April E. Clark
Arts and entertainment contributor

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January 30, 2014
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The power of women

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — From blind dating to basketball-playing grandmothers, the plots of Lunafest’s nine short films are as varied as the locations where the movies play.

Saturday’s Lunafest event at 5 and 8 p.m. at the historic Hotel Colorado is one stop on the traveling film festival’s 150-plus city roster of screenings. Along with Glenwood Springs, Lunafest’s short films by, for and about women, show in such U.S. cities as Cupertino, Calif.; Minneapolis; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and Reno, Nev. Nationally, the events support the Breast Cancer Fund while local nonprofit hosts such as the Roaring Fork Valley’s Advocate Safehouse Project also receive funding.

“Lunafest is a national effort to bring awareness and raise funds for not only the Breast Cancer Fund but local human-resource-based agencies that are providing, in some form or another, support services for members of their community all over the country,” said Emma Bielski, community outreach and volunteer coordinator for Advocate Safehouse Project.

Bielski said last year’s Lunafest was such a popular draw — the event attracted a standing-room only crowd — that Advocate Safehouse was thrilled to host the film festival again. The female-centric films will screen in front of more than 25,000 people nationwide with 100 percent of ticket proceeds benefiting nonprofits. The Advocate Safehouse Project will utilize the funds raised on Saturday to promote healthy relationships free from violence through education, advocacy, empowerment and safe housing.

“Because we offer so many different programs to the community these funds will go to supplement them all, giving us more room for further program development within the context of the programs we now currently offer survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” Bielski said.

By connecting women, their stories and their causes through film, Lunafest hopes to motivate communities such as Glenwood Springs to make a difference in women’s lives. The nine shorts exhibit the art of storytelling through film.

“This event is about solidarity and support,” Bielski said. “It is about recognizing and honoring the role that women have to play in the art world.”

Bielski said she spent time watching all the films to ensure they played properly and is most looking forward to re-viewing “Flying Anne” by Catherine van Campen. The short is about a young girl with Tourette’s syndrome who takes flight to navigate life with her tics.

“It’s about an 11-year-old girl with Tourette’s and how she copes with this in her day-to-day life,” Bielski said. “In addition, there is a very short animation film titled ‘Sidewalk’ that is both charming and funny.”

“Sidewalk,” by Celia Ullwinkel, tells the story of a woman who walks through life, confronts her changing body and learns to love herself. Also featured in the film fest is “Date with Fate” by Venetia Taylor, about blind dating, and “Granny’s Got Game” by Angela Gorsica Alford that stars seven fiercely competitive women in their 70s who bond by playing basketball.

“Maria of Many” by Alexandra Liveris documents a Mexican immigrant, domestic worker, committed mom and activist, while “Running Dry” by Dimitra Nikolopoulou tells the story of a woman impacted by economic hardships and her journeys into contemporary Athens, Greece. “First Match” by Olivia Newman tells the story of a determined female wrestler as she prepares for her first co-ed high school match.

The festival rounds out with “Sound Shadows” by Julie Engaas, about a world where sound gives shape to space, and “Tiny Miny Magic” by Danielle Lurie, which focuses on an unexpected love connection between a woman and her mailman.

This year, Lunafest films will show in the Hotel Colorado’s Devereux Room, and additional parking has been added for the convenience of attendees.

“We have made many changes based on viewer feedback from last year. The event will take place in the Devereux Room, with better audio and visual equipment,” Bielski said. “Parking will be made available via the Hot Springs Pool parking lot that faces the Hotel Colorado. So there will be more room and a bigger screen, and everyone will have a seat this year since last year’s show was sold out and standing room only.”

Advance tickets are $20 and tickets at the door are $25. Advanced tickets can be purchased at The Blend in Carbondale, Treadz in Glenwood Springs, The Midland Art Company in Rifle, and select Alpine Banks.


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The Post Independent Updated Jan 30, 2014 11:52PM Published Jan 30, 2014 11:52PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.