Friday, June 10, 2011

Short films focus on girl power

Lunafest film festival to benefit Girls on the Run

Express Staff Writer

Courtesy photo The film “Touch” by Jen McGowen is an ode to city life.

In 2000, Luna, the makers of Luna bars whole nutritional bars for women, wanted to promote women filmmakers as well as raise awareness of women's issues and support worthy women's nonprofits throughout the U.S. and Canada. The firm created Lunafest, a film festival with short films by and about women.

It is now an annual traveling film festival, and will make its way to Ketchum on Saturday, June 11, at the nexStage Theatre. The festival is a benefit for Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley, an after-school program whose goal is to use the power for running to prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.

The festival will have a reception at 6:30 p.m. with a silent auction and raffle. The films will screen at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, available at Sturtevants in Ketchum and Hailey and at Oak Street Foods in Bellevue. Tickets will be $20 at the door on the night of the event.

Girls on the Run focuses on building self-esteem and improving emotional and physical health for young girls during its 10-week programs in the fall and spring.

"Women do make a difference in the world," said Girls on the Run Executive Director Mary Fauth. "We are excited for the festival. The films look very engaging for an evening gathering."

Fauth said that if all goes well, she would like to make Lunafest an annual event. The film festival was made possible by a grant from the Little Black Dress Club, a women's giving circle.

"Girls on the Run wanted to bring something of value to the community," she said. "We wanted to create a fundraiser different from a race."

Girls on the Run, which is composed of third- through eighth-grade girls, holds two 5k races at the end of the spring and fall programs.

"We are training the girls to complete a 5k race, and along the way we talk about different life and self-esteem-building topics," she said. "We constantly hear how we have helped the girls find confidence in who they are and how they stand up for things they believe in."

Fauth said the program helps the girls develop physically, which also build strong and positive attitudes about themselves. Girls on the Run is a fee-based program but does not turn away any applicants. Half its participants are on full or partial scholarships.

Fauth talked to organizers of Lunafest at an annual Girls on the Run conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., which she has been attending for the last four years.

"Each year we learn about each other and it's very uplifting," she said. "The festival has been running for 10 years and the short films are by women and about women."

The festival will include 13 films, which Fauth said are thought-provoking and cover a wide range of subjects pertaining to women. The festival is recommended for ages "tweens" and over.

Some of the silent auction items to benefit Girls on the Run include a six-day and five-night Main Salmon rafting vacation with Mackay Wilderness River Trips, two tickets to a Sun Valley Center for the Arts concert of the buyer's choice and picnic dinner, two VIP tickets for the Sun Valley Shakedown with Bruce Hornsby and Bella Fleck, which include dinner, a Mamma Mia Boise getaway package, Melissa Graves Brown painting,  private yoga session and Lululemon yoga products, health optimization session with Dr. Jody Stanislaw, Pilates and chiropractic package, and a portrait photo session. In addition, a raffle will include a Rodan + Fields skin care and spa services package valued at $500.

"Girls on the Run helps build girls to be future leaders," Fauth said. "People should attend Lunafest because it's a night to celebrate women."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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