LUNAFEST virtual film festival celebrates female filmmakers

By Abby Cole, communication specialist in the Office of Marketing and Communication

Among top grossing films, only 15% are directed by women ( As the first-ever all woman traveling film festival, LUNAFEST hopes to raise that number.

LUNAFEST was created nearly 20 years ago to address the underrepresentation of women in film by highlighting films that are made by, for and about women.

Due to the pandemic, the festival comes to Marquette virtually this year. Students, faculty and staff can register for one of two showings that will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 24

The 2020 lineup includes seven short films focused on a variety of topics, including what it’s like for women in male dominated industries, the sexualized roles women are expected to play on screen and the challenges one trans woman faced after coming out to her family.

Marquette’s LUNAFEST screening is the only one in the city of Milwaukee, thanks to Aundrea Price, program director for Marquette’s health care data analytics program. Price says she’s been an avid film fest goer ever since she attended Sundance in 2015. She heard about LUNAFEST and was interested in attending a screening, only to find out the closest events were either in Madison or Chicago.

“I wanted to bring LUNAFEST to Milwaukee because it’s a project that builds community,” Price says. “We can come together to experience these films, and also make connections that go far beyond one event. Some of my favorite moments from last year were the conversations between generations of women about what the films evoked in them.”

Each year, LUNAFEST reaches nearly 200 cities, while also raising funds for local women’s causes.

All funds raised from the two LUNAFEST screenings at Marquette will benefit “Dream It, Be It,” a program that provides girls with the tools needed to achieve their education and career goals while empowering them to break cycles of poverty, violence and abuse.

Price isn’t the only champion of LUNAFEST at Marquette. The event is also sponsored by the Women’s Innovation Network (WIN).

Sasha Parsons Waters, coordinator for WIN at Marquette, is thrilled to sponsor LUNAFEST for a second year. “One of WIN’s main goals is to inspire women and other underrepresented groups. LUNAFEST accomplishes this not only because the films are created by women – but also because they tell compelling stories about women that are not often portrayed in the mainstream media,” Waters says.

Two virtual screenings will take place at noon and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Register via Eventbrite; enter promo code MU-WIN

The screenings will be followed by a virtual talk back session. The 6 p.m. screening will include a special keynote by Milwaukee filmmaker Tyshun Wardlaw. One of Wardlaw’s recent films, “Growing Up Milwaukee,” tells the story of three young Black people growing up in the heart of Milwaukee as they grapple with daily experiences of racism and segregation while fighting to avoid becoming a statistic.

Though the films are not rated, LUNAFEST suggests viewers for this year’s films be 14 years or older. Each film is between seven to 15 minutes long, for a total runtime of 96 minutes.