Its a wrap – 35th Cleveland Film Festival is in the record books

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With attendance increasing another 9% to over 78,000 people, CIFF is one of the few festivals that continues to grow leaps and bounds.  This was helped in part by the decision to have the festival take over Tower City Cinemas completely for the 11 days.  Although regular commercial movie attendees may have been disappointed, the number of all you can eat festival attendees doubled this year.   As far as growth management, this festival can do no wrong.  Oh yes.  They raised over $60,000 in contributions.

Cleveland Cinemas / Cedar Lee / CIFF founder Jon Foreman was honored with a legacy award for all he has done for the film festival and film in general.  After a short video montage of his contributions, he immediately gave credit to the 2 to 3 thousand festival goers in the audience.   A quick rundown of the awards.

  • Best American Independent – Hamil.
  • Best Short – Carjack.  (This is Cleveland’s official nominee for the Academy Awards.)
  • Central European movie – If I want to Whistle, I Whistle.  (While the movie was somewhat engrossing, you had to suspend belief that a former communist countries ran a prison like the keystone kops.)
  • Best Documentary – Steam of Life.
  • Gund Foundation Activism Documentary award – Dying to do Letterman.  (While it was heartening to see a local Clevelander making big, what exactly does trying to get a gig on the Letterman show have to do with Social Activism?)
  • Best Audience Award – Vincent by the Sea. (This movie was clearly the most talked about film of the festival.  While I thought that it was trying to mimic an untold number of Hollywood movies, it does have heart.  Look to see it coming to the Cinematheque.)
  • Documentary – Steam of Life.

The last day of the festival is always bittersweet:  while I am happy to get my life back after seeing 31 films, I will miss the running from film to film, the excitement of catching something new and the general conversation.  But my cats and wife will be happy to have me back.

I have enjoyed reporting on the festival and you may hear from me time to time.  Also, if you enjoy independent / foreign / classic films, please join my meetup group.  We see films several times a month and are always looking for new people to share their ideas.  Jim’s meetup link

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