LUNAFEST comes to Brisbane

By: Mayor Madison Davis, City of Brisbane, madisondavis@ci.brisbane.ca.us, 415-706-5276

LUNAFEST comes to Brisbane
By: Mayor Madison Davis, City of Brisbane, madisondavis@ci.brisbane.ca.us, 415-706-5276
In March, I have the pleasure of inviting you to a new event coming to Brisbane, very near and dear to my heart. On March 23rd, the City of Brisbane in partnership with the Brisbane Lions Club will host LunaFest at Mission Blue, a short-film festival for, about, and by women. Created in 2000 by Luna Bar and CLIF & Co, LunaFest aims to promote female filmmakers while “telling stories that have to be told.” LunaFest began as the first all-women traveling film festival in the world and for the last two decades has “amplified the voices of strong women everywhere.” Today, LunaFest has grown to annual screenings in more than 175 cities worldwide. I am proud to add Brisbane to the list.
While LunaFest undoubtedly provides a night of entertainment, the mission behind the festival extends beyond showcasing female filmmakers. The festival has encouraged conversations about female inequity in the film industry. While women constitute 50% of the moviegoing audience, of the top 100 grossing films in 2018, women represented 4% of directors, 15% of writers, and 18% of producers. Only one woman has ever won an Academy Award for best director. One…let that sink in for a minute. Only five have ever been nominated. Of the top 100 films in 2017, only a third featured a female lead or co-lead. With women underrepresented in the film industry, our mainstream media fails to showcase enough female-driven stories, especially those featuring the experiences of women of color. LunaFest provides a vehicle to tell these stories.
The journey to bring LunaFest to Brisbane began before I was elected to city council. My cousin invited me to a screening quite a few years ago and it became a yearly tradition amongst the women in my family ever since. Once elected to council, many people asked me “what’s on your agenda? What will be the mark you make on Brisbane?” To be honest, I never had a quick answer to that question. There were certainly causes or issues I championed but these were a result of citizens coming to me with their concerns. I think of myself in this role as a servant, guided by the community in all of what I do, so to create something purely as a result of my own experience was foreign.
However, when I began my position as mayor in December I thought more seriously about this year and what I could use my influence to create for our community. I wanted to leave behind something that would last well beyond 2019 and even perhaps the next decade. As a young woman holding an elected position, I often hear that girls see the path I have forged and know that because I succeeded, they can too. While the thought of being a role model has taken some getting used to, encouraging our youth is something I can get behind. See, I too remember looking up to someone much the same way. As a child, a female council member used to tell me all the time I would be on the council one day. I’d shrug it off but she’d insist. She saw my potential at 10 years old, before I ever did, and continued to reinforce the possibility I could hold office. She planted the seed…and it sat there dormant for a long time until 2015 when another female friend encouraged me to run for council. As I began to second guess myself, those years of encouragement came to the forefront and for the first time, I genuinely believed I could walk this path because women throughout my life had instilled in me the importance of believing in myself. Call it cheesy, call is sappy, but I call it women supporting women…and it works. As all the thoughts about what I would accomplish as mayor were swirling in my head, I realized I needed to establish something that embraced my role as a female elected official and do for others what so many women had done for me. I knew I needed to create something to uplift other women. LunaFest was it.
Along with bringing to the forefront inequity within the film industry, LunaFest provides an avenue to raise funds for female causes. LunaFest makes the films available to organizations to host a screening so long as attendees are charged admission and this money goes to a women’s cause. Since its inception, LunaFest has raised $4.7 million for women.
As I thought about which organization would benefit from LunaFest funds, I knew the money raised needed to stay in town. The Lions Club has always had a presence in my life and when I needed their assistance most as a college student, they ensured I had funds for my education. I will never be able to thank them enough for what they did for me and what they have done and will continue to do for so many other students. It seemed only fitting that the money raised from LunaFest should go to the Lions. Thankfully, they share in my vision and have agreed to use the funds to create a scholarship for women pursuing a degree in a male dominated field such as film, engineering, science, math, technology, political-science or the trades (electrician, mechanic, plumber etc.) They have worked tirelessly to help me and our city staff coordinate this event and together I am hoping we can raise $10,000 or more this year. I would be remiss if I did not mention Madhouse Coffee, 7 Mile House, and Midtown Market have agreed to donate concessions for us to sell. If you or your employer would like to support our efforts to raise funds for Brisbane college students, please reach out to me. I am still hoping to secure more sponsors and concession donations. Sponsorship levels are as follows: Bronze-$500, Silver- $1000, Gold-$1500 (includes 5 tickets), Platinum-$2500 (includes 10 tickets). If you’d like to donate an amount other than what’s listed, please let me know.
So mark your calendars for March 23rd at 6:00 PM. You don’t want to miss LunaFest at Mission Blue, complete with entertaining short films and elevated concessions! Have a night out and support Brisbane students. Pre-sale tickets are $15 and selling quickly. Should tickets still be available the day of, they will be priced at $20. You can purchase tickets online by clicking on the Eventbrite link on the city’s website, simply visit: brisbaneca.org/events/lunafest
Last but not least, here’s my Brisbane Fun Fact of the month: In 1953 Brisbane boasted more than 5,000 residents… and there were much fewer houses at that time than there are now.
If you have a question, concern, compliment, or feedback I invite you to email me at madisondavis@ci.brisbane.ca.us or give me a call at 415-706-5276.