7 Reasons to Go: CLE Film Fest
The 2018 Cleveland International Film Festival
By Lexi Hotchkiss
FACT: The films at the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) are definitely not your average multi-million-dollar blocksbusters shown at big-box suburban cinemaplexes on any given Saturday night.
Instead, you’re exposed to everything from documentaries covering humanitarian issues and blocks of hilarious 10-minute shorts to foreign flicks and even films screened in virtual reality.
Happening April 4-15, the 42nd Annual Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) is centrally located in the heart of Downtown Cleveland at Tower City Cinemas.
Why give it a go?
1. You can watch 400+ films over 12 days
Conceivably, one could watch a different film for 12+ hours every day for almost two weeks straight. And, it’s not uncommon to catch a few festivalgoers who call off work for a solid week to enjoy much of the event. [Hey…you should, too.]
2. It’s in one place—Downtown Cleveland
Unlike other film festivals around the world, around 96 percent of CIFF’s film screenings happen in one place in Downtown Cleveland. Tower City Center is directly attached to the JACK Cleveland Casino, as well as hotels including The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland and the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. The location also offers direct access to public transportation to/from the airport and around the city.
3. You can meet the actual filmmakers.
Widely recognized as a “filmmakers festival,” CIFF will draw more than 300 filmmakers from 70 countries. What’s better, visitors to CIFF can get the opportunity to chat with the filmmakers immediately following the screenings. And, if they run out of time, CIFF offers chatrooms in Tower City Center storefronts to continue the conversations.
4. It’s great for first-timers.
If you’re a newb to the film fest scene, no worries. CIFF organizes many of its films into categories called Sidebars, which help first-time festivalgoers to select films based on interest. Past categories included LGBT-focused films, late-night films, those films highlighting environment issues and even films that cater to families.
5. You can watch using VR.
CIFF recently introduced immersive storytelling experiences in which visitors can screen 14 films and eight other interactive projects on individual VR headsets—all offered at no charge to festivalgoers and the public.
6. It’s more than just films.
FilmForums are an incredible way to delve deeper into the important topics addressed within some of CIFF’s films. These moderated discussion panels held after the film’s conclusion include the directors of select films, community leaders, local experts and scholars of the subject(s).
7. It’s ranked up there with Sundance and Cannes.
CIFF was rated as one of six standout film festivals in the country beyond Sundance by the king of travel himself, Peter Greenberg. The CIFF also made its way onto indieWIRE’s list of the 50 leading film festivals around the world. It’s also the largest festival of its kind in the region.
The 2018 lineup of films and programming will be announced on March 9.
Tickets are $16 for the general public and $14 for CIFF members. Tickets go on sale March 16 (members) and March 23 (non-members). Discount parking is available.
For more on info, visit www.ClevelandFilm.org.