Hit the Lights for LUNAFEST 2016

Boxedora by Meg Smaker

by Bri Kilroy

You made it to the end of a towering workweek, faced the challenges that approached you last month, coped with recent news that altered your mindset and stepped out of your comfort zone multiple times since the new year started. It’s time you sit back, relax and allow yourself to revel in your strength with a very special film festival that increases and recharges your motivation for all the fun (and not so fun) moments ahead.

When LUNAFEST came to Grand Rapids for the first time last year, the film festival awakened a pride in audience members as they awed at and connected with the films’ characters’ unique, yet familiar circumstances. This year, LUNAFEST returns to rekindle that relationship between film and viewer with a brand new lineup of six short films made by women, for women and about women.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to highlight and celebrate women and our wonderful and growing art community through the medium of film while raising funds for local charities that serve women and girls,” Lori Burgess, director of Kent County Girls on the Run (KCGOTR), said.

This nationwide film festival divvies its proceeds between the Breast Cancer Fund and four local nonprofit organizations. LUNAFEST Grand Rapids is teaming up with the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5K, seizing the opportunity to support its charity partners: KCGOTR, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, YWCA of West Central Michigan and the Gazelle Sports Foundation.

Falling on the Friday before the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon on April 17, LUNAFEST’s visit is no timing coincidence. Organizers connected the events with each other this year, strengthening their related themes across the differing actions of watching a film and running a race. Burgess is pleased the partnership provides opportunities to connect KCGOTR with those who aren’t necessarily involved with Gazelle Girl.

“It’s not exclusive to women,” Burgess reminded adding that men and teens also attend LUNAFEST to enjoy the films. LUNAFEST films do, however, deal with some mature topics, so parents of younger viewers are advised to review the film content at the LUNAFEST website.

The films start rolling April 15 at 6 p.m. at the Downtown Market followed by a second showing at 8:15 p.m. Design an adventurous dinner and a movie experience by visiting the market vendors, some offering special discounts, prior to film showing.

Seating is limited, so save your spot by purchasing tickets at LUNAFEST.org.

  • What: LUNAFEST Film Festival
  • Where: The Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Ave.
  • When: April 15, 6 and 8:15 p.m. showings
  • Tickets: $20 (available at LUNAFEST.org)
Balsa Wood by Dominique Lecchi

LUNAFEST 2016 Film Lineup:

Finding June by Anna Schumacher
Explore communication’s role in understanding one another through the eyes of a deaf woman just diagnosed with breast cancer.

Balsa Wood by Dominique Lecchi
Two mixed-race siblings visit their extended Filipino family for lunch in this lighthearted slice of life.

Boxedora by Meg Smaker
One woman defied Fidel Castro’s ban on female boxing to follow her Olympic dreams and become Cuba’s first female boxer.

Raising Ryland by Sarah Feeley
An intimate look at parenting following the journey of the transgender experience as lived by a young boy and his loving parents.

First World Problems by Hanna Maylett
A tired housewife discovers problems can open doors to a whole new world after losing her car in a shopping mall.

Beach Flags by Sarah Saidan
A young, Iranian lifeguard determined to participate in an international competition experiences an unexpected obstacle when a new team member arrives.


Bri Kilroy is a Grand Valley and AmeriCorps alumna who learned to type through vigorous Mavis Beacon trainings. She also passes as an artist, illustrator and author of this bio.




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