The 41st annual Cleveland International Film Festival
March 29-April 9
Approximately 200 features, including more than 80 documentaries:
This year the fest refocuses its long running nonfiction prize, the Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition, specifically on portraiture, featuring such projects as Kevin Burke’s exploration of film promotion, 24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS; and Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s look at an Italian village that holds an annual play about themselves, SPETTACOLO.
Social justice docs take the spotlight in the George Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition, including Andrew Michael Ellis’ FIGHT HATE WITH LOVE, about a former prisoner turned criminal justice reform activist; Apo W Bazidi’s RESISTANCE IS LIFE (pictured), a Kurdish youth’s perspective on refugee life; and Brad Riley’s BE RELENTLESS, following a human sex trafficking victims attempts to raise awareness.
A third nonfiction-focused competition explores Global Health, through such films as: John Gomez’s WHEN I STUTTER, a corrective to misperceptions around stuttering; Robin Berghaus’ STUMPED, which follows a man facing unexpected, catastrophic health problems through humor; Melissa Dowler’s LETTING GO OF ADELE (pictured), about a cardiac service dog; and Brian Storm’s THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, charting a road trip between twin brothers, one of whom lives with cerebral palsy.
Documentaries figures in several remaining sections, including the Local Heroes Competition which celebrates Ohio through work like: Catherine Gund’s DISPATCHES FROM CLEVELAND, which explores pressing issues facing the city; Geoff Yaw’s A MORE CIVIL WAR (pictured), a look at the city during the 2016 Republican National Convention; Danielle Miller and Julia Thorndike’s BURN THE SHIPS, on an Akron women’s pro softball team; and Tony Shaff’s 44 PAGES, a behind-the-scenes look at Highlights magazine.