Ohio film enthusiasts can take a quick trip for a peek at up-and-coming films and filmmakers. Tonight, the lights will go dark and the projector will illuminate the big screen as the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) kicks off at Tower City Cinemas in downtown Cleveland.
Ohio film enthusiasts can take a quick trip for a peek at up-and-coming films and filmmakers.
Tonight, the lights will go dark and the projector will illuminate the big screen as the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) kicks off at Tower City Cinemas in downtown Cleveland.
The 12-day festival will showcase more than 180 feature films and more than 160 short films from 68 different countries, according to Patrick Shepherd, associate director of CIFF.
CIFF is the largest film festival between New York and Chicago, according to Shepherd.
“There’s no other festival in the region that matches us in attendance,” he said in an interview with The Gold Knight.
CIFF has been at Tower City Cinemas since 1991, according to Shepherd. Back then, the attendance for the festival was around 15,000. In 2013, attendance for CIFF was more than 93,000, a record.
CIFF kicks off its opening night gala March 19 with screenings of “Not Another Happy Ending,” a romantic comedy that director John McKay is flying in from Scotland to attend. (The Gold Knight will be attending the opening night gala. Follow @goldknightblog for full coverage.)
The festival begins in earnest on March 20. On a typical day there will be around 40 films screened between 9 a.m. and midnight. On Fridays and Saturdays, there are late-night screenings that start around 11:30 p.m.
Organizers spend all year looking for films from around the world, Shepherd said. There is also a call for entries launched every summer. He said there were nearly 2,000 films submitted for consideration this year.
Once films are selected, CIFF works closely to connect specific films with nonprofit organizations in northern Ohio. Last year was the first time CIFF reached out to Toledo organizations, said Shepherd, a 1993 Bowling Green State University graduate.
Partners included Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and Equality Toledo. Both organizations are continuing the partnership this year, along with Toledo Pride, the Hungarian Club of Toledo and the Great Lakes Consortium for International Training and Development.
Toledo partnership film screenings include “Gore Vidal: The United States Of Amnesia,” “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine,” “One: A Story of Love and Equality” and “Men with Balls.”
More information and a schedule for the festival can be found online at clevelandfilm.org or by downloading CIFF’s mobile app. (For a $2 ticket discount, use code: TOLEDO).
This article first appeared in Toledo Free Press.