LUNAFEST Celebrates Women Filmmakers, Supports Girls on the Run of WNC

Girls on the Run of WNC

LUNA has always believed in the power of women and as such LUNAFEST has established first all-women traveling film festival to hit the screens and amplify the voices of strong women everywhere.

And these voices will be heard for the first time in Asheville during a inaugural film festival at Wedge at Foundation, raising money to support young girls all over WNC.

This Sunday, Aug. 5, 1-3:30 p.m., the Wedge at Foundation will host site LUNAFEST — a traveling short film festival celebrating women filmmakers. The event will also go to support local nonprofit, Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina with a silent auction featuring more than $2,500 in items donated by local businesses and all ticket proceeds benefiting the organization.

The festival was created by LUNA Whole Nutrition Bars in 2000 to promote awareness about women’s issues, highlighting women filmmakers, and bringing women together in their communities. The event emphasizes women as leaders in society through nine short films about women created by women filmmakers. The films range from animation to fictional drama, and cover topics such as women’s health, body image, relationships, cultural diversity and breaking barriers.

The event pairs well with Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina – a physical activity-based, positive youth development program for girls in third-eighth grade that teaches life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. Twice a year, the organization challenges its young female’s emotional and physical preparation by hosting a celebratory 5K running event.

Located throughout Western North Carolina, Girls on the Run (GOTR) programs exist in 44 different schools spanning over 10 counties.

Girls on the Run meets after school twice a week in small teams and the bi-weekly meetings continue over a 10-week period. During each meeting, the girls learn life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games.

“It’s training young girls to realize that their potential is mentally driven,” said WNC Girls on the Run executive director Rebecca Tucker. “They learn that they can set any goal and achieve it.”

GOTR recently conducted an independent study led by Dr. Maureen Weiss, an expert in Positive Youth Development, and found that Girls on the Run’s intentional life skills curriculum and coaches positively impact girls’ lives by helping them increase their self-confidence, develop healthy relationships and feel good about themselves. Partnering LUNAFEST with this local organization became an obvious partnership as both seek to empower women and engender positive change.

LUNAFEST also partners with nonprofit organization, Chicken & Egg Pictures, which supports female nonfiction filmmakers who use artful and innovative storytelling in their films to catalyze social change.

To date, LUNAFEST has raised more than $3 million for nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada.

“This is our first LUNAFEST,” said Hannah Robinson, Girls on the Run Program Coordinator.

Tickets are $8 in advance (online) and $10 at the door, with screenings beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Wedge at Foundation, 5 Foundy St., Asheville, in the River Arts District. Doors will open at 1 p.m., kicking off the silent auction, featuring auction items from: Posana, Breakout Games, LaZoom Tours, Buxton Hall Barbecue, ENO, Navitat Canopy Adventures, the Omni Grove Park In, Cisco Pilates Asheville, and Oak and Grist Distilling Company, among many others.

The film lineup for the Asheville stop includes: “Buttercup” by Megan Brotherton (A Sun Valley Film Festival favorite), “Girls Level Up” by Anne Edgar (featuring a young Pakistani woman who takes on the tech world by teaching young girls to design their own video games), “Toys” by Amanda Quaid, “Jesszilla” by Emily Sheskin (featuring 10 year old Jesselyn “Jesszilla” and her aspirations to become a professional fighter), and several others.

For more information about the film line up, visit: lunafest.org/screenings, or to purchase tickets online for the event, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/lunafest-asheville-nc-tickets-46862599296.

To learn more about Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina, visit https://www.gotrwnc.org.

By Whitney Cooper