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Lunafest showcases women's stories

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An image from “Boxeadora” by Meg Smaker.

FARGO — The stories of a boxer, a lifeguard and a housewife are coming to the Fargo Theatre.

On Thursday, March 31, the Junior League of Fargo Moorhead, a nonprofit organization of female volunteers, will introduce these women and more on screen at its fourth annual Lunafest, a traveling film festival of short films by, for and about women.

“It’s really fun,” says Junior League member Amanda Biles. “I think people don’t really know what it’s about, but once they attend, they love it and keep coming back.”

Net proceeds from the event, featuring brews from Drekker Brewing Co., go to charity. The Breast Cancer Fund receives 15 percent of every dollar raised, with the remaining 85 percent going to the charity of the hosting organization’s choice.

Biles and fellow Junior League member Tara Ekren hope more women will attend this year than in years past.

“Our first year, we had 30 people,” Ekren says. “The next year I think we had 100, and last year we dropped down to about 60. We’re shooting for 100 again this year.”

Since Lunafest was established by Luna (the makers of nutrition bars for women) in 2000, 127 filmmakers have been featured, thousands of people have attended, and nearly $2.9 million has been raised. Organizers expect 25,000 to attend this year’s screenings in more than 175 cities.

“The great thing about Lunafest is it gives these women filmmakers a platform for their work to be seen on a pretty broad scale,” Biles says.

In addition to national exposure, the selected filmmakers receive a $2,500 award. This year’s winners hail from England, the U.S., Finland and France.

Ekren and Biles are excited about the documentary “Boxeadora,” which follows a woman in Cuba who defies Fidel Castro’s ban on female boxing to pursue her dream of Olympic glory.

The other five films included in the 90-minute program are as follows (descriptions from Lunafest):

“Balsa Wood”: A light-hearted slice of life about two mixed-race siblings visiting their extended Filipino family for lunch.

“First World Problems”: A tired housewife loses her car at a shopping mall — sometimes problems can open a door to a whole new world.

“Beach Flags”: A young Iranian lifeguard, determined to participate in an international competition in Australia, experiences an unexpected obstacle when a new team member arrives.

“Finding June”: Through the eyes of a deaf woman just diagnosed with breast cancer, communication’s role in understanding one another is explored.

“Raising Ryland”: An intimate look at parenting with no strings attached — a journey inside the transgender experience as lived by a 6-year-old boy and his two loving parents.


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