Dark Moon

A daughter comes home for the weekend to look after her father, ailing with Dementia. The appearance of a mysterious woman shines a light on their changing parent-child power dynamic, threatening to throw their world out of orbit.

  • Katie Mathews
    Mossville: When Great Trees Fall, 36 Hours
  • Katie Mathews
  • Reed Birney
    Key Cast
    Mass, The Hunt, House of Cards
  • Marin Ireland
    Key Cast
    Sneaky Pete, Homeland, Umbrella Academy
  • Renata Friedman
    Key Cast
    "The Woman in Dark Clothing"
    The Terminal List (Amazon), FBI
  • Michael Izquierdo
    Paper Year, Bump, Succession (as actor)
  • Zach Fleming
    Valentine, Red is the Color of Beauty, Tears of God, Bat
  • Nick Mills
    Succession, Mr Robot, The Good Fight (as actor)
  • Mia Cioffi Henry
    Superior, Surrogate
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 15, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    43,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Davey Foundation Short Film Grant - the "Davey Short" Grant
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    January 1, 2022
    Davey Short Grant Award
  • Princess Grace Award
    New York
    United States
    Princess Grace Award for Writer/Director Katie Mathews
  • Dementia Spring Foundation Award
    United States
    Dementia Spring Foundation Award and Grant - 2021
Director Biography - Katie Mathews

Katie Mathews is a filmmaker whose work explores the gray areas and liminal spaces between self and culture, home and community, healing and regeneration. She is currently directing the feature documentary Roleplay about college students who use theater to confront campus rape culture, chosen for the 2021 Gotham Documentary Fellowship, and writing-directing the narrative short Dark Moon about a father-daughter relationship faced with Dementia, winner of the Davey Foundation’s short film grant. Previously Katie co-directed an audio-first experimental film called Signal and Noise about the sounds of Guantánamo Bay Detention Center and produced and story edited Mossville, (Dir. Alex Glustrom) a feature documentary about environmental racism that premiered at Full Frame where it won the Human Rights Award. She also directed and produced Post Coastal, an NEA and Smithsonian-funded documentary series about Louisiana coastal communities and climate change. She has worked on projects for National Geographic, Disney+, Hulu, CBC, and more, bringing big stories to global audiences. Her independent work has screened at festivals around the world including DOC NYC, Full Frame, & Raindance, on PBS, and at the United Nations. She is a 2022 Princess Grace Award Winner, a 2021 Fellow in the Gotham (formerly IFP) Lab, a 2018 Fellow in the inaugural New Orleans Film Society’s Southern Producers Lab, and a 2019 Fellow in the Points North Fellowship and Pitch. She has a BA in Communications from Northwestern University and recently completed her MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College (CUNY).

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Director Statement

DARK MOON was inspired by a weekend I spent with my own father several years back; as he began to show external signs of his cognitive decline due to early onset Dementia, I struggled to find my place in our changing dynamic. After a day of errands and ice cream we came home to find a disoriented woman on the street in front of our house, in need of help. My father was quick to offer aid while I was more skeptical, more guarded. We ultimately watched her walk away without a ride, and went to bed. But that night stayed with me and honestly, haunted me: what could my father see through the compassionate lens of his own condition that I could not? How powerful was my desire to keep him safe and how tightly would I try to control our universe regardless of how fruitless it would be in keeping him well?

As I began to write about this experience, I unlocked a trove of rich themes: a disabled man’s need for dignity and agency, a caregiver’s desire to be cared for too, the beauty and the mystery of the mind, and the capacity of the human spirit.

This is my most personal work to date and my first foray into narrative filmmaking. My background is in documentary filmmaking, however I began my creative life writing and performing, and in these ways and more, DARK MOON has been a homecoming and a healing.

One of the most powerful things I’ve learned through my ongoing experience of loving someone as they lose their memory is that while the mundane details of everyday life are forgotten, their desire and capacity to contribute value to the world is not.

Dark Moon is an empathetic yet unflinching story about loss and the ways we try, however foolishly, to fight against it.