Postpartum Support Virginia is bringing LUNAFEST back to Arlington on March 8 with a program of independent films by women, an author reading and a raffle.
LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival featuring award-winning short films by, about and for women. The event was started in 2000 by the makers of the LUNA Whole Nutrition bar for women. The festival can act as a fundraiser for local organizations, as it does here, and it’s also a terrific time for women to come together and support women’s creativity. I’ve attended several times with friends and always walk away feeling like my eyes and heart have been opened.
This year’s festival features nine films that, the organizers say, will “compel discussion, make you laugh, tug at your heartstrings and motivate you to make a difference in your community.” For details on this year’s films, which together run for about 90 minutes, click here.
LUNAFEST raises funds for important causes. The major beneficiary, getting 15% of the funds raised at all LUNAFESTs, is the Breast Cancer Fund, whose tagline is “Prevention Starts Here.”
The Fund is committing to preventing breast cancer through research and action that reduce exposure to toxins. One of the Fund’s projects is the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics coalition. Check out the 2016 Pretty Scary 2 report on toxic chemicals in kids’ makeup.
For more about the festival, visit www.lunafest.org.
The remaining proceeds from LUNAFEST back to the local community, in this case, Postpartum Support Virginia. I asked PSVa founder Adrienne Griffen to share a little about her vision in bringing the film festival to Northern Virginia.
Jessica of Mindful Healthy Life: What made you initially start hosting Lunafest?
Adrienne of Postpartum Support Virginia: Our first LUNAFEST was in 2007. I was an instructor with Stroller Strides (now Fit4Mom), and Stroller Strides was partnering with LUNA at that time. This was a natural fit — films about women, working with a company that focused on women, supporting health issues affecting women.
Jessica: What are some of the results or success stories you’ve seen as a result of this event?
Adrienne: The biggest success is how much awareness we have raised about postpartum depression — as well as raising over $50,000 for Postpartum Support Virginia and the Breast Cancer Fund.
Our first LUNAFEST raised a little over $1,000; this year our goal is to net $10,000. LUNAFEST is our biggest friendraiser and fundraiser. Some supporters have come every single year. Some women make it an annual Girls’ Night Out. It’s great to see women supporting other women.
Jessica: I agree! There is nothing cooler than being with other women, supporting women, and being inspired by creative women!
How has your organization changed over the years? What were your initial goals and what are your goals now?
Adrienne: Postpartum Support Virginia‘s mission and goals have remained steadfast: we help women and families overcome postpartum depression and other related illnesses. Our vision is that all childbearing women in Virginia will receive information about these illnesses and have access to help. We started in 2009 with 3 volunteers leading 2 support groups. We now have 50+ volunteers leading 20 support groups around the state. Our goal is to provide a support group at each of the 55 hospitals in Virginia providing maternity services.
Jessica: Tell us about a little more about some of the programs and services you offer.
Adrienne: Along with direct support to new moms and families, PSVa provides information and resources, including referrals to over 150+ specially-trained mental health providers who have interested, expertise, and experience in working with women during the reproductive years. We also do a great deal of outreach and education, helping train volunteers, mental health professionals, healthcare providers, and anyone with a touch-point with new and expectant mothers. We teach people to talk about mental health issues without fear or stigma or shame. We know that mental health is as important as physical health, and we know that a happy healthy mother makes a happy healthy family.
Many thanks to Adrienne for her work on behalf of mothers at Postpartum Support Virginia and for taking the time to chat with us.
LUNAFEST 2017 takes place at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse on Wednesday, March 8. Doors open at 6:30 with live jazz music and a raffle featuring gift baskets, getaways, and designer handbags. At 7:30, local author Kelly Sokol will read from her forthcoming novel, The Unprotected, which deals with issues of infertility and postpartum depression. The movies start at 7:45 and run approximately 90 minutes. The raffle will close at 9:00, and winners will be announced as the event draws to a close at 9:15.
If you want more people to know about this event, share this blog post or invite friends via the Facebook event, but be sure to buy your tickets – the event is likely to sell out! Buy tickets at postpartumva.org/lunafest-2017.
Jessica Claire Haney is the founder, publisher and editor of Mindful Healthy Life and was the founder and a longtime leader of the Arlington/Alexandria Chapter of Holistic Moms Network. Jessica is a writer and editor who is working on her first novel. Find information about her writing and about the editing and business consulting services she offers at JessicaClaireHaney.com. She also volunteers on issues related to wellness in public schools. Jessica’s personal blog is Crunchy-Chewy Mama, on Facebook at facebook.com/CrunchyChewyMama. For more information, see Jessica’s Mindful Healthy Life Q&A.