For the fourth year, Lunafest — a traveling festival of short films by, for and about women — arrives in Oklahoma City. Screening Friday at Lyric Theatre after a cocktail party, the event benefits World Neighbors’ Work of Women and the Breast Cancer Fund.
This year’s lineup features nine films on a variety of subjects. From a documentary about maternal health care problems to a comedy about the trials of an unwed woman pressured to find a husband, the shorts represent a touching mixture of human emotion.
“The film series is a well-crafted collection of films from around the world,” said Cacky Poarch, Lunafest co-chair. “It does give you a perspective of what the female experience is across the world.”
Most of the titles run approximately 10 minutes, with their powerful themes immediately engaging audiences.
New York’s “Missed Connections” spotlights the special moments in life that have the potential to change one’s path. Here, those come via the Craigslist forums.
The Australian dramedy “A Reluctant Bride” is about a single, Persian woman who remains happily unmarried at the age of 28, yet her family is intent on securing her a mate.
A collaborative work between filmmaker Andrea Dorfman and spoken-word artist Tanya Davis, “How to Be Alone” utilizes poetry, music and animation to explore the state of solitude.
On a more serious note, “Every Mother Counts: Obstetric Fistula” is a documentary about a preventable, disabling medical complication during birth. Directed by former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, it details the stories of the horrific physical problems and social ostracism women in Bangladesh and Tanzania have suffered as a result.
“This is a great way to expose people to films that they wouldn’t ordinarily see,” said Katherine Craig, World Neighbors spokeswoman. “The films are truly thought-provoking, funny and leave you with something to think about.”
In its 12th year nationally, Lunafest has raised nearly $800,000 since its inception, with more than $450,000 supporting the cancer fund.
Locally, the WOW! Program will receive 85 percent of every dollar raised Friday. The remaining 15 percent goes to the California-based nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund.
“Lunafest has been a hugely beneficial way to connect women in Oklahoma City to the work we do around the world,” said Erin Engelke, World Neighbors vice president of marketing and communications. “The funds raised have allowed thousands of women in World Neighbors programs to grow more and healthier food for their families, find access to clean water, improve their children’s health and establish small businesses for themselves and other women in their community.”