LUNA Fest a success

A LUNA Fest attendee fills out raffle tickets during the in-person return of the annual event, which was held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Evanston Soroptimists once again sponsored LUNA Fest at Aspen Cinemas on Monday, May 2.  After being held virtually in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event once again brought community women together face-to-face to enjoy the opportunity to visit, sample wine (donated by Border Beverage and club members), and enjoy snacks and LUNA bars.

Event chair Jessica Kendrick said, “Proceeds from the Evanston event came to approximately $3,000.00 and all of that goes to scholarships for local women including high school seniors.  We were happy with the turnout and glad to be back in person.”

This year, attendees were asked to bring a donation of feminine hygiene products. The products will be given to Public Health where they put kits together and deliver them to the food banks in Evanston and in Bridger Valley. A week before, Public Health delivered 44 kits and all were distributed immediately, indicating a real need for more donations.

Those attending could bid with purchased raffle tickets on 13 purses filled with a variety of gifts. The ever popular $5 purses were once again hanging from a coat rack for women to purchase. There were also 25 auction items for bid on the Soroptimists’ webpage prior to the event.

In 2001, LUNAFEST premiered as the world’s first all-women traveling film festival. Two decades later, the work of over 170 women has been celebrated and viewed at 2,700 live and virtual screenings.  More than $6.5 million has been raised for women’s causes. LUNA partners with Chicken & Egg Pictures; a nonprofit that provides mentorship and critical financial support to women nonfiction filmmakers. The mission of LUNA is “a commitment to amplifying diverse voices, challenging perceptions about the world and our place in it, and advocating for marginalized communities and causes.”

The films were shown in one of Aspen Cinemas theaters. The eight short films shown this year covered a variety of perspectives involving women and gender nonconforming individuals and highlighted their strengths, resilience, dreams and accomplishments. Subject matter involved the isolation of the pandemic; immigration and surviving loneliness through a connection with pets; a woman and her daughter learn about other people when cleaning their houses; the first Black woman cartoonist in The New Yorker in the magazine’s near-century run; a 13-year-old girl who designed and built a mobile app to help kids stay connected to their incarcerated parents; a father and daughter dealing with loss; a woman who connects with her fellow New Yorkers by wearing silly hats she makes from pipe cleaners; and an animated self-portrait of a nonbinary trans teen and his struggle.

The films ranged in length from 5 to 15 minutes, but in that short time appeared to inspire the viewers. Some said they were the best films they’d seen at the festival, others commented on how powerful the selections were.

The drawing for the raffle items took place after the films and the winners were: Leann Morey, Peggy Harvey, Sue Norman, Tammy Koncitik, Mary Boal, Harriet Beck, Cindy and Tammy Wasson and Annamarie and Anastasia Seabright.

Winners for the online auction items included Cindy Wasson, Lisa Jacketta, Kay Hanks, Kathy Murphy, GJ Fry, Jami Legault, Harriet Beck, Lee Parker, Jessica Kendrick, Mary Boal, Becky Slagowski, Kim Bateman, Bethany Peatross, Nicole Christensen, Amanda Manchester, Cheryl Canford and Bailey Snyder.

“Soroptimist would like to give a big thank you to Aspen Cinemas for donating the theater for our event,” Kendrick said. “And thank you to all who participated, online and in person, to making the night a success.

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