LunaFest: SASS, Port Theatre put women’s issues on silver screen

LunaFest: SASS, Port Theatre put women’s issues on silver screen
Larry Sylvain

By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – A travelling, fundraising short film festival dedicated to promoting women in cinema is ready to roar in Cornwall.

LunaFest will be premiering at the Port Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 28.

All proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Fund based in San Francisco, and, in major part, Sexual Assault Support Services of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry – Akwesasne (SDG&A).

“We hope this event sparks a conversation about women’s issues and all the amazing filmmakers,” said SASS executive director Angela Vinet.

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

“It tackles a lot of the things women go through, but it’s not too heavy, families are very welcome to join us,” said Vinet.

Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 at the door) and can be purchased at Summit Health Fitness, Echo Trends, Salon on Second, SASS, and the Port (132 Montreal Road). The event will be licensed to sell beer and alcohol.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 7:00 p.m.

SASS, a non-profit organization based in Cornwall, provides free support to victims/survivors of sexual violence. Services include accompaniment to the police station, hospital, or court, one-on-one counseling, information/support groups, as well as public education.

With a fundraising goal of $6,000, Vinet’s vision of a happy ending to LunaFest would fade out on a packed theatre.

Larry Sylvain, co-owner of the Port, echoed those sentiments.

“It was important to help SASS with this event because we really need their services in the community,” said Sylvain, in between setting up the theatre for a Canadian Cancer Society movie fundraiser.

He encourages non-profits and charitable organizations, as well as businesses and individuals to reach out for their events.

In addition to competing with a cineplex, the stark reality of convert or die facing vintage theatres across North America has come to a head. The spools of 35 mm ribbon still used at the Port have turned into a tangled mess. Now major studios only send digital cinema packages, or DCPs. Old technology means (almost) no new flicks for the Port and a lukewarm response from local moviegoers.

The price tag to go digital: $60,000. A staggering amount for a neighborhood movie theatre where all regular tickets are now $7.50 and snacks sell as low as a dollar.

“We’re struggling,” said Sylvain. “We can’t access any first-run movies; the major studios won’t send us anything.”

Fundraising attempts have been made to no avail.

“We’ve tried public pleas,” he said. “But we’re hopefully going to nail it down this year. And fortunately we have some new indie films coming up that we are able to show.”

As part of the Bishop’s Pix Movie Series presented by the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, the Port will also be screening a documentary called ‘The Rule’ between Feb. 20- Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on LunaFest, visit, call the Port box office at (613) 933-4547 or join

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