Groton Feminists and SAC Team Up to Host Film Festival

On February 16, the Student Activities Committee (SAC) and Groton Feminists will host LunaFest, a traveling film festival featuring women filmmakers. According to the LunaFest website, LunaFest’s mission is to create a platform for women’s stories to be shared and to support women in the film industry. Groton Feminists hopes that all students will benefit greatly from attending this event, which features a diversity of perspectives within its eight short films. 

        Groton Feminist head Lily Cratsley ’19 first discovered LunaFest when Concord Academy hosted the event two years ago. After hearing about the event, Lily, hoping to bring LunaFest to Groton, reached out to Concord Academy to gain insight into its experience with the organization. Though initially discouraged by the cost, she ultimately brought the idea to Groton Feminists faculty advisor Kate Dennison. With the support of Ms. Dennison and SAC head Timothy LeRoy, the SAC confirmed they would both organize and pay for LunaFest. 

With a total running time of 85 minutes, this year’s lineup covers topics topics such as coming-of-age, immigration, racism, sexuality, music, and identity. For example, the synopsis of “Flip the Record” by Marie Jamore reads, “In this 1980s coming-of-age story set to pulsing hip-hop music, a Filipino-American teen discovers her identity through a budding talent for turntablism.” Some of the filmmakers, including Marie Jamore, have already won awards at AFI Fest, Sundance, SxSW, or other festivals. In addition to supporting these talented filmmakers, hosts of this event also can raise funds for a local women’s cause while supporting the main beneficiary – Chicken & Egg pictures. Though its films are not rated, LunaFest suggests that viewers be thirteen years or older. 

        This Groton event is a product of collaboration between the SAC and Groton Feminists; while Groton Feminists introduced and spearheaded the effort, the SAC has led communications with the LunaFest organization and addressed logistical concerns. In expressing her gratitude towards SAC’s contributions, Lily said, “Mr. LeRoy has been very instrumental in getting [LunaFest] planned and took over that aspect while wanting to maintain its identity as a Groton Feminist event.” Mr. LeRoy agreed and elaborated on his role: “I’ve been in contact with LunaFest, will be scheduling food/drinks for the event, and have lined up LunaFest to be one of the only events happening during that Saturday evening time slot.” Groton Feminists, on the other hand, is handling the vision behind LunaFest, like writing the blurb under the Groton LunaFest location on the official website and coordinating with Lawrence Academy’s Gender, Sexuality, Alliance and Girl Up clubs, who they invited to attend.

Lily explained that her personal experience watching the 2018 LunaFest lineup trailers inspired her to bring the festival to Groton. “When I first was looking at LunaFest and was looking at that 2018 season, I had a really emotional response to seeing that they had…an Indian woman. I was like ‘wow,’ that’s an experience that I can specifically relate to.” This spirit of intersectionality, highlighting topics of race, sexuality, ability, and more, aligns directly with the Groton Feminists’ values. The Groton Feminists believes it’s important that feminism not only elevates the voices of straight, white women, but also LGBTQ black, Latina, and Asian women who are often left out of the conversation. After watching the recent Golden Globes where many award-winning actresses called on their colleagues to include women in their projects, Lily feels more strongly than ever about the importance of supporting female screenwriters: “[Women] have been historically excluded and this is a great platform to show that [women] are no less talented and no less imaginative and creative and innovative. They just haven’t been given the opportunity.”

        Groton Feminists’ goals behind LunaFest are two-fold. For non-female students, Lily hopes that they will “see these strong female voices on campus…and say ‘wow,’ these are voices we should be elevating more” and perhaps ask themselves, “How do we elevate them at Groton? How do we silence them at Groton? How can we do better?” For female students, especially lower schoolers, Lily believes that LunaFest may serve as a source of empowerment: Lunafest “is sort of modeling this idea of strong female voices and showing younger students that they can be that voice if they want to.” Film club head Karla Stanford ’19 agreed, “I’m very excited that we will be supporting women filmmakers on campus…I think it will be a fun night for all!”