With Lunafest 2022 in Clovis, women filmmakers are in the spotlight

Dince it premiered in 2001, Lunafest has become an institution in terms of putting the focus on women filmmakers. The national festival has featured more than 170 women filmmakers at more than 2,700 screenings. And more than $6.5 million has been raised for local women’s causes.

Pictured above: Sharon Arteaga’s ‘When You Clean a Stranger’s Home’ is part of the 2022 Lunafest festival. Photo: Lunafest

The Fresno-area screening of the event (3 p.m. Sunday, July 10) is sponsored by Soroptimist International of Clovis and includes a special, add-on screening featuring a film by Haley White. Here’s a rundown:

The festival: It’s a hybrid this year. The in-person screening will be held at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre, 902 Fifth St, Clovis. (Doors open at 2:30 p.m.) An online streaming option is available as well. Virtual attendees will be sent a 48-hour live access link that begins 10 p.m. Friday, and ends 10 p.m. Sunday, July 10.

The tickets $30 general, $20 students.

The program: The national version features eight short films with a total running time of 80 minutes. Titles include Andrea Dorfman’s animated poem about coping with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Akanksha Cruczynskin’s film about an immigrant dog walker who finds a  connection in the hearts of the wealthy pets she cares for, and Sharon Arteaga’s tale of a first-generation high school student describes what she and her mom learn about people when cleaning their homes.


The special guest: Fresno filmmaker Haley White will screen her 2017 short film “unbound,” which she produced after winning a grant at the Big Tell Showcase. (By the way, the upcoming deadline for submitting film proposals to this year’s Big Tell, which offers grants for the production of five-minute short documentaries that feature stories from California’s Central Valley, is rapidly approaching; I’ll be posting a separate interview with White on that topic.) White will be in person at the live event for a presentation and discussion. And she recorded a Zoom interview with Amy Querin (the subject of the film) and me — yes, I make a brief appearance in the film talking about Querin’s impact on Fresno’s dance community — which will be offered as part of the Lunafest virtual presentation.

Amy Querin in a scene from Haley White’s ‘unbound.’

Our virtual reunion: It was great to talk to Querin, who left Fresno soon after the film was finished, moving first to the Midwest and finally ending up in Portland. There are several threads in Querin’s life story that make the film intriguing, including her grief over losing her husband at a young age, her persistence and dedication in forming the Fresno Dance Collective (NOCO) and turning it into a powerhouse creative presence in Fresno in just a few short years, and the transformational experience she had teaching dance to inmates in Chowchilla at the Central California Women’s Facility. Our conversation reminded me that the best art is made by people who have to make it — not to fill time, not to impress or entertain, but because they are driven to it.

The sponsoring organizations: Along with Clif Bar & Company, which makes Luna bars and has pretty much taken over an entire aisle at Target, the Clovis screening is sponsored by Soroptimist International of Clovis. The global organization provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. Proceeds from the local screening will benefit the service projects of Soroptimist International of Clovis, along with Chicken & Egg Pictures, which supports female nonfiction filmmakers.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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