FACT: The films at the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) are definitely not your average multi-million-dollar blockbusters 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 the hottest independent films around.
Happening March 22 - April 1, the 47th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) is centrally located in Downtown Cleveland at its new home in Playhouse Square, with CIFF 47 Streams following April 2 - 9 online.
If you really need a reason to get out to this amazing CLE staple, we've got a few...
1. You can watch 300+ films over 11 days
With 121 features and 199 shorts from 67 countries, conceivably, one could watch a different film for 12+ hours every day for 11 days 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—Playhouse Square
Unlike other film festivals around the world, all of CIFF’s film screenings happen in Playhouse Square in Downtown Cleveland. Our beloved theater district is the largest you'll find outside of New York, and its five theaters make for one incredible film festival experience. You're right in the thick of it too, close to first class accommodations like the Crowne Plaza Cleveland Playhouse Square, Hilton Cleveland Downtown and others, as well as great restaurants like Cibreo, Republic Food + Drink, Yours Truly, Hofbrauhaus Cleveland and Marble Room Steaks & Raw Bar.
3. You can meet the actual filmmakers.
Widely recognized as a “filmmakers festival,” CIFF will draw filmmakers from all around the world, with more being added every day. What’s better, festival goers at CIFF get the opportunity to chat with the filmmakers immediately following the screenings.
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. Along with newer Sidebars like Indigenous Cinema and Parability Cinema, you've got all the old standbys like After Hours, Asian Cinema and Black Cinema, to name a few. See all Sidebars here.
5. You can watch CIFF Streams online.
Like many people and organizations over the last two years, CIFF has had to face the many great challenges presented by the pandemic. They created the Ciff Streams platform so that they could share exciting films with their community right in the safety and comfort of their own home. Ciff Streams has now become an extension of the in-person festival, and from April 2 - 9, film fans can grab passes or individual tickets to view amazing cinema on web browsers, perosnal devices and Roku and Apple TV devices.
6. It’s more than just films.
Delve deeper into the important topics addressed within some of the festval's films with CIFF's media literacy program for students, FilmSlam, which provides students with the ability to avaluate and critique the messages they perceive when viewing films. The DReam Maker program honors an LGBTQ+ director each year, and provides a cash award to support their fture endeavors. The Groundbreaker Award offers a cash award to a filmmaker who is a pioneer in their field and who lifts marginalized voices.
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. 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, and a multiple-time entry in MovieMaker Magazine's 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee. If that weren't enough, they are now one of a few dozen film festivals in the world that are Academy-qualified in all three short film categories.
The 2023 lineup is up now and ready to view.
Tickets are $18 for the general public and $16 for CIFF members and are on sale now.
For more info, visit www.ClevelandFilm.org.