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The Garfield Shorts Spotlight Series, Vol. 1

Second Screening: Wednesday August 23, 7 pm

CLICK TO ENLARGEWe’re holding a second screening of the inaugural  Garfield Shorts Spotlight Series. Join us for an engaging 93-minute compilation of eight new shorts offering a thought-provoking mix of drama, comedy, experimental and documentary films.

Combining Australian, Filipino, Japanese, Polish and U.S. storytelling in a diverse and entertaining “back to nature” slate, the on-screen variety extends to the animal kingdom with whom we share this planet!

We are delighted to collaborate with Bretton Miller and Pierce Ryan, graduates of Florida State University’s prestigious College of Motion Picture Arts. From a pool of short films suggested by Miller and Ryan, the curation provides the opportunity for our CWC audience to see a broad range of eclectic work.

Cinema at the Garfield Theatre enhances value and convenience for our patrons – a sense of community in watching quality films you will not likely see elsewhere, post-film discussions, affordable concessions, discount dinner options and ample parking.  JOIN US!


“THE GARFIELD SHORTS SPOTLIGHT SERIES, VOL 1”  A 93-minute program with eight short films selected by filmmakers Bretton Miller and Pierce Ryan. * Most people find the post-film discussion worthwhile — budget two hours for the complete experience.

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

☀ Thursday, July 27, 7:00 pm
☀ Wednesday, August 23, 7:00 pm

Adult Tickets are $10.00 in advance, $15.00 at the door. Student Tickets are $8.00 in advance, $12.00 at the door. Tix are available online via the Tix Button, 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.


Outside food and drink is not allowed in the theatre.

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, no exchange.



It 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.

CWC patrons receive a 15% discount on their order, excluding alcohol; menu is on the website. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially if you are dining between weekend sessions. 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, closed; TUE-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


Please welcome FSU film grads Bretton Miller and Pierce Ryan.  One of the nation’s top-twenty film programs, FSU-CMPA doesn’t stop with technical and creative proficiency.Equally important – especially for our viewers – CMPA graduates are exposed to the traditions of  world cinema from Kubrick to Kurosawa, plus access to the program’s extensive film library and alumni network. Miller and Ryan have established a film making hub in Cincinnati — their effort, and details about the shorts program are covered in a long-form article in the print and online editions of  City Beat.


Bretton 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.


Born and raised along the panhandle of North Florida, Pierce first discovered his interest in storytelling on a scout campout, retelling old Orson Welles radio broadcasts around a fire.

A graduate of the Florida State College of Motion Picture Arts and co-founder of Devra Labs, Pierce aims to continue his film education through independent film production in collaboration with artists he meets along the way. His activities include directing, writing, editing, shooting and acting in Devra’s short films.


FILM DESCRIPTIONS (Screening Order):


It’s Raining Frogs Outside | The Philippines | 2021 | 14:00 | director Maria Estela Paiso | Live-Action Drama-Horror | in Sambal, Tagalog and English with English subtitles.

As the world is about to end, Maya retreats to her home province of Zambales in the Philippines. Alone and terrified inside her family abode, she watches as frogs rain outside.

This impressive dark drama addresses loneliness, isolation and anxiety – dealing with the subject not only as a psychological process but as a bodily experience. The tech aspects are just as strong as the story, effectively packing a variety of techniques and effects into 14 minutes.

It’s Raining Frogs Outside is the first film from a female filmmaker from the Philippines shown in the Berlinale Shorts section (as of 2022), and the very first film in the Sambal language altogether.


Maria Estela Paiso was born in 1997 in Quezon City, Philippines. She studied Communication Arts in college and has been working in post-production since graduating in 2016. After several music videos and years of visual experiments, she forayed into directing in 2021 with her short Ampangabagat Nin Talakba Ha Likol (It’s Raining Frogs Outside). She spends her free enjoying karaoke.


Monkey & Man | USA | 2017 | 12:00 | director Graham Mason | Comedy

Offered tongue-in-cheek, in the style of a BBC nature special (with apologies to David Attenborough), Monkey and Man compares the awkward existence of a man living in New York City with that of a crab-eating macaque monkey from Indonesia.


Graham Mason is a filmmaker and artist based in NYC.  He directed a feature film comedy called INSPECTOR IKE, produced by Factory 25 and BRIC Arts Media, released in theaters in 2022. His short films have been been featured on Adult Swim, IFC, Viceland, Vulture, Booooooom, NoBudge, and Directors Notes, and Graham has received three Vimeo Staff Picks. In 2020 he was named to Shoot’s New Director’s Showcase.



Strange Beasts | Australia | 2023 | 10:23 | director Darcy Prendergast |  Documentary

During its decade of operation, the Bacchus Marsh Lion Safari was one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions. This is a look at the meteoric rise and fall of the park, told through the eyes of Ron Prendergast; a big cat keeper.  From its initial boom to its protracted closure, the park remains shrouded in mystery and folklore. Until now.


Evolving from his origins in clay animation, Darcy Prendergast is the son of a zookeeper, who directs predominantly in the live action & animation space. Cutting his teeth on music videos for the likes of Gotye, Neil Young, J Cole, Green Day and more, he went on to create the Nickelodeon mini series ‘Supa Phresh’ and has screened at the likes of SXSW, Annecy and the Guggenheim Museum. 


Does It Make a Sound | USA | 2023 | 15:18 | directors Pierce Ryan & Bretton Miller | no dialog | Live-Action Drama |  World Premiere by Cincinnati filmmakers.

Does It Make a Sound With a nod to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, a research intern from the EPA arrives in the dead of night at a spartan Airbnb in a small Midwestern town.

We follow him as he performs soil and water tests around the railroad tracks. He uncovers disturbing data from the collected samples. Despite the test results, he is just an intern, what can he do?


Filmmakers Bretton Miller and Pierce Ryan operate Devra Labs in Cincinnati. Read more about them in the “About the Curators” tab.


Nowhere To Go But Everywhere | Japan | 2022 | 13:52 | directors Masako Tsumura and Erik Shirai | in Japanese with English subtitles | Documentary, Drama

Following the sudden and devastating loss of his wife during the 2011 tsunami in Northern Japan, Yasuo Takamatsu learns to scuba dive. Under the murky depths of the sea, his search for her continues as he finds solace from his grief.

As part of Israel’s “Tohoku Initiative,” Israeli composer and pianist Shai Maestro created and performed the score, accompanied by cellist Mayu Tsukamoto Shviro, dedicated to the people of Tohoku.

The film premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2022), and won best documentary short film at Santa Barbara Film Festival (2023).


Born in Tokyo, Masako Tsumura studied Media at Keio University in Japan, and moved to New York City in 1998, where she earned an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School University. In 2004, she was the editor and associate producer for Arakimentari, a feature documentary about the acclaimed and controversial Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki.

In 2008, she directed and produced Fire Under the Snow, an award-winning feature documentary about Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan monk who survived 33 years of imprisonment and torture under the Chinese occupation in Tibet.  In 2016 Masako produced The Birth of Saké, which won multiple awards, including Best Documentary Film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Erik Shirai is a Japanese-American self-taught visual artist and an award winning filmmaker based in New York City and Tokyo. He won ‘Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary Director at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival for his feature film The Birth of Saké. The film won Best Documentary Film at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival and was also an Official Selection at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Shirai’s visceral and cinematic approach to storytelling has made him a unique visionary in the film world. He honed his skills as cinematographer for the Emmy award-winning series No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. His films were also featured at the TED conference in New York City in 2012.


Picture A Forest | USA | 2024 | 3:44 | director David Rodriguez | No Dialog | Experimental Mixed Media

In this experimental environmental commentary, the north Florida woodlands are fractured by strobe light, offering glimpses of its vitality and fragility. Over time, these flickering slices of the natural world become more corrupted and illegible, decaying into garbled data streams. As the forest fails to preserve itself, it demands that we re-calibrate our vision. 


Dave Rodriguez is an audiovisual archivist, filmmaker, and curator based in Tallahassee, Florida. His work has screened in festivals and galleries across North America and Europe including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Antimatter [media art], Mono No Aware, and the FLEX Film/Video Festival.


Dress a Cow | USA | 2022 | 10:22 | director Dawn Luebbe | Documentary, Comedy, made in Ohio.

A comedic documentary – hilarious and poignant – that spotlights a 38 year tradition, the “Dress A Cow” event at the Mahoning County Fair in Canfield, Ohio, which attracts roughly 350,000 visitors every year.

The unusual contest is a tribute to the “divine bovine” where the competing cows – pampered with baby oil applied to their udders and bathed in eucalyptus, lavender and spearmint to smell nice – can feel like queens for a day.

Judged by real elected officials in the region who work for the county courts, the competition seems like serious business but it’s all in good fun, especially as there are five first place prizes and it’s not ultimately about who wins.  This unique film gives us a heartwarming slice of rural life where people gather to enjoy each other and the things that bring us together.


Comedy improv maven Dawn Luebbe grew up in Nebraska and spent a lot of time on her grandparents’ dairy farm where her extended family showed cows at the county fair.

Dawn is an Independent Spirit Award-nominated writer and director based in Los Angeles. She is best known for her debut feature, Greener Grass, which she co-wrote and co-directed with Jocelyn DeBoer. She has co-directed two episodes of TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything” and has made three short films which have appeared in over 70 film festivals, receiving numerous awards including the Jury Award for Writing at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival. She is also a  veteran performer at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, she has appeared in HBO’s HIGH MAINTENANCE and the SXSW arm-wrestling feature, GOLDEN ARM.


My Duduś | USA/Poland | 2022 | 8:23 | director Tom Krawczk | Documentary | in Polish with Englilsh subtitles

A Polish mother is bereft when her only child leaves home in the suburbs of Chicago to study film making in Poland. While her son is away, she rescues a baby squirrel in her backyard and forges a unique and powerful bond with the animal, raising him as if he were her own child. But he was a wild animal, and eventually she had to do what all mothers do: let her child go out into the world.


Tom Krawczyk is a Polish-American Chicago based photographer and filmmaker. He lived in South Korea for 2 years, teaching English to students and working on documentaries. He also lived in India, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Myanmar, working as a photography instructor. Currently he’s a motion pictures stills photographer.

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