New Moon Fest Debuts Saturday At 'Sconset Casino

JohnCarl McGrady •

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Nantucket has a new film festival, courtesy of Nantucket Community Television (NCTV). NEW Moon Fest, focused on films by women filmmakers, will be held this Saturday at the ‘Sconset Casino, featuring a dozen short films from around the world.

For the last several years, NCTV has partnered with LUNA Bar to bring the company’s traveling Lunafest women’s film festival to the island, but after LUNA Bar came under new ownership last year, the festival was suspended indefinitely. Not wanting Nantucket to be without a women’s film festival, NCTV created NEW Moon Fest to fill the niche.

“NCTV really wanted to preserve the event,” producer Sarah Fraunfelder said. “So NCTV decided to produce their own festival that celebrated the voices of women from around the world and really focused on empowerment.”

NEW stands for Nantucket Empowering Women, and the choice of the moon is deeply symbolic.

“When we stand on earth and look at a new moon, we can’t always see it in the night sky,” director of programming Stephenie Serra said. “And that’s sort of symbolic of this idea of women storytellers having been in the shadows for so long. Just because they have not been previously acknowledged does not mean they are not still there.”

Co-chairs Lisa Getter and Lisa Soeder were both involved with Lunafest, and Soeder was the one to initially bring the festival to Nantucket 14 years ago, so there is continuity, but there are differences between the two festivals as well. One difference is the runtime of the program. Lunafest traditionally ran about 90 minutes and featured four films. NEW Moon Fest will run closer to three hours, with three times the number of shorts.

“Our first act is seven films that take audiences on a journey of sort of grounding them in our mission statement. Having them experience what it feels like to feel safe or unsafe in various different environments. And then the first act ends in sort of an ode to your inner child,” director of programming Stephenie Serra explained. “The second act is a continuation of that journey and it celebrates the unfettered, unfiltered spirit of women in a different way…they have to co-exist in order for audiences to fully appreciate the journey.”

The films in both acts were chosen out of a selection of shorts from 17 different countries - including one from Nantucket. “Safe,” a stop-motion animated film by Nantucket sixth-grade student Doxia Barber, will premiere at the festival, and Barber herself will be in attendance.

“We hosted four workshops that were open to Nantucketers back in March,” Serra said. “That was intending to have Nantucketers submit projects that were 30 seconds to three minutes long for consideration. We received several, and we included one in our official selection.”

Filmmaker Vanessa Sweet, the creative force behind Wild Woman, the festival’s opening film, will also be attending. Sweet, Barber, and the other filmmakers will be competing for the chance to bring home one of the festival’s laurels and the Grey Lady audience choice award.

NCTV is partnering with A Safe Place - the island agency that provides free, confidential services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault - for the festival, and a portion of NEW Moon Fest’s proceeds will go directly to A Safe Place. Tickets for the festival are still available and on sale now.

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