LUNA, the maker of women’s nutrition bars, will present nine short stories by female filmmakers at the Good Acting Studio at 507 Roswell St., on Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m.
Michael Mario Good, who founded the studio and moved it from Sandy Springs to Marietta in January, said women have played an influential role in his life, including a single mother and stepmother.
“I had two beautiful and powerful women in my life,” Good said.
He said the festival is a chance to give back and show the important role of women in society.
Ursula Kelly, who organized the LUNAFEST film festival while living in South Carolina, made Marietta her permanent home last week and is now partnering with Good Acting Studio, which provides acting classes for young people.
Good has not seen any of the short films offered as part of LUNAFEST, but said the event should “uplift people through the arts.”
Kelly, who has screened the films, is most excited about “Blank Canvas,” which she called a story “about self.”
Directed by Sarah Berkovich, “Blank Canvas” shows one woman’s struggle with body image as she fights uterine cancer, according to the film festival’s website, lunafest.org.
Kelly said this story shows how to “bring what is inside of you out. Let your inner light shine no matter what.”
She added that women often hide behind masks, but should embrace, “This is who I am. … This is me.”
LUNAFEST not only focuses on bringing awareness to serious female issues, but also provides entertainment through comedy selections.
“I want to have a celebration,” Kelly said about watching the short films, including “Lunch Date” by Sasha Collington, about a woman being dumped by a boyfriend who sends his 14-year-old brother to break the news.
One animated film offers cultural diversity with “The Bathhouse” by Korean artist Jisoo Kim.
“The film takes the viewer on a luscious and poetic journey from the dark, polluted streets of the modern city, into the sanctuary of the Bathhouse,” as described on www.luna fest.org.
Fun in fundraising
Each LUNAFEST event donates 100 percent of the proceeds to charity, with 15 percent going to the Breast Cancer Fund each year, according to www.luna fest.org.
As the local host, who is focused on empowerment at a young age, Kelly said she approached the Marietta chapter of Girls Inc. to receive the rest of the money raised.
At the end of March, the organization asked members 11 to 16 years of age to write an essay about why they would like to take acting classes or “What contributions will you make to the world?” according to Kelly.
The three girls who responded — 11-year-olds Trizae Barton and Kally Ponce and 15-year-old Lauryn Stephenson — will be presented with $500 scholarships for the Good Acting Studio, said Kelly.
Barton, who started with Girls Inc. this year after moving from Austell, said she wrote the essay because she likes “opening up to people and trying different things.”
The 10, 90-minute classes will teach performance basics, acting for the camera and how to improve techniques, Good said.
Barton said this will be the first time she has tried acting and is most excited about the chance to express herself, but added that portraying different emotions will be the hardest.
Good said the series will finish with a taped audition the girls can submit to an agent for representation.
“Our philosophy is to provide training for the total actor,” said Good, who added that the studio moved in January from the Sandy Springs area to Marietta because of the city’s support of the arts. The studio is near the intersection of Roswell and Fairground streets.
Once a public school teacher, Good said acting helps with self-esteem, promotes “thinking outside of the box,” and builds teamwork skills.
“It is very rewarding to be able to influence and inspire young students with something I am passionate about,” Good said.
In her essay, Barton wrote that she would contribute to the world “a building for the little kids who want to sing, dance, model or act.” A place that “kids who have anger problems” could come every day, Barton added.
“(Kids) would sit in a circle and talk about their problems … and become better at showing their emotions and start being nicer,” Barton said.