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Friday, April 20th • 6 p.m.
Brooklyn Arts Center
516 N. 4th St.
$20/adv., $25/door

WONDERFUL WOMEN: LunaFest will showcase nine global films about women this year, including ‘I Am a Girl!’ by Susan Koenen. Courtesy photo

There are certain struggles women all over the world are forced to deal with on a regular basis. Many may feel isolated in their specific situations. Yet, the fact is, others may be trying to overcome many of the same obstacles—being alone, aging and feeling insecure. Film can bridge beleaguerment, often giving us hope. LunaFest is in its third year celebrating such artistry of connectivity among women.

Sponsored by Luna Moms Club and UNCW Women’s Studies and Resource Center, LunaFest will take place Friday, April 20th, at Brooklyn Arts Center. The evening commences over a series of short films, which also will be presented at various events throughout the country. Created in 2000 by the makers of the Luna bar, a nutrition bar for women, the goal of the event is to bring together women and raise money for great nonprofit organizations. Only two guidelines exist for those wishing to host their own LunaFest: All films must be shown as the focus of the event (which are provided to the planners), and 15 percent of the ticket sales are donated to the Breast Cancer Fund, as designated by the creators of LunaFest. The other 85 percent is for a charity of the host’s choice—in this case, it is Women in the Center.

Jody Smith, of Wilmington Area Stroller Strides, has been an asset to making this celebration happen locally. Involved in the last two events—held at Browncoat Pub and Theatre in 2010 and UNCW’s Center for Marine Science in 2011—she has seen firsthand its growth. “Having it at the Brooklyn Arts Center will be a nice, new venue,” she says of the 122 year-old church’s 50-foot ceilings and 3,500 sqaure feet. More importantly, she’s excited to continue supporting a local nonprofit worthy of attention for women and families.

“Every year we’ve worked with [Women in the Center], because we’re a moms’ group,” Smith explains. “A lot of what they’re working to do will benefit moms in our community. Their ultimate goal is to build a birthing center here in town. [They want] to connect women in the community, and it just seemed like a good fit—moms wanting to benefit other moms.”

The Breast Cancer Fund focuses on looking at the environmental causes of breast cancer and coming up with ways to prevent it. Recently, they successfully had the lining of soup cans banned for their carcinogenic compounds.

“They’re a very different breast cancer organization,” Smith shares. “I’m partial to them because they’re actually looking at eliminating it, not just looking at better ways to treat it.”

The local goal is to sell at least 150 tickets, which would allow them to donate $2,000 to Women in the Center. “We can have it as big or as small as we want,” Smith says.

Big is what Smith has in mind. The event will start at 6 p.m. with an open bar and food courtesy of Hibachi Bistro, Pleasure Island Cupcakes and others. There will be a raffle with great prizes such as a night at The Wilmingtonian, restaurant gift certificates, golf packages, and spa treatments. Included in the ticket price is one raffle ticket, but more can be purchased throughout the event. Folks will be able to choose which drawings they enter, too.

The actual films will start around 7 p.m., with a dessert intermission. “The films are from all over the world—award-winning films,” Smith adds, hoping to draw a diverse audience. “I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised with the level of quality of the films, to be enjoyed by everyone and not just women.”

LunaFest provides nine films to be showcased, in addition to whatever the host chooses for the night. Some of the films include: “Every Mother Counts: Obstetric Fistula,” a heartbreaking documentary of a fatal but preventable birth complication; “How to be Alone,” a look into how to overcome those feelings of loneliness with humor and hope; and “I am a Girl!” a story about a girl who was born a boy; and “Missed Connections,” an exploration of the Craigslist forum about “the one who got away.” Also included are “A Reluctant Bride,” “Worst Enemy,” “Lady Razorbacks” and “The Wind is Blowing on My Street,” which follows a young girl in Tehran on the street without her headscarf after an unfortunate accident.

Smith has enlisted the help of UNCW filmmakers, too, by showing junior film studies major Jess Marrano’s award-winning “Her Very Being.” Also showing will be alumnae Laura Murphy’s “Sanctuary.”

“[These] films [are] so unique,” Smith says. “They make you laugh, cry—they’re always so good. It’s not just a woman’s thing. Anyone interested in film or doing something different for the night [will enjoy it.] It’s a good chance to go out and support a cause and have a good time.”

Also, plan on staying after the films for drinks and live music from alternative-rock band, Axiom. It will really be more than the average film fest.

LunaFest takes place on Friday, April 20th at the Brooklyn Arts Center, located at 516 N. 4th Street. Tickets are $20 in advance at or by calling 800-691-6154. Tickets are available at the door for $25.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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