Tag Archives: Cleveland International Film Festival

The 39th Cleveland International Film Festival: My Kind of March Madness

CIFF Image

For sports fans, March Madness means another thrilling college hoops tournament. But for fans of Cleveland and film, March brings its own brand of excitement: the annual arrival of the Cleveland International Film Festival.

As much as I love Saint Patrick’s Day, CIFF is tops on my March must-do list.

The festival opens tonight with an Opening Gala that includes a screening of I’ll See You In My Dreams featuring Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott, Rhea Perlman and many other amazing actors. It’s a star-filled way to celebrate the festival and cinema.

Over the course of the 39th festival, which runs through March 29, 190+ feature films and 220+ short films from 60 countries will be screened.

Although the festival’s main hub is at Tower City, films will be screened all over the area. A few of the 11 neighborhood screening locations include Chagrin Cinemas in Chagrin Falls, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium, and The Nightlight in Akron.

There are films for every interest. In addition to their main program, this year’s festival continues to present a selection of “sidebars” or themed film groupings focused around Pan-Asian Films, Focus on Disabilities, Family Films,  African Diaspora, Cinema en Espanol and many other topics.

One of the films in the Women of the World sidebar and two of the festival’s competitions is Semicolon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl.

It features Dana, a 25-year-old woman who was diagnosed at age four with Crohn’s disease. It follows her and her mother as they travel between their home in Las Vegas and the Cleveland Clinic. Instead of viewing all of the surgeries, medications and close encounters with death as a tragedy, Dana tells her story with a grin and a sharp sense of humor.

To quote the film description: “SEMICOLON; THE ADVENTURES OF OSTOMY GIRL is not a story of disease and decay. This is a story of defiance and determination. Prepare to lose your heart as well as your inhibitions about not laughing at ‘certain things.’ Dana will teach you the meaning of courage, along with the value of a really good poop joke!”

With so many films to choose from, deciding what to do during CIFF can be overwhelming. Especially if it’s your first year. However, CIFF’s Film Guide, their website (www.clevelandfilm.org) and social media (@CIFF and Cleveland International Film Festival on Facebook are just two) are excellent places to start. 

Fresh Water Cleveland also asked veteran festival goers like Eat Drink Cleveland what advice they’d give attendees. It’s a must-read.

Once you have an idea about which films you want to see, you can buy tickets online. Tickets are available for purchase online until 11 PM on the day before a screening. You may also purchase tickets by phone (877.304.3456) or in person at the Film Festival Box Office in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas.

Day-of tickets are only available for purchase in person at the Film Festival Box Office.

While you’re at it, head over to USA TODAY to vote for the Cleveland International Film Festival as the best film festival in the U.S.

The contest is part of USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards and CIFF needs your help. Vote for them today and every day (one vote per person per day) through Monday, April 13th to show your support. It only takes two clicks: 10best.com/awards/travel/best-film-festival.

See you at the movies!

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Cleveland International Film Festival’s Get Shorty Film Feast


UPDATE: Congratulations, entry #34 – Megan Kilway! Random.org’s generator selected you as the winner of this giveaway. Please reply to my email by January 26 at noon ET to confirm you can still attend.

CIFF Winner

The thawing of ice, the sound of chirping birds, the return of the Cleveland International Film Festival. These are all signs that spring has come to Cleveland.

As much as I’ll welcome the warmer weather, I think that CIFF is the sign of spring I’m most excited for.

If you haven’t been to the festival before, here’s a post I wrote a couple of years ago about it.

If you have been, you’re probably saying to yourself: “But, CIFF39 doesn’t start til March. We still have two, long winter months to get through.”

And you’d be right. The 39th Annual Cleveland Film Festival runs March 18 – 29, when 350+ films will take over Tower City Cinemas. (Even better — some of this year’s screenings will be coming to a neighborhood venue near you like the Beachland Ballroom, Cedar Lee Theatre, Chagrin Cinemas, the Akron Art Museum and more.)

However, although the festival is a couple of months away, you and a friend have the chance to enjoy an evening of films and food on January 29th for free!

On January 29 at 7pm, CIFF will host the Get Shorty Film Feast at the Capitol Theatre, and I have a pair of tickets to give away.

CIFF’s Film Feasts are a series of parties to celebrate the arts, cultivate new film buffs, and help raise money for the festival.

Get Shorty is an extra special (and one of the most popular) feasts because it gives you the chance to help program some of the short films that will play at the 39th CIFF.

That’s right: During Get Shorty, CIFF will screen a selection of short films; audience members will cast their vote for each; and the top scorers will be screened at the festival in March. 

And don’t worry about doing all of that “work” on an empty stomach. Before the screenings, Culinary Occasions will be serving food and drinks at the Arcade next door.

Tickets to Get Shorty are $100 each and available at clevelandfilm.org/support-us/film-feasts/get-shorty; however, you can enter my giveaway to win two free tickets to the party!

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**Do one, some or all of the entries. Separate comments needed for each.**

1) What’s your favorite film? Leave a comment on this post with your pick.

2) Follow @CIFF and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave one comment on this post telling me you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and Cleveland International Film Festival on Facebook, leave one comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for tix to the Get Shorty film feast & help @CIFF pick the short films they’ll show http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2D7 #CLE

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until Friday, January 23 at 11:59PM to enter. On Saturday, January 24, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

Disclosure: I was offered complimentary tickets to Get Shorty in exchange for hosting a giveaway. My opinions are 100% my own.

Spring into Upcoming Events in Cleveland

Springtime in Cleveland

Even our gnome is ready for Spring!

As we March into Spring, eager to trade in those winter coats for short sleeves, Cleveland is full of upcoming events to help shake the winter blahs.

Here are a few I’m looking forward to. Be sure to leave a comment with your picks!

Continue reading

Carried Away by the Cleveland International Film Festival

The Clue Into Cleveland giveaway to win two tickets to Market at the Foodbank ends this Thursday. Enter here for a chance to attend Harvest for Hunger’s annual benefit.

Scott gets excited for our first trip to the Cleveland International Film Festival

When it’s cold, gray and wet outside, there’s nothing that lifts my spirit like seeing a movie. Bundling up and heading to a theatre so I can be whisked away on whatever adventure awaits is always an excellent remedy.

That’s why – after a dreary Sunday morning running errands – a trip to the Cleveland International Film Festival was perfectly timed.

Tower City, home to the Cleveland International Film Festival, now through April 1

This year’s Cleveland International Film Festival is running now through April 1 in downtown Cleveland’s Tower City.

In its 36th year, CIFF is a Cleveland institution, working hard to enrich the life of the local community and beyond by promoting the power of artistically and culturally significant film arts.  By the end of this year’s festival, CIFF will have shared this vision with over one million attendees since the first CIFF in 1977.

Be sure to arrive early to secure a spot close to the front of the line and a good seat in the theatre

This year was my first. After checking out advice from longtime CIFF experts iHeartCleveland and EatDrinkCleveland, Scott and I headed to Tower City ready to take in a film.

While I knew how popular the film festival is – attracting Clevelanders and out-of-towners alike – I was still struck by the size of the crowds.

I’ve mentioned before I’m not a huge fan of crowds or the chaos and my anxiety that usually accompanies it. Thankfully, everyone at CIFF had the situation under control – keeping the lines for each film organized and happy, escorting and seating each audience when it was time, and nicely but efficiently turning around the theatre after the film ended just in time for the next one to start.

The CIFF team’s helpfulness and organization – along with running into EatDrinkCleveland who volunteered to be our own personal guide – ensured a remarkably smooth experience in spite of the crowds.

Crystal’s been attending CIFF for at least 10 years – the perfect guide for this first-timer

After a lot of consideration and debate about Sunday evening’s film schedule (download the film guide and you’ll understand how difficult it is to narrow down the choices), Scott and I finally decided on Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.

Part of CIFF’s Women of the World sidebar, Diana Vreeland is a stunning look at the dynamic woman who was a fashion icon throughout most of the 20th century.

As fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, editor of American Vogue and consultant to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vreeland’s fearless personality and unconventional views on beauty transformed fashion, American culture, and the lives of those who knew her.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel was a fitting choice for this year’s whimsical CIFF theme – ‘Be Carried Away’

The film mixes dialogues between Diana and George Plimpton who helped edit her autobiography, along with her family and other fashion icons from the 60s and beyond. (My personal favorite was the striking-as-ever Anjelica Huston!)

The film was as visually exquisite as many of the photoshoots and designs shown in it. And as Vreeland’s lifework weaved the tale not just of a piece of clothing, but the life someone could live in that clothing, I felt like I was transported into the beautiful fantasy she created.

Between the nostalgia and the unique fashions you’d be hardpressed to find on the shelves today, it was like spending a few hours in one of my favorite Cleveland stores Flower Child.

As I head into a long week that I’ve been dreading for a while, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel perfectly captured the theme of this year’s festival and helped me Be Carried Away if only for a few hours.

Scott may have taken ‘Be Carried Away’ a little too literally when we stopped by CIFF’s Media Lab photo op (that look on my face is pure surprise)

Diana Vreeland is just one of CIFF’s almost 160 feature films, 160 shorts and countless q&a’s and panels that will lift you out of your world. Between now and April 1, audiences will enjoy films from 60 countries that cover a variety of subjects – including climate change in the Maldives, a Brooklyn chess team’s financial struggles, and the ”kings” of both curling and checkers.

Head to ClevelandFilm.org or download CIFF’s Android and iPhone apps to learn more.  And after your film, stop by CIFF’s Challenge Match table to help them reach their goal of $75,000 so that future audiences can likewise be carried away.

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend a CIFF blogger reception and film this Sunday. However, the events I choose to share and my opinions of them are 100% my own.