short films
by, for, about women

Last week I had the absolute privilege of attending the final leg of the international film festival LUNAFEST 2013 - a collection of short films made by, for and all about women. 
"Established in 2000 by LUNA, the makers of the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, LUNAFEST connects women, their stories and their causes through film. This traveling film festival spotlights the work of a diverse array of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes." See more here
Mercedes, Myself and Katrina at LUNAFEST
I was given a ticket to attend the festival through yoUnlimited and really had zero expectations of what I was about to engage with. I knew it had something to do with film, something to do with women, and that it was a fundraiser event for the wonderful Bridges for Women. So along I went, up to the University of Victoria movie theatre Cinecenta for an evening of the unknown. 

It's amazing how seeing a few familiar and friendly faces at an event where you don't know what to expect can completely set your thoughts at ease and allow you to simply relax and be present. The smell of popcorn filled the room, the friendly smiles of women from the community were my introduction to the evening and the little sampler size Luna bar was a delightful treat as the event began. 

As I browsed through the evening's program, I immediately felt a tug on my heart strings as the eighth film to be shown was named "Whakatiki: A Spirit Rising" a film created in New Zealand. My expectations suddenly rose as I realized that this event was truly international... so much so that it showcased a piece from the lovely little islands of New Zealand. 
There were a total of nine films shown at the festival - all very unique, culturally different and with their own artistic touch. But they all had one thing in common - women. They showcased the struggles, the challenges and the ups and downs that are often faced by women all across the globe. But they also showcased the heroes among us - women facing those struggles and challenges and defeating the odds, becoming successful and happy in whatever that might look like to them. Powerful stuff!

One common thread throughout a number of the beautiful films that I personally resonated with was self-esteem and body-image issues. It became truly apparent to me that it doesn't matter what your culture, colour or career is, the majority of women, at some point in their lives (or all throughout) will deal with a lack of self-confidence due to feeling inadequate with their body image. It doesn't matter your age, your family genes, or even how other people perceive you - these issues are ingrained in you from a very early age.  
WHY is it so challenging for a woman to look at her body and see imperfections as unique characteristics? To smile and congratulate her body for achieving to continue living and being healthy instead of frowning and chastising herself for eating that extra piece of cake. Why is this such a common challenge for women across the globe - and how can we change it? 

I look at my 4.5 year old niece and cannot help but smile. She is such a beautiful being, inside and outside, and she is still young enough to be happy to just be herself. It hurts my heart to think that she will soon be reaching the age where the inevitable begins - body image issues. What can we do to ensure that our beautiful daughters, nieces and cousins can learn to love their body beyond the childhood years?

And what are you doing to support that loving being inside of you that may have gotten sidetracked in the past?

Sweet Dea

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