Tuesday June 20, 7 pm

Adults, $10 adv, $15 door.   Students, $8 adv, $12 door.

MOON GARDEN is a tale of family and the radiant magic of youth, set in a fantasy world inhabited by a young girl struggling to emerge from a coma following an accident at home.

Haven Lee Harris as EmmaIt has the elements that matter most to viewers — a touching well-told story with characters we care about, outstanding visuals and effects, inventive staging and cinematography — all crowned by an amazing performance by young Haven Lee Harris.

This mesmerizing cinematic journey was created by independent filmmakers Ryan Stevens Harris and John Michael Elfers, who met at the USC School of Cinema arts in Los Angeles where they formed Fire Trial Films.  Elfers is a graduate of St. Xavier HS in Cincinnati – his family was involved in the process and his mother Jane and brother Paul will attend the CWC screening.

From director Ryan Harris

“My real-life daughter, Haven, plays the wide-eyed cherubic little girl lost in her own industrial wonderland. And it still thrills me how she tackled every day as if the film were nothing but a playground built just for her.
“My wife and co-producer Colleen sings the lilting lullabies throughout the film. My closest collaborator and filmmaking partner, John Michael Elfers, a great talent, doubles as both producer and puppeteer for many of the practical camera tricks.
“It’s inspiring how art can heal, broken things can mend. No matter how tragic things might seem, there’s always a delicate magic that can bring people back together. Sometimes it just takes a child to realize it.”

Worth noting…. the film was shot on 35mm stock, without CGI, using in-camera effects like two-way mirrors, behind the lens filters; plus puppets, miniatures, time lapse photography and prosthetics.

Learn More… check out Chris Hallock’s synopsis and commentary in the tab below.

Haven Lee Harris as Emma

John Michael Elfers, Haven Lee Harris, Ryan Stevens Harris




MOON GARDEN – Synopsis & Commentary by Chris Hallock
While fleeing from her arguing parents late one night, five-year-old Emma slips into a coma after tumbling down a flight of stairs. She awakens in a strange new world, a twisted industrial wasteland rooted deep in her subconscious. There she confronts strange and wondrous creatures, pursued by a malevolent being hungry for her tears. Throughout her ordeal, Emma is guided by the voices of her parents (and the haunting melody of Harry Nilsson’s “Without You”), broadcasting through a transistor radio, guiding her back from the fantasy world in which she’s imprisoned.

Ryan Stevens Harris’s extraordinary Moon Garden takes us on a phantasmagoric odyssey through the psyche of a comatose child. His ambitious work uses a child’s trauma to launch a spellbinding cinematic journey, leading us down treacherous paths, while channeling youthful exuberance in fleeting moments of gentle whimsy.

Haven Lee Harris as EmmaThose carrying childhood scars (i.e.: everyone) will easily connect with this bold and visionary tale, a surreal expedition where a gargantuan rhino can serve as convenient transportation. The stunning presentation, captured on 35mm film by Wolfgang Meyer, uses vivid color, and spectacular special effects, to deliver an emotionally-resonant and visceral story.

Moon Garden is a lyrical fantasy that evokes the imaginative realms found in challenging, child-centric works like Paperhouse, Pan’s Labyrinth, Mirrormask, and City of Lost Children, a tableau with danger lurking around every corner, within a framework designed to subvert the romanticized notion of childhood.

Chris Hallock is a writer and film programmer in Seattle. He has contributed to VideoScope Magazine, Cemetery Dance, Diabolique, Boston Globe, Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film & Television; Scared Sacred: Idolatry, Religion and Worship in the Horror Film, and If I Only Had a Brain: Scarecrows in Film & Television. He also serves on the programming team for the Boston Underground Film Festival.


Director Ryan Steven Harris, 2022, 93 min.  Not Rated, suggest PG-13.  Moon Garden will be preceded by the short film Dream Operator, 8 min. * Most people find the post-film discussion worthwhile — budget an extra 20-30 minutes for the complete experience.

☀ THE GARFIELD THEATRE, 719 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.
Google MapGarfield Parking Options

☀ Saturday, June 10, 7:00 pm

Adult Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
Student Tickets are $8 in advance, $12 at the door.
Tickets available online via the Tix Button (top of this webpage), and by phone at (859) 957-3456.

The Garfield is ADA accessible. ADA details and Covid-19 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. No refunds, all sales are final.


    Ryan Stevens Harris —
    Writer-Director-Editor-Animator-Sound Designer

    An award-winning filmmaker, editor, and exhibited artist. Studied filmmaking in London and at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, where, with John Elfers, he co-founded Fire Trial Films, a boutique production company focused on 35mm production.

    Ryan was DP on FINALE (2009) and had his directorial debut with VIRUS X (2010) a tech-noir released by Lionsgate In 2016, Harris directed “Whisper,” an animated music video for the indie band Playing to Vapors featured at the SXSW Film Festival. Multi-talented, Harris edited and sound-designed the Lionsgate sci fi blockbuster, MOONFALL (2022), as well as edited a host of Netflix releases including WINTER’S DREAM (2016), DARC (2018), and THE HARD WAY (2019).

    He also edited WATCHTOWER (2019), which was nominated for two Emmys and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and was an additional editor and sound designer on the war-epic MIDWAY (2019), which was #1 at the box office upon its release.

    Although it is his second feature film, he considers MOON GARDEN as his first true directorial debut—a lush dark fantasy odyssey with highly stylized art design, shot on expired 35mm film with vintage lenses and featuring his own real-life daughter. Ryan, wife Colleen and daughter Haven currently reside in Los Angeles.


    John Michael Elfers —
    Producer, Stop-Motion Puppeteer

    A native of Cincinnati and graduate of St. Xavier High School, by age 18 he shot a no-budget digital movie and moved to Los Angeles. John graduated magna cum laude from USC, founded Fire Trial Films with Ryan Stevens Harris, and immediately secured grants from Panavision and Kodak to write and direct his first feature, FINALE (2009). His award-winning screenwriting landed him on the Blood List in 2011.

    Elfers has since made a reputation as a “fixer” who gets hired to take over troubled films; writing and directing additional scenes to address story issues, increase production value, and ultimately secure distribution. This path led him to co-produce the features BEYOND WHITE SPACE (2018) and DISCARNATE (2019) with A-List producer Harald Kloser.

    Elfers worked directly with Kloser and Roland Emmerich to cut the International Press tour for INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (2016), a $10M crossover recruiting campaign for the U.S. Army, and a promo to sell MIDWAY (2019) to Japan.

    The high-profile studio work allowed Elfers to invest in a full-scale 35mm independent production rig, with Arriflex film cameras, vintage Zeiss lenses, lights, G&E, jibs, film stock and more, which he utilized to produce Harris’ ambitious, highly-stylized feature MOON GARDEN.

    Elfers resides in Hollywood above the studio where Fire Trial Films is building the sets for his next feature as writer-director, the hyper-stylized art-house meets grind-house vampire film, VORACIOUS.



    Bretton MillerBretton Miller

    Bretton Miller has been involved in filmmaking since his early teens, exploring live-action shorts, documentaries, and animation. He graduated from Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts, with a BFA in Film Production specializing in directing.

    He has had various roles in the production of forty short feature-length films, in front and behind the camera.  In addition Bretton served as a screenings coordinator and film programmer while at Florida State. Currently, he is the co-founder of Devra Labs in Cincinnati which creates short films, commercials, music videos and feature films. His activities include directing, writing, editing, shooting and acting in Devra’s short films.


    Timothy SwallowTim Swallow

    Tim operates The Garfield Theatre and is a founder and president of Cincinnati World Cinema, with a 22-year history of film programming and presentation, including world premieres, festivals and retrospectives.

    Specializing in short film and documentaries, Tim’s passion, and CWC’s mission, is building a film community to experience high-quality international, independent and short-form cinema not normally available in this market.


    CLICK TO ENLARGEIt couldn’t be easier – 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.

    For CWC patrons, the Butcher and Barrel offers a 15% discount on your order, excluding alcohol; menu is on the website. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially if you are dining between a CWC double feature. 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.

    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 REQUESTED: 513-954-8974 or


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