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Dec 19th
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women in film

womeninfilm2Women’s issues hit the big screen at the Rio

Pop quiz: Name five hot-shot, female, Hollywood directors. Penny Marshall and … stumped? Me too. Sadly, the odds of watching a movie that was directed by a woman are slim.

In 2005, “only seven percent of film directors were women,” says Brooke Golden, director of LUNAFEST, a film festival that comes to the Rio Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 27. “Of the 250 top domestic Hollywood grossing films in 2005, women comprised only 17 percent of all the directors, producers, writers and cinematographers.” Those are alarming statistics for any woman trying to break into this boys’ club. But Golden and her pals at the company that fills us up with nutritious Luna bars have been making strides to change those statistics over the last six years, by hosting a traveling film festival that features movies about women, made by women.

On the last Saturday night of January, nine of these films will play at the Rio as a fundraiser for the national nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund and for a local nonprofit, WomenCARE.

womeninfilm3The films aren’t made by wannabes—they’re the real McCoys and many of them have had their works screened in numerous festivals. While you maybe haven’t heard a Sundance type of buzz about these nine films, they are likely worth taking a look at. They’re all shorts, clocking in between two minutes and 34 minutes, covering a range of topics that concern women: Muslim marriage, Chinese daughters, birth and beauty. “The festival celebrates women and our issues that we deal with,” says Kathy Ferraro from the Recreation Department at UC Santa Cruz.

Ferraro was involved with the team who introduced the community to the festival when it kicked off in 2000. At the time, her department oversaw the festival, and recently she handed over the reigns to Roberta Valdez, director of the UCSC Women’s Center. From there, Valdez is not only in charge of organizing the evening’s movies, but she’s also responsible for forking over 85 percent of the proceeds to WomenCARE, a local organization that offers non-medical services, resources and advocacy to women in our community who have cancer.

“The thing I really like about the LUNAFEST is that the films, even though [they’re short], are multicultural and from all over the world,” Valdez says.

womeninfilm5The festival is, like its movies, short. Nine films will play during the two-hour event. The lineup includes the titles: Top of the Circle, a five-minute short about the cycles of livelihood; Dear Talula, about a woman with breast cancer; Slip of the Tongue, about the female image; Breached, which tells a unique story of immigration; City Paradise about a Japanese woman who relocates to London and finds more than a few surprises; Mann Ke Manjeeré, which may be reminiscent of Not Without My Daughter; Plum Flower, about what happens when a Chinese family has yet another daughter; Kylie Goldstein—All American, the tale of a young Chinese girl who was adopted by Americans; and Agricultural Report, a story about a cow.

Annually, about 200 films are submitted to the festival from filmmakers across the world. A board of 20 Bay Area female film experts whittle down the submissions into the traveling festival, which goes out across the nation.

womeninfilm4“We want [people who attend] to laugh, be touched and to have their minds opened up to something new, or at the very least have a great conversation with their community members about something they experienced at LUNAFEST,” says Golden. And, that includes men in the audience. This isn’t a women’s only club.

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2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

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