Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For women, by women and starring women

5th annual Lunafest coming to Ketchum next week

Express Staff Writer

This still is from Louisa Bertman’s short film “Tits,” one of eight women-centered movies featured at the 2014 Lunafest.
Courtesy photo

    “It absolutely dumbfounded me how the closest thing to God had been sitting there right under my nose, exposed and accessible, for all these years,” said Louisa Bertman in an excerpt from her short film “Tits”—she’s talking about discovering the hallowed push-up bra as a preteen, not a religious, awakening.
    Bertman learns over the course of her autobiographical film that womanhood is much more than a nice rack. Her film, and seven others, will be shown at the fifth annual Lunafest on Thursday, Nov. 6, in Ketchum. It’s put on by Girls on the Run, a Wood River Valley nonprofit that offers a mentoring program for girls in grades three through eight. The group conducts 10-week empowerment sessions in which leaders work with local girls and get them prepared for a 5-kilometer run at the end of the program.
    The film festival, sponsored by LunaBar, tours throughout the country annually and donates all ticket proceeds to the Breast Cancer Fund and local Girls on the Run programs. It shows a new group of short films about the female experience produced and starring women each year. A news release from the national Lunafest promoters said the company has raised $656,000-plus for the Breast Cancer Fund and more than $1.2 million for various women’s nonprofit organizations, since the festival began almost 15 years ago.
    Mary Fauth became the executive director of Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley in 2007. She said Lunafest appealed to her because it relates to the group’s mission statement by “getting stories out about women, by women.”
    Themes within the 2014 film selection include women breaking into traditionally male fields, cultural assimilation and relationships. “Viva” by Amanda Bluglass is a documentary about an 82-year-old punk-rock grandmother from the United Kingdom. “Flor de Toloache” by Jenny Schweitzer explores an all-female mariachi band challenging Hispanic gender norms. The shows are recommended for people 16 and over, Fauth said, but middle school students from her program often attend.
    “[We] usually highlight whether certain films are appropriate,” Fauth said.
     Fauth said the diverse cross-section of cultures and demographics represented in past Lunafest film festivals seems to resonate within the Wood River Valley community. She said they make an effort to “tie the event to what we accomplish in the program.”
    This year, that means Girls on the Run participant Bella Hadam, a fourth-grader at Bellevue Elementary School, will read her essay about female empowerment and her experiences with Fauth’s program. A photo contest is also under way—submissions for the “Female Empowerment” contest will be accepted through Nov. 2 and can be posted to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #girlsontherunwrv and #empowerment or by posting to the Girls on the Run Facebook page,
    The event is Thursday, Nov. 6, at the nexStage Theater in Ketchum at 7:30 p.m., with a red carpet reception, silent auction and a live DJ starting at 6 p.m. Attending the reception comes with a higher ticket price.
    The silent auction also benefits the Breast Cancer Fund and Girls on the Run. To bid on local artwork, rounds of golf at the Valley Club, a one-month membership at Zenergy and more, check out or come to the film’s reception preceding the show at 6 p.m. Raffle tickets can be purchased in advance for a “Pamper Me” package including Smith Optics sunglasses, a one-hour facial and more. The cost is $5 per ticket or $20 for five tickets. The winner will be drawn during Lunafest; participants don’t have to be there to win.
     Tickets for the event, which can be purchased in advance, cost $20 for adults, $10 for youths or seniors, and $40 for a red carpet reception that will include a complimentary souvenir glass, wine/beer, music by DJ Marlin and a raffle ticket.  Tickets at the door will cost $25, $15 and $45, respectively.   
    Lunafest tickets, raffle tickets and/or silent auction bidding can be found at, at Sturtos in Hailey or the Elephant’s Perch in Ketchum.

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