An attentive audience experienced what it is like being a recovering prisoner, a nanny’s daughter, a Jordan camp refugee and a synchronized swimmer Tuesday and Wednesday evening at LUNAFEST.
LUNAFEST, sponsored by the Shippensburg University Women’s Center, is a traveling film festival composed of short films by, for and about women. The event was held in the Ceddia Union Building’s Orndorff Theatre and consisted of nine short films ranging in topics.
The first film was titled “Free to Laugh,” which took an unusual combination — former prisoners and comedy. Many prisoners shared how being involved in a comedy club helped them overcome their shameful pasts and poke fun at themselves.
“Teenagers are so much like addicts. They want money all the time,” one former prisoner said.
“Niñera,” or “Nanny” followed the comedy film by portraying the lives of a woman and a school-aged girl. Both had to care for infants, but there was a stark contrast. While the woman fed her infant healthy, homemade baby food, the girl gave her infant boxed mac and cheese.
Toward the end of the film, the woman walks into the girl’s house, revealing that she is the mother.
Afterward, viewers were left swallowing the sad irony of a nanny’s children raising themselves while their mother is off raising someone else.
Another film featured in the festival was “Another Kind of Girl,” which appeared in the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival in Austin, Texas. This film focused on a teenager and her new life of comfort in a refugee camp in Jordan. She remarks how her younger siblings are happier and no longer have the worries they had in Syria.
LUNAFEST ended with “The Honeys and the Bears,” a film about a senior citizen synchronized swim team. The members raved about how freeing the water felt and that they could do things they could not do on land — be youthful again.
“The best part of getting old is you come to grips with things you worried about when you were younger,” a swimmer said.
By the end of LUNAFEST, audience members were deeply inspired to conquer the world and had “The Nutcracker” song stuck in their head which was featured in the synchronized swimming routine.
While many of the film directors were from California, there were a few foreign directors from countries like Scotland, Jordan and Belgium.
Anyone can submit a film by going to www.lunafest.org between October and April. The winning film directors receive $2,500 and the opportunity for their work to be viewed at almost 200 venues across North America.