Lunafest runs this weekend

A student at the Hemingway STEAM school designs a poster supporting local police for Girls on the Run.

This weekend, Girls on the Run of Southern Idaho is hosting their annual Lunafest film festival and silent auction, both virtually, to raise funds.

Girls on the Run promotes physical and emotional health in young girls. Molly Goodyear is the Executive Director of the nonprofit.

“We want to make sure we reach underserved populations in our valley and Twin Falls,” Goodyear said. “We reach a lot of girls who might not otherwise be involved in sports or have the financial means to be involved in other programs.”

The Clif Bar family that makes Luna Bars produces Lunafest. Lunafest is available for Girls on the Run and other organizations like it to use as a fundraising tool. These films are curated specifically for Girls on the Run. Tickets are $25. The four short films run about 65 minutes long in total. The films are available online until Saturday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. They are unrated, but the organization suggests viewers be 13 and over. The work features documentaries by and about women.

Hollis Morris directed “Overexposed: Filming an Arctic Odyssey.” It follows the crew filming the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition. Morris is a filmmaker and author who has told feminist stories across the globe for 20 years.

Meg Shutzer directed “Knocking Down the Fences.” It follows AJ Andrews, the first female winner of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, as she fights in the world of professional softball. Shutzer is a queer, award-winning documentary filmmaker and investigative reporter from Oakland, California.

Tracy Nguyen-Chung and Ciara Lacy directed “Connection.” When Autumn Harry discovers fly fishing, it takes her beyond the waters of her reservation for the first time. Nguyen-Chung is the founder of After Bruce, a boutique PR agency. Ciara Lacy is a Native Hawaiian filmmaker and digital content creator.

Christine Turner directed “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business.” It looks back on the life of the legendary artist as she continues to move forward. Turner is a filmmaker based in New York.

“It’s to inspire girls to be joyful and more confident in their everyday lives,” Goodyear said.

Many local businesses donated items for the silent auction, which runs until Sunday, Nov.14, at 9 p.m.

“People have really stepped up to the plate this year,” Goodyear said. Among the many donations are a two-night stay at Knob Hill Inn, music lessons at C’s Mountain School of Music, a Decked 2021 toolbox, four $25 gift cards from The Gold Mine Thrift Store, a $150 gift card from The Elephant’s Perch, and a three-night stay for two to four people from Stanley Valley Getaway.

Local residents have also donated items, including jewelry and baby supplies.

The money goes to scholarships for girls in the program. Although the program costs over $100, Girls on the Run never turns anyone away. About a third of the girls receive some sort of financial help. “We really want to make it accessible for everybody,” Goodyear said.

The money also goes to purchase supplies and training volunteer coaches. The actual cost to operate Girls on the Run is about $400 per participant.

Founded in 1996, Girls on the Run now has nearly 200 chapters across North America.

Despite the name, the organization is not entirely focused on cardiovascular activities. In their biweekly meetings they teach lessons on empathy and turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

“What does it mean to be beautiful inside and out?” Goodyear said.

This past fall season, Girls on the Run of Southern Idaho helped over 70 girls, the biggest group they have had in two years. Interest was so high, some girls unfortunately got left on the waiting list. In the spring, they hope for more volunteer coaches so they don’t have to turn anyone away.

Part of the curriculum is a community service project. The team at Alturas Elementary painted rocks with words of encouragement and brought them to the Senior Connection, while the Hemingway STEAM school made posters for health care workers, police officers and firefighters with words of encouragement.

Each season caps off with a 5k event the girls can run or walk. Last weekend, Swiftsure Ranch hosted the Wood River Valley Sector. They asked the parents and siblings to join the girls. Each girl had a running buddy to encourage them along the way.

“Their faces tell the story of accomplishment and self confidence,” Goodyear said. “[They] embody a lot of the lessons they learned over the course of the season.”

Goodyear said the pandemic has been especially hard on a lot of the girls. With disruptions like virtual school, not seeing friends and watching family members struggle, self-esteem can be hard to build. That’s why we need things like the Lunafest to give young girls confidence, she added.

For more information, go to

Load comments