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The 2023 season of LUNAFEST® features seven short films with a total running time of 90 minutes.

We’re proud to amplify the inspiring short films by this year’s selection of women and gender nonconforming directors. Our featured filmmakers are from all walks of life and range from poets to conservationists, activists, and educators. These stories remind us that when we come together, we all move forward.

We invite you to #PlayAPart.

Attend a screening or host an event.

Short Program

Reclaim Your Water: Natasha Smith
By Faith E. Briggs

As a member of the Ebony Beach Club, Natasha Smith surfs, skates, and makes her own waves.

Faith E. Briggs

Faith E. Briggs is a documentary director, creative producer, and podcast host passionate about sharing contemporary stories that widen the spectrum of representation and help us all see our own possibilities. Her previous work includes Brotherhood of Skiing, This Land, Ascend: Reframing Disability in the Outdoors, and the four-part series Who Is A Runner. She is the co-host of The Trail Ahead podcast, a Jackson Wild Media Lab Fellow, and a grant recipient of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Western Conservation Hub.

Faith is also a frequent collaborator with Camp4 Collective and recently founded her own production company, Tight Knit. Faith is a member of the Governing Council of The Wilderness Society and the REDI advisory council at REI.

By Bret Parker & Pete Barma

The true story of Pete Barma explores gender identity, Little League Baseball, the people who inspire change by being themselves, and the superheroes who champion that change.

Bret Parker

Bret Parker, co-founder of Artfarm Productions, is a veteran in the film industry with 26 years under her belt at Pixar Animation Studios. Bret started her career at Pixar in 1996 and has gone on to animate many films since, including the Oscar-winning Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. In 2012, with the development of the film Brave, Parker shifted her focus at work, becoming Animation Tools Lead and an integral part in the design and development of the current animation software used at Pixar, known as Presto. In 2018, Parker shifted focus again and took on the role of Animation Second Unit Supervisor for The Incredibles 2.

Outside the studio, she created and directed work for the groundbreaking dance troupe iLuminate. In 2019, along with her wife, Bret directed and produced her first feature-length documentary, Through The Windows, which premiered at the Frameline Film Festival.

Pete Barma

Co-founder of Artfarm Productions, director Pete Barma is committed to creating and celebrating fresh stories from her perspective as a queer female. In her role as an award-winning educator, she has founded LGBTQ+ and ally student clubs to help support and educate young people in the Bay Area.

In 2019, she co-directed her first feature length documentary, Through The Windows, which premiered at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco to a sold-out audience. Her current focus is to continue to open the lens on the marginalized communities who have not typically appeared on screen. As such, she has written the autobiographical screenplay Pete, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022. 

Swimming Through
By Samantha Sanders

Amid a brutal Chicago winter and the global pandemic, Deirdre, Helen, and Jennefer’s friendship grows as they commit to a daily sunrise plunge together in Lake Michigan.

Samantha Sanders

Samantha Sanders has written, produced, and directed documentary programs for networks including National Geographic, the History Channel, MSNBC, A&E, and PBS. She directed Emmy-winning short documentaries including Purpose Over Pain, centered around families who have lost children to gun violence.

Along with her husband, editor John Farbrother, Samantha founded and runs Green River Films, an Emmy-award-winning Chicago-based production company. Samantha teaches film at Columbia College Chicago, where she received an MFA in filmmaking, and at DePaul University. She is a passionate landscape photographer, whose love of shooting Lake Michigan drew her to this project.