Film Fest Females: Spotlight on ‘Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival’

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“Moonfaze Films is a collective of artists whose lives are dedicated to telling stories via the film art form. We are rebel magic makers telling surreal truths. We are determined to unmask the masked and invoke the light in darkness. We are willing to take risks and unwilling to wait for permission to do so.” – moonfazefilms.com

What makes progressive filmmaking effective? Visibility. So what better way to expose artistic activism than a film festival? That’s where Moonfaze Films comes in! This production company-turned-film festival aims to elevate marginalized voices across the entire spectrum in our society, in a peaceful and creative way. Actress, filmmaker and founder of Moonfaze, Premstar Santana, as well as producer partner Roxanne Morrison took the time to chat with me about the upcoming festival and the inspiration behind it.

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What is Moonfaze Films? A festival? A production company? Or both?

P: Moonfaze Films is our production company and sister to the Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival.

Tell us a little about yourselves! Background, passions, talents, etc.

P: Well, I’m an actor first and foremost. It’s my heart and soul. Out of necessity I became a filmmaker and I ended up falling in love with it. I also love taking photographs. Mainly on 35mm film. Aside from acting, my background is in dance and design.

R: I am an actor as well, having done theater since I was a girl, and now budding into filmmaking and writing with the help of Premstar and other filmmaking friends. I am also a social activist, yoga enthusiast and an artist.

Premstar, how long has Moonfaze Films been around, and what have you done so far with it?

P: Moonfaze Films has officially been around since 2015, but really it’s been around since 2009 when my husband (Director and Moonfaze Films co-founder Ben Gilbert) and I started making films together.

Tell us what inspired the feminist aspect of your upcoming film festival, and what you hope to achieve with it.

P: My moving portrait series Her Changing Faces inspired me. It’s a series of different characters each from a different female and feminist perspective. I was tired of waiting for permission to show my work. I knew I wasn’t alone in the daily grind of trying to get your work seen, so I decided to create an event to showcase not only my work, but the work of like minded feminist filmmakers. Our goal is to elevate and illuminate her story. To put female driven film at the forefront.

What is feminism to you, and what draws you to the cause?

P: ALL inclusiveness. To me being and identifying as a feminist means speaking up for all marginalized voices. It means equality for all, not only between men and women. Feminism means pursuing peace and joy for all living beings. And in that pursuit I have realized what means the most to me. I have realized what truly embodies feminism for me is having a true awareness, empathy and connection with all living beings.

R: Feminism is social, political and economical equality of the sexes. It is also compassionate understanding of intersectional experience and acknowledgment of differences. I am drawn to it because I deeply believe in harmony, balance, equality and individuality for all beings.

Tell us why you think elevating all female voices in the entertainment industry is important.

P: Because the female perspective in front of and behind the camera is key in the evolution of film and the film industry. In order for change to happen all female voices need to be heard and celebrated.

R: As you pointed out, ALL is the key word. There are an infinite amount of female experiences on this planet, voices from all different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives on equality. The entertainment industry is one of the most influential ways to access one’s experience, so the goal is to incorporate as many different voices as possible to reach as many people as we can! We are all in this together, inclusion is key.

The Time Is Now from Moonfaze Films on Vimeo.

Roxanne, what made you want to become involved with the Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival?

R: It was about a year ago, I had just graduated from UCLA with a Gender Studies degree and Prem and I had breakfast together one morning. I told her about my studies and she told me about Moonfaze’s second year coming up. She said  she could use my help and wanted me to become involved, if I was interested…needless to say, I’ve been by her side ever since.

How did you and Premstar meet?

R: I met Prem a few years back in an acting class and we became fast friends and allies. Our chemistry as actors was potent and undeniable and it blossomed into a beautiful relationship of support, understanding, creativity and love.

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What types of projects do you want to see submitted to the festival?

P: Female driven short films no longer than 30 min. All genres. Submissions are open to all feminists, regardless of location & gender identity.

Please share any details about submitting/deadlines for the December Festival.

P: Films must have a female lead character/s. Supporting male characters are more than welcome. Films must foreground a feminist viewpoint and tell HER story: A critical, political, and cinematic take on the many levels of oppression we navigate every day as women, transgender people, and people of color.

Have a female driven film you’re proud of?
Submit here: tinyurl.com/moonfaze2016
Extended deadline ends 10/15/16
Together we can illuminate HER story. Use code: MSBIZ to receive 50% OFF your submission fee!

Where can people find you online to stay posted about upcoming events?
IG + Twitter: @moonfazefemfilm
Facebook: www.facebook.com/moonfazefemfilm
Website: www.moonfazefilms.com/festival

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Kaytra Parkman

About Kaytra Parkman

Actress. “An old cosmic soul disguised as a 21st-century earthling”. Kaytra has no recollection of “catching” any acting bug... it was always there. At the ripe age of 3, she pointed to the television enthusiastically and declared, “I want to be IN THAT!”. After her parents jokingly reminded her she would have to be really small to fit in there, Kaytra skipped and tripped her way through adolescence until she landed a coveted spot at the Orange County High School of the Arts (OCSA). There she spent 4 years studying everything from stage combat to documentary filmmaking amongst a wide variety of young artists. A professional nerd on the side, she also freelances as a social media manager/video editor/techie, and spends her free time Netflixing and obsessing about space. Kaytra hopes to combine her love of acting, filmmaking and activism to evoke positive change both individually and globally.