by Christy Rodriguez de Conte
Hollywood has long been a man’s scene. A 2015 Automated Analysis of Gender Representation in Popular Films by the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media found that only 17% of films that year had female leads, and that male characters dominated both the screen time and speaking time in the top-grossing films.
Although seven years may have brought change with the efforts of female-led production companies like Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and Amy Pohler’s Paper Kite Productions, representation can only be gained by creating a strong community.
Luckily for Tallahassee, longtime community arts ally Audrey Goff held no punches when it came time to empower and celebrate women in the film industry. Goff currently serves on the board of directors for both The School of Arts and Sciences and The Oasis Center for Women and Girls.
For it’s fall fundraiser, Oasis Center is teaming with Lunafest to present 8 short films by and about women at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at the Challenger IMAX Theater. Enjoy gourmet popcorn treats, appetizers, and drinks, with a champagne toast before the show. Tickets are $55.
Goff credits her early musical development in band and chorus for nurturing the leadership skills she requires today to support the use of art as a community builder. “Becoming a drum major at such an early age,15 years old. I was hooked. It was music that set me up for leadership.”
When Oasis was looking for recommendations for a fall fundraiser, Goff took it as an opportunity to take a step back and ask if they were bringing new fresh artistic opportunities to Tallahassee. The answer was a resounding no. Lunafest was Goff’s response. She recalls her glee at the discovery of Lunafest, an all-women traveling film festival.
“It was so compelling to me, a communications professional, the Luna brand was so smart to put something out there for nonprofits like us.”
For over 10 years, the Oasis Center for Women & Girls has voiced its support for the arts by showcasing local female artistic talents with a fun night of music, poetry, and comedy known as The Celebration of Women & Girls.
Goff declares that this year’s Lunafest “continues with the spirit of celebration, but it broadens the story so that we are bringing in perspectives from all over the globe in what these women ultimately produce in their films.”
Goff is proud to have facilitated such a synergistic collaboration between Oasis Center for Women and Girls, Lunafest, and their creative counterpart, Chicken and Egg productions, to deliver a women’s film festival the likes of which Tallahassee has never seen.
The Luna organization is best known for creating the first nutrition bar for women. In 2001, Luna’s commitment to “fuel women’s ambition as well as their bodies,” led them to create a small yet thriving film festival out of California. Since then, they have launched a global event that has elevated the works of 170 women filmmakers at over 200 events annually through their unique platform.
Goff sings the praises of Lunafest and the ease with which nonprofits like Oasis Center for Girls can work within the Lunafest model to raise money for their organization.
“This is a traveling film festival,” says Goff. “There is no film festival for women by women in Tallahassee. Period. There are film festivals, but not with this lens. And I think it’s really important to consider how nuanced the life of the woman is. It’s a really important moment to take a step back to watch these eight films.”
According to Goff, the vetting process done by Lunafest and its panel of qualified filmmakers focuses on finding stories that highlight women and their accomplishments and aspirations.
This narrowing of the scope creates much-needed women’s spaces in the film industry to elevate the narratives explored in this year’s Lunafest lineup, which includes eight short films with a total running time of 80 minutes.
This includes films like Andrea Dorfman’s “How to Be at Home,” an animated poem about the isolating effects COVID-19 pandemic, and Akanksha Cruczynski, “Close Ties to Home Country,” an endearing tale of an immigrant dog walker who finds companionship in the wealthy pets she cares for.
The other films are: “Generation Impact: The Coder,” By Samantha Knowles; “Proof of Loss,” by Katherine Fisher; “When You Clean a Stranger’s Home,” by Sharon Arteaga; “Between the Lines: Liz at Large,” by Abi Cole; “Wearable Tracy,” by Emily McAllister; and “To the Future, with Love,” by Shaleece Haas & Hunter “Pixel” Jimenez.
As an ally of women in the arts, Goff reminds us how music and film can inspire young women to see more within themselves, “I started a love for music in elementary school… (in) band and chorus, I really found my space and my place. It really became not only an artistic outlet but a community.”
Goff has carried this essence into her community work and stands as proof of the power explored and shared when art and community collide.
Read the rest of the article on the Tallahassee Democrat.
Learn more about Lunafest 2022.