Traveling film festival makes stop in Prince Albert in support of women filmmakers

John M. Cuelenaere Public Library -- Herald file photo.

A short film festival by women and about women is hoping to raise some money for the YWCA to coincide with events surrounding International Women’s Day.

Lunafest is a travelling short film festival championing women in film. It as started in 2000 to raise funds for local causes and for Chicken & Egg Pictures, which supports women filmmakers.

According to the Lunafest website, there are 2.13 male short-film directors for every one female director.

To LUNAFEST, that’s “2.13 male voices to every one female heard. 2.13 male stories to every one not yet told.”

Let’s even these numbers out with the LUNAFEST movement. Host, submit or attend a screening to flip the script on inequality in the film world.”

Pam Cuelenaere is one of the organizers of LUNAFEST. She attended an event in Saskatoon last year held to support the Edwards School of Business.

“I thought if they can have it in Saskatoon, why can’t we have it in Prince Albert, so we decided to bring it to P.A.,” she said.

Cuelenaere has experience putting on film festivals. She is one of the organizers of the Reel Rave Festival, held each summer in Waskesiu.

She chose to approach the YWCA because she thought the event would be a good fit with the organization’s mission.

“They help and support women in our community, and young people and men,” she said. ‘They help a lot of people in our community. I thought it would be a nice way to help them if we could do a bit of fundraising for them.”

Cuelenaere brought it to Estelle Hjertaas, who sits on the YWCA board. Hjertaas brought it up at a board meeting.

“Everybody loved the idea,” Hjertaas said.

Another board member, Pat Lawton, sponsored the initial costs through her business, Lawton Partners, so they could pay the fees to screen the festival. That means from here on in, any funds raised go to Chicken & Egg and to the YWCA.

The films cover a variety of topics and last from five to 18 minutes.

“It gives everyone a taste of a broad example of different genres,” Cuelenaere said.

Hjertaas expressed why having films by women about women is so important.

“Films by women about women matter because maybe men and women wouldn’t portray a woman’s life in the same way,” she said.

“I think that’s relevant for everybody, not just women, to see women’s lives from their own perspective.”

The short film festival runs for about an hour and a half tonight at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library. Door open at 6:30 p.m. and the films start at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation, but forms will be available for anyone who wants to make a larger donation.

“We didn’t want to exclude anybody who didn’t have the financial means to attend,” Hjertaas said. “But the goal is for it to be a fundraiser as well.”