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LUNAFEST: 2020 Official Trailer
A film festival for, by and about women
Friday, October 9, 2020
Native Sun News Today Health & Environment Editor

CUSTER, South Dakota — Bird Cage Book Store and Mercantile proprietor Lily Mendoza of Rapid City says she will be here in town to speak on behalf of the families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women during Zonta Club of the Southern Black Hills’ annual women’s film festival on October 10 – even though it’s on the same date as the grand opening of her new storefront and non-profit community service center 45 miles away.

A founder of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Red Ribbon Skirt Society of the Black Hills and the associated Center for Prayer…Healing and Remembrance, housed at the book store, Mendoza plans to speak about the recent unanimous approval in both chambers of the U.S. Congress of Savanna’s Act to enhance law enforcement for protection of MMIW and Two-Spirit family members, she told the Native Sun News Today.

“The bill is on the President’s desk, but who knows what’s going to happen now,” she said. Raising awareness about the issue at the Ninth Annual LUNAFEST® is an opportunity too important for her to miss, she acknowledged.

Lily Mendoza. Courtesy photo

A Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member, she and fellow Red Ribbon Skirt Society participant Darla Black are set to present to the film festival goers at noon on Saturday. Black, who is a candidate for Oglala Sioux Tribal President, expects to offer a prayer at the event.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students at the door when it opens at 10 a.m. at The Custer Beacon, a downtown live entertainment venue located at 351 Washington St. and East 3rd St., or by purchasing an Eventbrite online pass that assures admission to a virtual showing or refund in the event of host cancellation.

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Posted by Bird Cage Book Store and Mercantile on Friday, September 13, 2019

LUNAFEST® is a fundraising film festival, dedicated to promoting awareness of women’s issues, opportunities for women filmmakers and multi-cultural awareness. Luna health snack bars, a division of Clif Bar & Company, sponsors the promotion. Zonta uses the money to provide scholarships and community services.

The festival features short films made by women from all over the world. “LUNAFEST is making a mark in the industry by creating a platform for women filmmakers,” organizers say.

The traveling “film festival for, about, and by women” plays in many of the 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 nations, Custer being the place for South Dakota and Wyoming Region 12’s showcase.

It was originally scheduled here for March 28 but was delayed until state pandemic protocols relaxed to allow public gatherings. Just to be on the safe side, Mendoza said, she and Black are “going with masks and hand sanitizers.”

After indulging in this eye-appealing menu for the heartstrings, viewers will still have time to travel to Rapid City to catch the opening of Mendoza’s new social enterprise venue at 524 7th St., where the windows have been decorated for more than a week in advance.

For quite some time she has been wanting to host “women’s cottage industries,” where talented people can operate, exhibit and sell, so now, she says, “my space is large enough.”

She is going to lead by example. She is planning to launch a “social justice silk screening” shop, having watched her brother in the trade. Not the least of her motivation is that the MMIW t-shirts she markets for other makers keep flying off the shelves.

“I can’t keep MMIW t-shirts in stock,” she says. The t-shirts are marketed to raise funds for needs of survivors.


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