Girls on the Run San Diego, a nonprofit program for pre-teen girls, recently hosted its seventh annual Lunafest event in Carmel Valley.
Lunafest is a traveling film festival featuring eight award-winning short films by, for and about women. This year’s festival will take place in more than 150 cities, reaching more than 25,000 people.
“We’re proud of our partnership with Lunafest,” said Amy Jerome, executive director of GOTRSD. “We love sharing the powerful films and creating an event that provides for camaraderie among our volunteers and the community.”
The films are entertaining and empowering, handling their subject matter — love, beauty, culture, motherhood — with humor and empathy. They provoked laughter, tears and discussion among the packed audience.
One of the biggest crowd pleasers was “A Good Match,” a delightful story by Lyn Elliot about a young woman who breaks up with her boyfriend but doesn’t want to end her relationship with his mother.
Viewers were also enthralled watching “Lady Parts,” a documentary by Emily Fraser and Katherine Gorringe about a female-run automotive shop in Redwood City where customers are nurtured and educated while their cars are being repaired. In fact, afterwards, many pulled out their phones to check Google maps to see how far Redwood City is from San Diego.
“The movies this year were so good, it’s hard to pick just one favorite,” said Kathryn Osborn, GOTRSD Registration Manager. “Five of them shared the theme of women challenging social norms — in the automotive industry, in aviation in the early 1800s, in a mariachi band, in a 1970s punk band and in a high school. All were inspiring and had their own twists.”
The endings of “Chicas Day,” Susan Bejar’s story about an imaginative girls’ day, and “Tryouts,” Susana Casares’ portrait of a Muslim-American girl who yearns to join the cheerleading squad at her new school, were especially surprising and thought-provoking. You could hear people still talking about them in the lobby after the event.
Lunafest doesn’t just raise awareness of important issues, though. Through its events, the festival raises money for the Breast Cancer Fund along with local nonprofits in each city.
“Lunafest ’14 was our largest and most successful fundraiser to date,” said Jerome. “We were thrilled.”
Girls on the Run San Diego is the local branch of the international nonprofit that has made a huge impact on the lives of thousands of girls from third through eighth grade. Over the course of 10 weeks, they explore and discuss their beliefs and experiences, along with the challenges they face. Physical activity is woven into the curriculum as the girls train to run a 5K. Anyone can participate in the noncompetitive, celebratory 5K, which will take place Dec. 6 at NTC Park in Liberty Station.
“I have three daughters myself and have witnessed firsthand the powerful impact the curriculum has, not only on participants but on families,” said Jerome. “I love being behind a program that believes in girls and women while promoting leadership at all ages.”
As was obvious at Lunafest, volunteers make up a huge, vital component of Girls on the Run, and there are so many ways to get involved. To learn more, check out www.gotrsd.org.