at the high school boys’ basketball tryouts and instantly makes an impression. Will talent and drive be enough to make the team?
— “Lady Parts” by Erin Rye and Jessica Sherif
A struggling actor finally gets her big break, only to realize the glass ceiling can also be a camera lens.
— “How to Swim” by Noa Gusakov
In the last days of her pregnancy, a terrified mother-to-be kidnaps a maternal stranger for an afternoon of hijinks.
“Those familiar with LUNAFEST know that race and gender equity are frequent topics for our filmmakers,” said Friedrich. “There is also the matter of creating community. We’re losing some of this now because of having to do this virtually, but there is something comforting about watching these films with a group of people – mostly women – who are supporting an important cause. This may be even more important now when we’ve been isolated for two months. Staying connected in the midst of all of this uncertainly and upheaval is important.”
Evy Warshawski is an arts presenter anxious to be presenting the live performing arts once again in our beloved community.
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