by | Aug 11, 2022 | Films

Lunafest Trailer

Click to enlarge video.

Eight short films by women connecting cultural
specifics with universal concerns, telling stories
that can change minds and influence culture.


Live screenings have ended.
Wednesday, September 14, 7:00
Sunday, September 18, 4:00
Post-film discussion after each screening

Connecting on multiple levels is the underlying theme of the LUNAFEST 2022 program, with eight poignant short films telling powerful stories that bring us closer together. The program centers on white, black, Hispanic, and Asian women – reflecting the world we live in.
Lunafest Short Films

More info in the tabs below:

  • Event Details
  • Film Descriptions
  • Filmmaker Bios
  • Speaker Bios


Proceeds from the LUNAFEST screenings will be shared with Women in Film Cincinnati and Black Women Celebrating Change, two local non-profit organizations dedicated to helping women achieve their highest potential.
  ⇝ learn more about Women in Film Cincinnati.
  ⇝ learn more about Black Women Cultivating Change.



Safety Protocol Update:

Proof of vaccination is NOT REQUIRED Monday – Saturday. Proof of vaccination IS REQUIRED on Sundays and you will need to show your Vax card (hard copy or phone photo) for admission.  See complete details on the CWC Policies Page.


“THE LUNAFEST FILM FESTIVAL” An 80-minute short film program featuring eight films, followed by post-film discussions led by filmmakers from WIF Cincinnati and BWCC. Most people find the discussion worthwhile – budget roughly two hours for the complete experience. Some films may contain content not suitable for children or younger teens. The films are not rated, and we suggest ages 13 and up as a guideline.
This event benefits Women in Film Cincinnati and Black Women Cultivating Change.

☀ (1)  THE GARFIELD THEATRE, 719 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.  Google Map    Parking Options


☀ (1) In THE GARFIELD THEATRE, Wednesday September 14, 7:00 and Sunday September 26 4:00 pm, with discussion immediately following each screening.

☀ (2) Online streaming in the CWC VIRTUAL CINEMA, 24×7. Viewing window is September 15 – 27.

In-theatre tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Virtual Cinema tickets are $20.
All tickets are available online via the Tix Buttons, and by phone at (859) 957-3456.

The Garfield is ADA accessible.
ADA details and Covid-19 safety information can be found on the CWC Policies Page.

Purchase of a ticket confirms acceptance by the purchaser that the presenter/host and their staff will not be liable for any loss, damage, action, claim, cost or expenses which may arise in the consequence of attendance at this event.
Purchaser declares that they will not attend unless in good health on the day of the event. Further, purchaser understands it is impossible to guarantee that they will not be exposed to Covid-19 and will attend at their own risk.

Across the street from the Garfield Theatre, you’ll find the Butcher & Barrel, home of delicious shareables, salads, entrees, sides and desserts, plus excellent wine, craft beer and mixed drinks.

CWC patrons will receive a 15% discount on their order, excluding alcohol; menu is on the website. Reservations are requested by B&B management. You should present your online confirmation or ticket from the event, and let your server know if there are time constraints. The discount is valid only for the date of ticket.

B&B HOURS: MON-TUE, closed; WED-THS, 4-10 pm; FRI-SAT, 4-12 am; SUN, 4-10 pm. The kitchen closes one hour before the restaurant, every night. Hours and menu subject to change – check the website before booking.
RESERVATIONS: 513-954-8974 or


HOW TO BE AT HOME | Andrea Dorfman | Halifax, NS | 5 min

A deeply soothing comfort for pandemical times, Andrea Dorfman’s animated poem wonders about coping with isolation – how to find home, how to be at home (alone), how to find connection in the loneliness, how to feel warmth again, and how to find joy.

Dorfman is a Halifax-based screenwriter and director who creates short and feature films and mini-documentaries. A self-taught animator, she is also an artist, writer, illustrator, bicyclist, star gazer, people watcher and cat lover.

Andrea directed the Emmy Award–winning films Flawed (2010) and Big Mouth (2012) and two animated shorts based on poetry by Tanya Davis: How to Be Alone (2010) and How to Be at Home (2020), which was part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s year-end Canada’s Top Ten list for 2020.  Her other shorts and the feature films include Parsley Days (2000), Love That Boy (2003), Heartbeat (2014), Spinster (2020), and the feature-length doc, The Girls of Meru (2018) about the human rights work of Canadian legal justice non-profit, The Equality Effect.

These days, she is in production with her short animation, Hairy Legs, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. She lives with her partner, Dave, his son Max, occasionally his daughter Sydney, their dog Sophie and cats Archer and Frankie.


CLOSE TIES TO HOME COUNTRY | Akanksha Cruczynski | New York City / India / Saudi Arabia | 15 min

Millennial immigrant Akanksha waits for her sister’s visit from India (they haven’t seen each other in nine years!). Meanwhile, she’s dog-sitting the fancy Frenchie of Instagram influencers India and Harry, who themselves are on a trip to India’s namesake.

Akanksha finds connection with the wealthy pets she cares for. This autobiographical docudrama uses comedy to build bridges and bring cultures together while addressing existential issues like immigration and loneliness.

Based in New York City, Akanksha Cruczynski is a writer and filmmaker from India who grew up in Saudi Arabia. She moved to the U.S. for college, then studied comedy at The Second City and Annoyance Theatre in Chicago.

Akanksha’s graduate thesis film, Close Ties to Home Country, won a Student Academy Award and was shortlisted for the 2021 BAFTA Student Awards. The film won the Audience Award at Aspen Shortsfest and the Best Comedy Award at Indy Shorts International Film Festival, in addition to being shown at several other Academy Award–qualifying film festivals. Akanksha is passionate about telling stories from underserved communities and using humor to guide them.


GENERATION IMPACT: THE CODER | Samantha Knowles | Brooklyn | 7 min

A 13-year-old girl designs and builds a mobile app to help kids stay connected to their incarcerated parents by sending photos and letters. Then, she and her dad start Unlock Academy, a program that teaches coding skills and provides mentoring to enable young people of color to have careers in STEM fields.

This is a true story of drive, hope and ingenuity, which will be an inspiration to many.

Samantha Knowles is a Dartmouth College graduate and Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker. Her film Tangled Roots follows the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature as she fights to dismantle a system of discrimination against Black people penalized for something seemingly innocuous—their hair. It premiered on BET in June 2020, was broadcast on Showtime, and was an official selection in the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.

Samantha directed The Blue Line, which examines the controversy that erupted when her hometown painted a blue line on the street in support of police. It premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, was featured in NBC’s Meet the Press Film Festival, and is now part of the prestigious New York Times Op-Doc series.

Samantha also directed the award-winning short documentary Why Do You Have Black Dolls? (2012), which focuses on a small community of Black doll creators, curators, and collectors and examines the history and significance of the Black doll. The film has been an official selection in numerous film festivals, and among other publications was featured in the New York Daily News, USA Today, Jet magazine, the Huffington Post, the Grio, and


PROOF OF LOSS | Katherine Fisher | Los Angeles | 14 min

When a wildfire takes their home, a father and daughter must find a way to salvage what remains: starting with each other.

A few weeks after a wildfire has devastated much of her town, Beth drives home from college to help her father Charles in the aftermath of their family home’s destruction. Through the lens of the recent fires in California, PROOF OF LOSS focuses on how one young woman and her father are forced to come together and examine the complexities of mourning and the connection between grief, relief, and survival.

As they embark on the emotional process of assessing the disaster, we see that not only are they grieving the loss of their home in opposite ways, but that they also have not fully processed the loss of their mother and wife a year prior.

Proof of Loss is Katherine Fisher’s directorial debut. She is an Emmy-nominated and Gotham, Peabody, and GLAAD award-winning producer with 15 years of experience in narrative and documentary filmmaking in the U.S., U.K., Kenya, and Congo.

Her work has been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival (winner 2018 Special Prize), SXSW (winner 2019 Short Film Jury Award), LA Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, and BlackStar Film Festival, among others.

She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is a 2018 Film Independent Project Involve Fellow, 2018 New Orleans Film Society Southern Producers Fellow, and 2018 20th Century Fox Global Inclusion Fellow.


WHEN YOU CLEAN A STRANGER’S HOME | Sharon Arteaga | Corpus Christi | 7 min

A Mexican-American high school student describes what she and her mom learn about people when cleaning their homes. Decor and items left around client homes convey a privilege that unveils her imagination, jealousy, and frustrations.

Intended to honor and empower female domestic workers while exposing audiences to who they are as people and the next-generation Latinx perspectives held by their children. Through the essay narrated by the female protagonist, audiences receive insight into social, economical, and professional disparities that next-generation Latinxs observe and the responsibility felt to change their family’s future. It reveals the conflict of feeling held back by their circumstances while realizing crucial lessons learned within them.

Sharon Arteaga is a first-generation Mexican-American filmmaker from Corpus Christi, Texas, who convinced her mom to buy her a video camera instead of a quinceañera. Included in NALIP’s 2019 List of Latinx Directors to Know, Arteaga’s work playfully incorporates themes of generational, linguistic, and cultural differences between people. She has won numerous short film competitions for her films When I Grow Up, Plane Pretend, and When You Clean a Stranger’s Home.

She was a 2019 Tribeca Chanel “Through Her Lens” finalist for her short screenplay In Tow (runner-up at the 2020 New Orleans Film Festival South Pitch), a semifinalist in ScreenCraft’s Film Fund, and most recently, awarded the 2021 Mexican-American Cultural Education Foundation Filmmaker Grant.

Sharon is currently working on a couple of narrative shorts about life on the South Texas coast while developing her first feature film. She is a passionate educator who loves empowering others to also tell their own stories through film.


BETWEEN THE LINES: LIZ AT LARGE | Abi Cole | Weaverville NC | 5 min

Short animated documentary. Frustrated with the lack of character diversity in The New Yorker’s cartoons, artist Liz Montague submits her own illustrations. She began contributing to the magazine in 2019 and became the first Black, female cartoonist in The New Yorker’s storied history.

Montague’s cartoons push the publication’s boundaries through focusing on the intersection of self and social awareness in an accessible style with clean lines and representative subjects.

Director and producer Abi Cole recently graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

She is an environmental reporter with work published in the Guardian, Outdoor Life, and Popular Science. Between the Lines: Liz at Large is her first documentary.



WEARABLE TRACY | Emily McAllister | Truckee, CA| 12 min

In this thoughtful documentary, Bronx artist Lee Kim launched a creative experiment with kooky homemade hats, crowns and masks that changed the way she moved through the world. It was a social and aesthetic experiment, not only to break out of her comfort zone but to invite others to do the same. She would be the peacock striding through the city, reminding people of their own potential to be iridescent and rare.

Lee Kim’s hat project led to an engaged urban connectivity with fellow New Yorkers who might otherwise forever remain strangers.

Emily McAllister is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has produced work independently as well as for This American Life, HBO, National Geographic, PBS, and Google. Highlights from her work include Maidentrip (SXSW 2013) and The Diplomat (Tribeca 2015).

After beginning her storytelling career in Brooklyn, in 2018 she moved to the beautiful mountain town of Truckee, California. In her spare time, she’s learning to mountain bike and helping her husband Aaron on his mission to make a “passable” New York style bagel at 6500’ elevation.


TO THE FUTURE, WITH LOVE | Shaleece Haas & Hunter Jimenez | Los Angeles / Guatemala| 7 min

An animated documentary self-portrait of a nonbinary trans teen caught between the expectations of his Guatemalan immigrant family and his dreams of living happily ever after with his long-distance boyfriend.

The film captures a number of important issues: family relationships (obligations, loyalty, parenting LGBTQ Children); Central American immigrants; long-distance and online relationships, envisioning futures; and first-generation youth.


Shaleece Haas is an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer and a director based in Los Angeles. Texas Strong (2018) won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary and premiered at SXSW. In 2020, she co-produced the final episode of the Peabody-winning PBS series Asian Americans and was a consulting producer on the limited series, And She Could Be Next (2020 Tribeca Film Festival, POV).

Real Boy (2016) screened in 23 countries, earned 20 festival awards, and was broadcast nationally on PBS Independent Lens. Shaleece has been an Impact Partners Documentary Producing Fellow, Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellow, and Working Films Fellow. She is a member of the Queer Producer’s Network and the Documentary Producers Alliance and is an alumna of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Based in Los Angeles, Hunter “Pixel” Jimenez is the writer, illustrator, and protagonist of To the Future, with Love. Hunter works in LGBT and housing activism and “believes everyone’s story is important—I’m so glad I’m able to share part of mine.”


Abi EsmenaAbi Esmena

A recent addition to the Women in Film Cincinnati board, Abi Esmena was born in Hawaii and transplanted to the Queen City. She is a SAG-Aftra actor with over a decade of experience in front of & behind the camera.

As an actor, she has performed in numerous MainStage theatrical productions such as the Know Theatre’s, Girl in the Red Corner, more than 100 local and national commercials, indie films/series, and was recently seen in theaters as Officer Crain in the 2021 release of the Tribeca-slated indie thriller, Don’t Tell a Soul.

Abi owns and operates AuditionRoom513, a local acting studio focusing on film-centric training where she coaches actors of all ages.


Jaime Meyers SchlenckJaime Meyers Schlenck

A founding board member and current president of Women in Film Cincinnati, Jaime Meyers Schlenck has been editing award-winning nonfiction films for two decades.

Her work includes the Primetime Emmy Award winning documentary A Lion In The House, TV series including HBO First Look, and more than 60 behind-the-scenes documentaries for major studio releases such as Sex And The City and Hairspray.

As lead development editor at Magical Elves (Top Chef), Jaime edited pilots for network consideration (Bravo, AMC and Lifetime). She was additional editor on the Oscar winning documentary American Factory 美国工厂 and Dave Chappelle Live in Real Life (Tribeca). : Her recent film, 9TO5: The Story of a Movement,  debuted on PBS Independent Lens and was nominated for a Peabody Award. Jaime is currently editing a documentary about climate change and landslides in the Cincinnati area. 


Sara Mahle Drabik Sara Mahle Drabik

A founding board member and current vice president of Women in Film Cincinnati, Sara Drabik is a documentary filmmaker and Associate Professor of Electronic Media and Broadcasting in the College of Informatics at Northern Kentucky University where she teaches documentary filmmaking and media literacy.

Her work has been featured by the University Film and Video Assoc., the Broadcast Education Assoc., the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, NPR and KET/PBS. Her current research is a collaboration with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance exploring the changing roles of women in the international coffee industry.


Ashley Glass

Ashley GlassWith a Masters degree in Public Health from Kent State and Bachelors degree in Public Health Education from U.C., Ashley Glass is a mental health and general healthcare advocate.

Over the past year Ashley has been active in producing documentary films about people and significant issues in the Cincinnati area.

Her ongoing professional roles include consultancies, staff positions and volunteer board memberships with organizations such as the UC Health, Best Point Behavioral Health,Women Helping Women, 4C for Children, Cincinnati Health Department, UC Health, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and others.

She is passionate about mental health, women’s health equity and empowering others to recover from and overcome the adversities faced in life. Ashley is the executive director of Black Women Cultivating Change; read more at Linked-In.


Timothy SwallowTim Swallow,
Discussion Moderator

A founding board member of current treasurer of Women in Film Cincinnati, Tim Swallow operates The Garfield Theatre and is the founder and CEO of Cincinnati World Cinema, with a 20-year history of film programming and presentation, including world premieres and festivals, and approximately 350 films by women.

Prior to CWC, he spent 20 years as a live events producer, focusing on music, theatre and the arts. His experience includes management, marketing, finance, IT and non-profit boards. Specializing in short film, Tim’s passion is building a film community to experience high-quality international and independent cinema not otherwise available in this market.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This