Women and men gathered atop the Newhall Old Town car park on Thursday for an evening of drinks and recognition of local film industry leaders as part of Zonta’s women’s film festival, Lunafest.
“We identified this need in Santa Clarita, they were women who wanted to enter the film industry behind the scenes,” said Zonta president Francine Fiel. “It’s a tough industry to break into, so we’ve brought together successful women in their business or as top executives, and we honor them and have them talk with younger women about how to get in. and thrive in the industry. ”
A large percentage of filming in Los Angeles County is shot in the Santa Clarita Valley, and there is an untapped market here for women to get involved in the industry, she added.
Zonta member Patrice Rifkind said receiving the Lunafest was a way to recognize women who had to struggle and triumph to get to where they are now, and part two is to organize a roundtable with young women as well as demonstration films. by women for women.
“Lunafest has been full for weeks now,” said Rifkind. “The focus is on how to enter and advance in the film industry for women. We will reward women for their work in the industry in all types of film fields.
Zonta is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of women. The SCV chapter was founded in 1974 to advance the status of women and girls at the local level and beyond, according to Rifkind.
Monica Harrison, president and owner of LA Film Locations, was among the 11 winners. His company, founded in 2003, provides tracking services to filmmakers.
“I was actually hesitant to get into the movie industry because I have a lot of family members there,” Harrison said. “At the time, there was an urgent need for a good location service, and I was convinced to create one. ”
She described the film industry as being dominated by men, and while there has been an increase in the number of women, it is still difficult. Harrison said she was honored to be one of those recognized at the event.
Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Zonta member for 30 years, said the association helps many women in the community.
“Cinema is a powerful tool for telling stories,” said Mercado-Fortine. “Women can tell their stories, especially in the areas that interest us, whether it is domestic violence or issues that women face.
Zonta’s Women in Film lecture continues Saturday at the College of the Canyons University Center from 9 a.m. to noon. The organizers will screen two to three films and host a round table with five of their winners.