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LUNAFEST, a national fundraising film festival that showcases short films by, for and about women, announced its 2017 season with the world premiere of nine short films on September 29th at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. For 16 years, LUNA®, the first nutrition bar for women, has connected female filmmakers, their stories and their causes through film. The festival elevates content created by female filmmakers and is a proud ally for these women as they navigate the challenges of a male-dominated industry.

“LUNAFEST’s goal is to highlight the work of female filmmakers and the festival is a foundational part of LUNA’s commitment to women. LUNA has always been about more than bars – it’s in our DNA to champion women through their adventures, challenges and ultimately, their triumphs,” said Ritu Mathur, LUNA brand director. “For the past 16 years, LUNAFEST has recognized and honored female filmmakers in their efforts to push social norms and shatter the glass ceiling in a male-dominated industry.”

In 2016, LUNA commissioned a study with Dr. Stacy Smith of USC’s Annenberg School of Communication to examine the current film landscape. The study, “Gender & Short Films: Emerging Female Filmmakers and the Barriers Surrounding Their Careers,” found that women comprise only 32 percent of directors of short and mid-length films overall at 10 worldwide festivals. In comparison, women directed 18 percent of independent feature films at one festival across 13 years, and just four percent of top-grossing Hollywood movies in the same time frame. The study provides further evidence that when there is diversity behind the camera, on-screen depictions better approximate the diversity we see around us off-screen.

“This study reminds us of the importance to continue the conversation and support female filmmakers,” noted Mathur. “These unique stories generate interest and excitement for the creators whose voices and vision are largely absent from mainstream cinema.”

The titles of this year’s program include:

“Another Kind of Girl” by Khaldiya Jibawi – A 17-year-old girl meditates on how her refugee camp has opened up new horizons and given her a sense of courage that she lacked in Syria.

“Family Tale” by Dr. Patricia Beckmann-Wells – Through love, loss, and determination, the definition of family is rewritten.

“Free to Laugh” by Lara Everly – A documentary that explores the power of comedy after prison.

“Join the Club” by Eva Vives – A writer’s dilemma of whether or not to join a networking club unfolds during one therapy session.

“Niñera” by Diane Weipert – A story that looks at the bitter irony many nannies face: raising the children of strangers for a living while their own children are virtually left to raise themselves.

“Nkosi Coiffure” by Frederike Migom – After a fight with her boyfriend in the street, a woman escapes into a hair salon in Brussels.

“Partners” by Joey Ally – Professional and life partners must confront how intertwined their lives have become.

“The Honeys and the Bears” by Veena Rao – Members of a synchronized swim team for seniors describe the freedom of the water.

“The Third Dad” by Theresa Moerman Ib – Ten years after breaking all ties with her father, a daughter sets out to find his grave – and redemption.

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