I’m always surprised by how many people complain that there’s nothing to do in Cleveland, yet don’t go out and DO anything or check out any of the cool things that are actually happening! A prime example of one of those amazing things to do that happens every year around this time is the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF)!
What is CIFF? From their website:
The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
In other words, we present the newest and best films from around the world, and we do everything in our power to make sure that our audience learns something along the way – about other cultures, about the topic at hand, about the experience from the filmmakers themselves.
Why do I like CIFF?
Because I can walk about a hundred feet and be at the movie theater and swept away to foreign countries, introduced to new themes, and of course, there’s always the popcorn and other movie theater treats. I really do love sitting in a theater, and learning so much about a new culture, a new topic, or even just a new person. Here’s my review from last year’s festival.
Why should you check out CIFF?
There really is a movie in there for everyone. I know, sometimes people hear “independent film festival” and think “you mean I have to watch a sad movie that makes me think about my life?” or think “you mean I have to read subtitles?” THIS IS NOT TRUE. There are movies about gangs. Movies in English about all the cool things happening in cities around the U.S. Short films so even if you don’t have the attention span required to sit through a 1-2 hour movie you can watch a series of shorts!
SO, what have I seen so far? And what do I think?
Live Action Shorts
I am typically a fan of shorts because of the varying lengths, topics, genres, etc. This grouping was pretty good – not all of them were my favorite, but that’s the point of seeing a series of shorts. Some you like, some you don’t! The ones I didn’t really like will remain nameless … but I DID really like Sandbox. Very cute!
My rating? 3.5 / 5
Were The World Mine
Don’t tell the director of the movie I said this, but imagine this as an early look at what Glee The Movie could be. Plus some magic. And that’s this. I saw don’t tell the director, because he actually spoke to the audience after the movie and talked about how they had pitched the movie as a TV show before making the movie and was rejected, so they made it clear that the movie was B.G. (before Glee).
My rating? 4.5 / 5
I really really liked this! I had no idea what to expect and found the movie interesting and funny at times. AND I could (for the most part) actually understand what they were saying, despite my usual issue with comprehending British accents.
My rating? 4.5 / 5
(sorry you’ll have to watch the preview for this actually on YouTube)
Red, White and Blueprints
The overall message in the film was good. It was an optimistic look at the movement happening in Rust Belt Cities (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, St. Louis, Buffalo) and showcased a few of the people in these cities and what they were doing to help make change happen. They even featured the Cleveland Colectivo, an organization I’ve been trying to learn more about. I saw the movie with one of my City Advocate friends (Naturally!), Laura, and after the movie we sat in on a film forum where the director and a few local civically engaged people were interviewed. Laura and I grabbed drinks after the movie and talked about its strengths (the overall message) and weaknesses (the film’s editing and lack of actual call to action – the director even admitted at the talk afterwards that it was just a piece of propaganda). Thanks, Laura for the movie tickets 🙂
My rating? 4 / 5 (I’m all for a feel good “yay cleveland” movie anytime!)
Tonight, B and I are going to see another movie, and then hopefully some more this weekend. My goal was to beat my 5 movie streak last year, and I’m well on my way! AND you should be too – I highly recommend you GET YOURSELF TO TOWER CITY and check out some films before the festival is over!
Some thoughts to ponder:
- For Clevelanders – what’s your favorite CIFF film thus far this year?
- Have you been to CIFF or another film festival before? What’s your favorite thing about film festivals?
- Do you like foreign films? Why / why not? Do you have a favorite?
- What’s your favorite movie theater snack?