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Women and Gender Resource Center hosts 10th annual LUNAFEST

Published on April 6, 2015

By: Kelsey Kunstadt

UA's Women and Gender Resource Center hosted its 10th annual LUNAFEST Film Festival on March 9 at the Bama Theatre. The WGRC event brought together the community to raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund and the WGRC. The evening featured catering sponsored by Taziki's, live music, silent auction and eight short films to raise awareness about women's issues.

"It says a lot for Alabama as a whole to host this national event," said Bethany Kimbrell, a human development and family study intern at WGRC.

Mollie Tinney, in her second year coordinating LUNAFEST, said the event is the WGRC's largest fundraiser of the year. Tinney said Tuscaloosa is the only city in the state to host this event.

"I like how all of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Fund and the WGRC," said Jessica Shafer, another intern at the WGRC. "The films are all by, for or about women and it gives women a chance to feel inspired."


The films featured topics including a Muslim-American girl who wants to join her new high school's cheerleading squad, to a story about feminine exploration. The films were directed across the United States, from California to New York and in the United Kingdom.

"I think it's important for women's issues to have a voice, because it's too often that women keep themselves silent and it's important to gather and talk about it in a non-discriminatory space," said a LUNAFEST attendee, Maria Beddingfield. "It's good to have open spaces."

LUNAFEST opened the night with guest speaker Dr. Cassandra Simon, an associate professor in UA's School of Social Work. Simon said that cancer in general has played a big role in her family. "Breast cancer is very dear to me and my heart," Simon said.

Simon said one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer throughout their lives. Additionally, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in females.

Rebecca Kerley, another intern at the WGRC said she thinks its great to celebrate this industry about women with films. "We don't spend enough time thinking about women," Kerley said.

While enjoying the viewing of the LUNAFEST films and sipping on Buffalo Rock's Cheerwine floats, LUNA Bars were another perk at the festival.

In the future, Tinney said she hopes LUNAFEST continues to see an increase in community attendance. She also wants to make sure the community is an active part of the festival. "It's a fun event," Tinney said. "It could even be a date night."

Over the years, LUNAFEST has raised $1.9 million nationally for charity. To learn more about the program, visit For more information on UA's Women and Gender Resource Center, visit

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