Advocate Safehouse Project continues its film festival tradition virtually |

Advocate Safehouse Project continues its film festival tradition virtually

Luna Fest features female representation within the films and from the people who made them

Advocate Safehouse Project hosts a virtual Luna Fest this year as a fundraiser featuring screenings of films made by women and about women.

Allie Reyes said being able to see people who look and sound like you onscreen hits differently when you’re not used to having that kind of representation.

“As a Latin person I think seeing representation on screen always gets me excited,” Reyes, the youth advocate at Advocate Safehouse Project (ASP), said. “I remember hearing my name Alejandra on like a makeup commercial and I screamed, because I have never seen that. So I think, for survivors too, (it’s empowering) to see themselves on screen and hear their story on screen and that they’re not alone.”

This Sunday marks the 12th year ASP is hosting a viewing of the films from Luna Fest, but the first time that it will be virtual. Julie Olson, Executive Director at ASP, said ticket sales this year are lower so far than they’ve been in the past, but she’s optimistic for some last-minute sales as well as donations to help support ASP’s mission.

“We know people are getting together to watch and enjoy it together, but it is a fundraiser for us so we’re asking people to donate. And we have received some donations so far but not near to what we’d like to see,” Olson said.

For the last 20 years the Luna company has put together a curated list of timely films made by women and about women to showcase at Luna Fest meant to spark conversation. Reyes said when the film festival was in-person, it was common to hear attendees discussing what they had just watched after the fact.

“The films sit with you, and some of them don’t have a lot of words in them and you’re thinking about them and what the message is,” Reyes said.

The films and filmmakers take anywhere between 3-9 minutes to engage the audience in a meaningful way, Olson said. A film that stuck out to Reyes from the 2020 festival was one with very little dialogue that told the experience of a young black girl walking home and an encounter she had with the police.

“(You saw) how much it affected her, even though it was just one incident, the fear she feels in their presence and the way she’s treated. Also being a person of privilege and a person of color (seeing) that (perspective) can make me feel inspired to help and be an ally,” Reyes said.

With a purchased ticket Olson said individuals will receive a gift bag that includes popcorn, Luna bars, hand sanitizer from Valley View Hospital and socks from Alpine Bank. The bags are currently available for pickup at Treadz on Grand Avenue. She also said the virtual screening technically starts at 7 p.m. but that viewers can watch the films at any point during a 48-hour time period. Once the stream is started however, there is still the ability to rewind and pause, but there is only 24 hours left to watch the entire list of films.

Advocate Safehouse Project hosts a virtual Luna Fest this year as a fundraiser featuring screenings of films made by women and about women.

“I’m looking forward to ‘A Line Birds Cannot See.’ I’m just really curious and I think it’s timely right now,” Olson said.

The film Olson referred to is an animated documentary that tells the story of a 12-year-old girl who loses her mother at the Mexico-U.S. border and sets out to find her on her own.

There will be seven movies shown at the virtual screening. All of them are made by women and about women.

  • “Overexposed: Filming an Arctic Odyssey” by Holly Morris
  • “Knocking Down the Fences” by Meg Shutzer
  • “A Line Birds Cannot See” by Amy Bench
  • “The Scientists Versus Dartmouth” by Sharon Shattuck
  • “Until She is Free” by Maria Finitzo
  • “Connection” by Tracy Nguyen-Chung and Ciara Lacy
  • “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business” by Christine Turner

Holly Morris is a filmmaker, author and presenter of pro-woman stories who is internationally known, according to the Luna Fest website. Other films in Morris’ wheelhouse include “Adventure Divas” and “Globe Trekker.” Her most recently released film, “The Babushkas of Chernobyl” is based on the work Morris has done in print journalism and aligns with the Ted Talk she gave that provides an inside look to what life is like for a community of women living inside what Ukraine calls the radioactive “Exclusion Zone.” The film being shown at this year’s Luna Fest is a documentary about her process of creating “Exposure” a film that will be released in 2021 about the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition.

Advocate Safehouse Project hosts a virtual Luna Fest this year as a fundraiser featuring screenings of films made by women and about women.

Christine Turner’s film, “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business,” takes a detailed approach to the life and work of Betye Saar, who is 93 years old and not letting her age slow her down. According to Turner’s website, Saar makes, “intricate collage and assemblage works explode stereotypes of Black femininity.” Turner is based out of New York and her other films include “Homegoings” about a funeral director in Harlem premiered at Documentary Fortnight at the Museum of Modern art in New York City.

Tracy Nguyen-Chung and Ciara Lacy collaborated for the short film, “Connection,” which follows Autumn Harry and her experience as a female fly-fisher. Harry is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe from the Northern part of Nevada and the film shows how fly-fishing prompted her to travel beyond the bodies of water on her reservation. Nguyen-Chung is the founder of After Bruce, a boutique PR agency, as well as a strategist and filmmaker. She co-produced “The Great Hack” a film that was Emmy and British Academy Film Award-nominated that premiered in 2019 at the Sundance Film Festival and is now streaming on Netflix. Lacy, the other filmmaker of “Connection” is Native Hawaiian and had past work shown on Netflix, PBS, ABC and Al Jazeera. She also made and directed the film “Out of State” which premiered at the LA Film Festival, and has digital content she created for The Guardian and The Atlantic.

How to attend Luna Fest and donate to ASP

Advocate Safehouse Project hosts a virtual Luna Fest this year as a fundraiser featuring screenings of films made by women and about women.

Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the ASP website for $20 and if you decide to watch in a group of people within your bubble, you can give a donation instead. For more information about the featured films and filmmakers Luna Fest website.

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