Benicia Film Festival returns for its sixth year to celebrate independent filmmakers and support arts and culture in Benicia. The three-day festival will welcome audiences at Benicia Veterans Memorial Hall, 1150 First Street, kicking off with a gala event on the evening of Friday, September 6th. The festival will conclude on Sunday, September 8th.
The First Street location allows visitors and participants to easily enjoy all that historic downtown Benicia has to offer. From Benicia’s delightful shops and restaurants to interesting art galleries and charming hotels, it’s all easily walkable and nestled by the Carquinez Strait.
Over the last six years, the Benicia Film Festival has brought foreign and domestic independent filmmaking to Benicia. Conceived by the City of Benicia Arts and Culture Commission, the goal has always been to bring the community together for an opportunity to support and celebrate films and their creators, both budding and established.
This year, Benicia Film Festival will be screening a total of 59 films over the weekend. Works include culinary portrait “Hiro’s Table,” directed by Lynn Hamrick; “Down in the Dumps,” directed by Evan Owens, a harrowing story based on actual events surrounding a kidnapping; and “The Kaleidoscope Guy at the Market,” directed by Russell Brown, about Seattle’s beloved stained-glass artist Michael Shaw. LUNAFEST includes a film by Nigerian-American filmmaker Bola Ogun, who was selected for the 2014 AFI Directing Workshop for Women and whose submission “Are We Good Parents?” premiered at South X Southwest and has since travelled through Outfest and Edmonton International, among others.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., will see the return of LUNAFEST to Benicia Film Festival. LUNAFEST presented by Luna Bar is an organization that, in partnership with Chicken & Egg Pictures, has become a driving force in the movement toward gender equality in filmmaking. LUNAFEST prides itself on its dedication to short films by and about women. “Telling stories that have to be told,” as founder Kim Crawford puts it, helps create a platform from which to promote women in film.
The nonprofit provides mentorship and financial support to female filmmakers. One hundred percent of their proceeds go to local women’s cause groups. This year, the Arts and Culture Commission will be donating the proceeds to Soroptimist International of Benicia, whose mission it is to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.