Film festival empowers young women

| March 20, 2015 | 0 Comments
Representatives from the Hawaii Army National Guard Recruiting Battalion  hand out popcorn during the first annual Lunafest Film Festival hosted by the Zonta Club of Leilehua at Sacred Hearts Academy, March 8.

Representatives from the Hawaii Army National Guard Recruiting Battalion hand out popcorn during the first annual Lunafest Film Festival hosted by the Zonta Club of Leilehua at Sacred Hearts Academy, March 8.

Capt. Liana Kim
9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs

HONOLULU — The laughter of a hundred voices echoed through the courtyard adorned with yellow roses, as Soldiers, Hawaii Army National Guard, Department of the Army civilians, pioneers in education and health care, students, families and friends gathered for the first Luna Fest Film Festival in Hawaii, here, March 8, to browse displays and educational materials on women’s health, women in business, social community issues, Zonta Club of Leilehua, Youth Challenge of Hawaii, women in the military and women in the arts.

“This is a great annual opportunity for our female recruiting force to interact with the students of a female school and to share their experience in the military, which is a nontraditional career opportunity for these young women,” said Lt. Col. Pamela Ellison, commander, Recruiting Battalion, HIANG. “This is a community fellowship event we want to continue to be a part of in the future.”

The Zonta Club of Leilehua and fellow club members coordinated with Sacred Hearts Academy and Lunafest to host this film festival about women – for women and produced by women – in the academy’s courtyard and theater.

“It has been a wonderful sistership with the Zonta Club for many years. They’ve supported clubs, programs and scholarships to raise awareness among our girls, so they don’t become domestic violence victims, and helped them provide support for those who have,” said Toni Normand, Sacred Heart’s director for Student Activities. “Last year, the girls were raising funds for a shelter for victims of sex trafficking, and the club helped make it possible for them to build a home for women on the North Shore.”

The festival is the club’s largest fundraising event of the year, the proceeds of which will support breast cancer research and other philanthropic programs.

“Zonta is an international organization that empowers women through advocacy and service,” said Kim Rapacz, president of the Zonta Club of Leilehua. “We are made up of men and women who promote this cause.”

Rapacz said this year Zonta Club of Leilehua will support the Leeward Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter and youth scholarships.

“What I think is so special about this wonderful event is, that women of all ages attended, showing that there’s a real desire for women of all backgrounds and experiences to come together and network,” said Sgt. Maj. Kanessa Trent, U.S. Army-Pacific, an executive committee member for the USARPAC Sisters in Arms program.

The film festival coincided with International Women’s Day, which focuses on respect, appreciation and love toward women, and it also celebrates women’s economic, political and social achievements.

For Zonta club members, March 8th has also been coined as “Zonta Rose Day” since 1999. On this Day, Zontians worldwide are encouraged to publicly distribute yellow roses, or items bearing the image of yellow roses, accompanied by information about Zonta International and issues relating to improving the lives of women.

The mission of Lunafest is to celebrate and inspire women through the art of film and community fundraising. This is the 14th annual touring film festival, which features films focusing on women’s issues and highlighting female filmmakers.

According to the Lunafest website, the festival has raised nearly $1.9 million for breast cancer research and other charitable causes (selected by local organizers) since its inception. The Lunafest moniker comes from its sponsor, Luna whole nutrition bars for women.

Only four women in Academy awards history have been nominated for best director, and only one, Kathryn Bigelow for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker,” took home the Oscar.   Lunafest is a step toward changing that.

The nonprofit festival’s eight films range from animation to fictional drama, and cover topics such as women’s health, motherhood, body image, aging, cultural diversity and breaking barriers.


The festival was an opportunity to honor women who’ve made significant contributions to communities with their tireless efforts and dedication to helping improve women’s lives:

•Chrystal Hogue, a businesswoman, paddling coach, mother and grandmother, for 30 years of mentoring young businesswomen in the Kailua community.

•Dr. Nancy Von Borzestowski, director of clinical operations, Women’s Center, Pali Momi Women’s Health Center.

•Ruth Osborne, counselor, Youth Challenge, who took personal time to ensure young girls in her care are provided growth experiences through mentoring and creating opportunities to become successful young women.


Special Recognition

•Andrea Hamilton, Sacred Hearts Academy, who has dedicated 40 years to educating young girls.

•Amanda Pump, Domestic Violence Shelter, who represents child and family services. Pump oversees the Zonta Club of Leilehua’s shelter programs, which is the club’s focus charity this year.


Points of Contact

For Sisters in Arms, call 438-4046.

For information about getting involved with the Zonta Club of Leilehua, email


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