Charity Spotlight: Zonta Club of Newport Harbor Supports Female Filmmakers

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Movie still from the film “Butter Cup,” scheduled to screen at Lunafest

Are you ready for LUNAFEST?

Launched in 2000 by Kit Crawford, the founder of Luna Bar, LUNAFEST is the first all-women travelling film festival that presents screenings in more than 175 cities across the country where the work of talented women filmmakers are showcased.

On Feb. 3, the Zonta Club of Newport Harbor will host the LUNAFEST national touring film festival at Chapman University. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit several female film students at Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange.

This is the ninth year that the Zonta Club has teamed up with LUNAFEST and Dodge College. Zonta’s Newport Harbor chapter is one of about 1,200 around the world and the only one in Orange County. Their mission is to empower women through service and advocacy.

Bonny Schumacher, a Newport Beach resident and a member of Zonta Club of Newport Harbor for 30 years, said she’s been impressed by the students’ films.

“We began by giving two awards and now are up to four,” Schumacher said of their work. “They use the funds to help complete the short film each produces and directs as a senior or grad student. We’ve seen some of the students’ completed films and they are terrific.”

In her second year as chair of the LUNAFEST event, Zonta Club member Hilary Kaye says the film festival is different from their usual hands-on volunteer work.

“It’s our one fundraiser of the year when we invite the community to support our work. We chose female film students because we recognize that women still struggle to succeed in this industry. The most recent study showed that women made up just 18 percent of the directors, writers, producers, editors and cinematographers who worked on the top 250 films released in the country last year. Wow, that’s such a small percentage!” she wrote in an email.

“We believe having women significantly involved in the film industry is so important. We are thrilled that each year we can help young women advance in their chosen careers. Some of our past recipients are now working in the film industry, starting to bring much-needed diversity. The more funds we raise, the more young women we can help,” Kaye said.

Two directors whose films are featured during the festival will take part in a Q&A during next Saturday’s event. Both Anne Edgar and Megan Brotherton will be in attendance, as well as one young filmmaker from Dodge College.

A VIP reception will take place before the screening, with complimentary appetizers and wine and beverages for sale. A silent auction, opportunity drawings, and a wine pull will also be held.

“It’s really a great party!” Kaye said of the event. “And even though it’s focused on women filmmakers and their films, men do come and enjoy it too!”

LUNAFEST Film Festival at Marion Knott Studios at Chapman University will take place Feb. 3 and start at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $35 and available on the Lunafest website at Lunafest.org.

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