LUNAFEST, a festival of short films by, for and about women, is making its annual stop at the Hermosa Beach Community Center tonight with eight short films from around the world.
The festival is sponsored by Luna Bars and hosted by different charitable groups around the country. Soroptimist International of Manhattan Beach has hosted the local festival for six years now.
"One of the members stumbled onto this festival," said Monica Frey, the club member in charge of the festival.
She explained that since the Soroptimist mission is to raise funds and awareness of women's issues, the festival fit in neatly with the group's goals.
This year, in addition to the films chosen by the LUNAFEST committee, a 14-minute version of Flesh: Bought and Sold in the U.S. will be shown with a question and answer session with the film's writer/producer Christina Lee Storm, of Redondo Beach, and the director Kristin Ross Lauterbach.
The film, which covers the issue of sex trafficking in the United States. Trafficking, Storm explained, is different than prostitution in that it involves coercion and usually underage girls.
Storm was drawn to the issue of trafficking during a visit to India. She decided she wanted to make a documentary film about it, but didn't quite know how to go about it.
"I come from the world of feature film," she said.
Undeterred, she and Lauterbach eventually got together and put together a proposal for Women Make Movies, a group that funds such small films.
Frey said that they pared the 90-minute movie down to 14 minutes to give the audiences the flavor of the film and to bring awareness to the issue.
"They don't think that it's happening here," Storm said about trafficking, and that it's tough for Americans to get their heads around the idea that minors are being coerced into prostitution.
Frey said that they wanted the film for just that reason. The festival will raise money for the Soroptimist Club, even though 15 percent of the money raised will go directly to Luna Bar's charity, The Breast Cancer Fund.
The festival begins at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Hermosa Beach Community Center, 710 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach. Tickets can be purchased at the LUNAFEST site, lunafest.org.