Zonta Club of Newport Harbor Hosts LunaFest Short Film Festival

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A scene from “Ballet After Dark,” one of the films screening at LunaFest, hosted by Zonta Club of Newport Harbor, on March 14. — Photo courtesy of LunaFest ©

While talented female directors continue to be shut out of major industry awards, they will be in the spotlight next weekend, when a local club launches LunaFest.

Hosted by the Zonta Club of Newport Harbor, the event will be held March 14 at the Marion Knott Studios at Chapman University in Orange.

LunaFest is the creation of the energy bar company Clif Bar, and consists of seven short films on diverse topics by and about women, fitting as March is Women’s History Month.

Both domestic and international directors are among this year’s line-up, with films that promise to elicit both laughter and tears, officials noted in a press release.

It kicks off at 1 p.m. with a VIP reception that includes refreshments, silent auction, wine pull and opportunity drawing. The screening begins at 2:15 p.m., with an in-person director’s interview midway. ABC7 reporter Jessica De Nova will emcee the event, including the director Q&A.

Jessica De Nova from ABC7 will serve as emcee for LunaFest on March 14. — Photo courtesy of LunaFest ©

De Nova, who was raised in Santa Ana, has returned to Orange County as part of the ABC7 team after covering news in Oregon, Arizona, Nevada and Florida. De Nova is particularly happy to be this year’s emcee because she is personally familiar with the Zonta organization and its mission to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy, officials explained in the message.

As a high school senior, De Nova received a scholarship from the local Zonta chapter to further her college education, becoming the first in her family to graduate from college. Being the emcee brings her ZONTA involvement full circle.

LunaFest is the primary fundraiser of the year for Zonta Club of Newport Harbor, with proceeds going to fund scholarships for female film students at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film & Media Arts and to provide funding for Girls on the Run Orange County, a nonprofit that helps girls recognize their inner strength, develop skills and establish a lifetime appreciation for fitness.

While there are 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries, with 30,000 members overall, Zonta Club of Newport Harbor is the only club in Orange County and includes members from throughout the county.

“LunaFest is truly a triple win,” said Zonta member Hilary Kaye, who is helping promote the event. “First, we support women directors, and it’s tremendously important to encourage more of the perspectives women directors bring to the film industry. Second, the films are always terrific, and our VIP reception is very fun, so our guests have a great afternoon. Our third winners are the beneficiaries, it raises money for women film students and a local nonprofit that helps young girls achieve their best.”

The public is invited to attend. Cost is $45 in advance, or $50 at the door. Student tickets are $20.

For more information, visit lunafestnewportharbor.com.


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