The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Film fest aids Girls on the Run

When Academy Award nominations were announced last month, many were outraged over the lack of women and people of color in the nominees. However, Iowa City film buffs may get a taste of diversity through another outlet tonight, before the Oscar show on Feb. 22.

Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa will present LunaFest, a film festival of works by and about women, at 7 p.m. today in the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth St. There will be a silent auction at 6 p.m.

“LunaFest is actually a national film festival,” said Kelly Teeselink, the local festival’s head. “There are eight films this year, and they’re a wide-range of films: fiction, nonfiction, documentary style. It is organized by Luna Bars, and it’s the responsibility of nonprofits and communities to bring it in.”

Girls on the Run, an after-school program for third- through sixth-grade girls, has used the festival as a fundraiser the last three years. 

“[Girls on the Run is] a youth development program that incorporates running to teach girls important messages like positive body image, how to give back to the community, self-esteem, conflict resolution, and collaboration,” said Esther Baker, the group’s executive director. 

Eighty-five percent of the funds raised from LunaFest help support Girls on the Run. The other 15 percent are donated to the Breast Cancer Fund.

Girls on the Run selected LunaFest as its festival, Baker said, because it coincides so well with the organization’s goals.

“[LunaFest] features and honors the lives of women and girls and, as an organization that focuses on serving woman and girls and helping them become successful in their adult lives, it fits in very well,” she said.  “It’s an opportunity to honor the voices of woman and girls and feature female talent.”

Girls on the Run also aims at featuring female talent, running or otherwise.

“It just really tries to embrace every girl for who she is and embrace differences,” said Teeselink, who is also a coach with the program. “It’s really not about running, it’s more about learning about yourself and learning these life lessons that are so important.”

Though the 10-week long session leads up to a 5K, Teeselink said, it’s not about how quickly the girls can run the race.

“During these 10 weeks, we’re learning about ourselves and our community, and we’re also training to run a 5K,” she said. “We don’t focus on the running — you set the goal to cross that finish line, and you do, whether running, walking, skipping, jumping.” 

The event aims at honoring women, but don’t worry, it’s inclusive.

“We use LunaFest to bring women in the community together to celebrate women and their accomplishments — and men are invited, too,” Tesselink said.  


The 2015 films are: