|Sent on:||Monday, April 1, 2013 10:30 AM|
The Cleveland International Film Festival begins this week and frankly I'm both surprised and disappointed at our members' lack of interest. I can only assume that many, or most or even all of our members have never attended a CIFF screening before. If you're in that category, then this is your opportunity to venture into something new and exciting.
No doubt that Cleveland is a film town and the CIFF is the real highlight of the year for film lovers.
And, yes, this may require some advance planning and some commitment to purchasing tickets ahead of time. I would not recommend waiting to buy tickets until you arrive at the fest. You can certainly do that but you'll be gambling on getting shut out of the film you want to see.
We have a special incentive to buy early - our group discount of $2 per ticket. Just use the discount code of CINEARTS when you purchase on line, by phone or in person.
Be the applause!
If you missed the page one article in yesterday's Plain Dealer, here's a copy:
Cleveland International Film Festival 2013: Bigger than ever with extra day, more films
After breaking attendance records last year by drawing more than 85,000 movie fans, the Cleveland International Film Festival faced a new challenge: how to expand. The demand was there for more movies, but the festival was already using every theater in Tower City Cinemas, and maxing out the number of screenings in each of those theaters.
"We were running out of space," said Marcie Goodman, the festival's executive director. "We couldn't add more theaters so we added more time."
Starting Wednesday, for the first time in 20 years, the festival adds a full day to its schedule, up to 12 from 11. Overall attendance has increased more than 140 percent since 2003 and the additional day may also help alleviate some of the crowded lobby issues.
The added day means the 37th edition, which runs through Sunday, April 14, will offer more on several levels. More movies (180 feature films and 164 short subjects from 65 countries), more visiting filmmakers (over 200 from far-flung locales such as Belize, Belgium, Japan and Nepal) and more awards, including a new $10,000 prize to the best woman director.
The festival is also expanding beyond the confines of Tower City with a full day of screenings in Akron and an evening at the Apollo Theatre in Oberlin.
"Their marketing has got to be some of the best of any arts organization in the region," said Thomas B. Schorgl, president and CEO of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. "I am always amazed at how many businesses support them and how they promote those businesses through the festival. It's also a smart strategic approach to go into other communities and reach new audiences. They're getting the brand out to Akron and Oberlin and all the people who attend those events. When it comes to regionalism that's what everybody's looking for. It's just a very smart way of doing business."
One thing that has not expanded in recent years: parking. In fact, the number of spaces continues to shrink in the face of growing construction and an entity that had yet to open during last year's festival -- the Horseshoe Casino.
To avoid infringing upon Easter and Passover, the festival pushed its dates entirely into April for the first time since 1994.
In addition to the casino crowds, film fans will be vying for downtown elbow room with the Cleveland Indians, who have seven home games scheduled at Progressive Field during the festival, including the sold out home opener against the New York Yankees on Monday, April 8. The Cleveland Cavaliers, just a walkway away from Tower City Cinemas at the Q, will also be home, for four games, including one against the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night.
"Downtown Cleveland is growing and there are more people downtown because of major development projects," said Patrick Shepherd, the festival's associate director. "More people means more cars in and around Tower City Center. RTA trains can bring festival patrons directly inside Tower City Center and there are 8,000 free RTA parking spaces throughout Cuyahoga County. Our motto is, 'Ride RTA, it's the easy way,'
RTA is also adding later trains on Friday and Saturday nights of both festival weekends to accommodate later screenings. Shepherd is directing everyone to clevelandfilm.org/plan-your-day for more details.
Although films and filmmakers are coming in from all over the world, this year's opening night film, the coming-of-age comedy "The Kings of Summer," could not be more local.
It was produced by local filmmaker Tyler Davidson of South Russell and was shot entirely on location in Greater Cleveland last summer. It features Alison Brie and Megan Mullally and stars Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias as three boys who flee their oppressive parents and build their own house in the woods.
The spotlight this year is on Latino filmmakers and their work, including Jose Asuncion's "Sick Mick and the Boys," about Eastlake's Mike Charlton and his jet-powered motorcycle, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan's "Wonder Women!" documentary looking at strong female characters in comic books, television and movies, Carlo Guillermo Proto's "El Huaso," about his father's struggles with depression and Jorge Hinojosa's "Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp," featuring Ice-T and Snoop Dogg.
Regular sidebars focusing in LGBT films, family films and Jewish and Israeli concerns return, along with the new "Islamic and Arab Societies" (12 films looking at religious, political and cultural challenges). The vast array of shorts feature notable names such as Judi Dench, who plays a woman trying to navigate the world of social networking in "Friend Request Pending," Shia LaBeouf's "HowardCantour.com," starring stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan, and Kenneth Branagh as a father trying to save his daughter in the sci-fi short "Prodigal."
One misnomer in this year's festival is the word "film." As in actual film passing through a projector. "The biggest thing going on right now is the complete switchover to digital presentation," said Bill Guentzler, the festival's artistic director.
Only 14 of the more than 340 features and shorts will be flickering on 35mm film. All the rest will be shown through digital formats. It's light years removed from the days when heavy stacks of film canisters arrived from around the globe.
"We expect there will be no 35mm next year," said Guentzler. "It was the largest complication in planning this year's festival. We even had to rent a lot of additional projection equipment. While there are purists out there who are sad that 35mm is dying, at least the quality of the current digital formats rivals 35mm."
But, he added, "I will definitely miss 35mm."
What: 37th Cleveland International Film Festival.
When: Wednesday through Sunday, April 14.
Where: Tower City Cinemas, 230 West Huron Road.
Tickets: $14; $12 for CIFF members (and students and seniors, in person with ID). Purchase online at clevelandfilm.org; by phone,[masked]; or at Tower City's box office. A $3 handling fee added to online and phone orders.
Discount: Use our group code - CINEARTS for $2 off per ticket
Opening Night Gala: $125; $100 for CIFF members. Includes film at 7 p.m. and reception afterwards.
Online Coverage: Reviews, news and updates throughout the festival at cleveland.com/filmfest
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