By Kate Mack
It was a big night for the Mills community on Jan. 31 where faculty, students, and prospective students gathered to enjoy a night of films and speakers at the annual Lunafest.
Lunafest is a national film festival “by, for, and about women,” which shows short films that address a diverse range of topics such as women’s health, sexuality, spirituality, and cultural diversity.
The large turnout of the event was attributed in part to the presence of many prospective students who were given the opportunity to attend a night of thought-provoking films. The excited and diverse crowd filled the bleachers of Haas Pavillion, with audience members spilling out onto the floor and dragging out extra chairs.
President Janet Holmgren, the first speaker of the night, expressed the importance of the festival and its relationship to the Mills community. “Lunafest brings women together to convey the value of women through film, bringing issues of women’s health, growth, and emotional well-being into light,” she said.
The seven award-winning films stimulated the audience into thoughtful comments and discussion. Among all of the short films, the one which ignited the most commentary was the film A Good Uplift. The humorous documentary captured the daily work of a Jewish grandmother helping women find the perfect brassiere in her New York lingerie shop.
“I really liked the movie A Good Uplift because you hardly ever see women’s bodies in films where they aren’t sexualized. The movie was real and showed that women can come in all shapes and sizes,” said prospective student Corina Peila.
In addition to enjoying the films, through attending Lunafest, Peila was exposed to the close-knit and socially aware nature of the Mills community, solidifying her interest in Mills.
“I really want to go here because it is nice to see community activities and exposed to people who are dedicated to figuring out how to support women,” Peila said.
Perhaps one of the most positive aspects of the evening was the successful charitable fundraising of the event to raise awareness about breast cancer. Head of Counseling and Psychological services Dorian Newton gave a sobering speech during intermission about the growing threat of breast cancer, and the need for people to get involved and informed to help curb its rise.
In keeping with the spirit of the Mills community, the athletic department did not accept their small percentage of the ticket sales offered by Lunafest, instead opting to donate their share to the Breast Cancer Fund.
Mills students were satisfied to know that their money was going to a good cause. “I was really happy that there was a large turnout this year because it supports the breast cancer fund,” said sophomore Nikki DaSilva.
This is the fourth year that Lunafest has been shown at Mills. In the past years Lunafest grew so much that the logistics of planning for the event have become an opportunity for more student volunteering and community participation to occur. Some students contributed by selling tickets, and managing the ins and outs of producing this event.
Collette Bowler, head soccer coach at Mills, jump-started not only the planning for the festival, but also emceed the event. The hard-earned efforts of Collette, the athletic department, and the student athletes really paid off, according to Bowler.
“It seems like the crowd really enjoyed the event, and that there were enough different films that there was one for everyone,” said Bowler.
The audience was rewarded with more than just an evening of sensitive and humorous films. They were also treated to a raffle that had prizes such as symphony tickets, Roche sports apparel, and other goodies.
If you missed this opportunity to see these films there is another local showing on Feb. 6 in Alameda. To find out more about Lunafest and the films visit www.lunabar.com.