||HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 27th CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (CIFF).
MARCH 20-30, 2003
TOWER CITY CINEMAS ON THE AVENUE AT TOWER CITY CENTER
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Attendance of 35,173
- 36 sell-out screenings
- 102 feature films
- 94 short subjects
- 44 countries of origin
- Almost 50 visiting filmmakers and other guests from around the world
- The Roxanne T. Mueller Award for Best Feature Film (audience choice award) went to SPELLBOUND (USA), directed by Jeff Blitz. Runners up were MY FLESH AND BLOOD (USA), directed by Jonathan Karsh; RUTHIE AND CONNIE: EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE (USA), directed by Deborah Dickson; MONSIEUR BATIGNOLE (France), directed by Gérard Jugnot; MINOES (Netherlands), directed by Vincent Bal; SMALL VOICES (Philippines), directed by Gil M. Portes; TOUCHING WILD HORSES (Canada/United Kingdom/Germany), directed by Eleanore Lindo; STEVIE (USA), directed by Steve James; KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM (India), directed by Karan Johar; and THE NAZI OFFICER'S WIFE (USA), directed by Liz Garbus.
- The first CIFF Central and Eastern European Competition presented a surprising outcome. In a statement from the three jurors: After lengthy deliberation, the jurors decided to give this prize "ex equo" to HUKKLE (Hungary), directed by György Pálfi, and EDI (Poland), directed by Piotr Trzaskalski . Juror Sergey Lavrentiev referred to HUKKLE as "a strong cinematic experience that matches equally the in-depth character development of EDI." Juror Goran Markovic agreed that "the Hungarian folklore as portrayed in HUKKLE is an equal endeavor to the portrait of universal drama in EDI." Bruce Checefsky, the third juror, called this "ex equo" decision "the classic rivalry between fable (HUKKLE) and true life (EDI)."
- Best Live Action Short Film (Sponsored by David Ream): OUT OF HABIT (USA), Directed by Robin Larsen; Honorable Mentions: ANOTHER LIFE (USA), Directed by Tracey D'Arcy and CHASING HEAVEN (United Kingdom), Directed by Claudia Solti
- Best Animated Short Film (Sponsored by SpaldJack, Inc.): HOME ROAD MOVIES (United Kingdom), Directed by Robert Bradbrook; Honorable Mentions: THE BOX MAN (USA), Directed by Nirvan Mullick and ROOF SEX (USA), Directed by PES
- Process Award for Visual Excellence (Sponsored by John Williams and Process Creative Studios): MIGUELINA (Venezuela), Directed by Reyther Ortega; Honorable Mentions: STREET OF PAIN (USA), Directed by Tyrone Finch and Jeremy Hall and THE HUNGRY SQUID (Canada), Directed by John Weldon
- Humanitarian Award (Anonymously Sponsored): BORDER (USA), Directed by Annette Solakoglu; Honorable Mentions: FROM THE 104th FLOOR (USA), Directed by Serguei Bassine and THE HANGED DOG TREE (Belgium), Directed by O. Van Malderghem
- Best Student Short Film (Sponsored by The William Worth Wardell Scholarship Fund): REQUEST (USA), Directed by Jinoh Park; Honorable Mentions: BACKSLIDE (USA), Directed by Rick Ross and KATHERINE (USA), Directed by Mary Louise Stoughton
- Best Ohio Short Film (Sponsored by Kodak and Film Craft Lab): THE LEAST OF THESE (USA), Directed by Rik Swartzwelder; Honorable Mentions: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (USA), Directed by Michael Paukst and JIMMY (USA), Directed by Kasumi
- Best Women's Short Film (Sponsored by Jinny and John Johnson): SOPHIE (USA), Directed by Helen Haeyoung; Honorable Mentions: BARRIER DEVICE (USA), Directed by Grace Lee and D.E.B.S. (USA), Directed by Angela Robinson
- Best Documentary Short Film (Sponsored by Jules and Fran Belkin): LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR (USA), Directed by Thea St. Omer; Honorable Mentions: ALL WATER HAS A PERFECT MEMORY (USA), Directed by Natalia Almada and A CONVERSATION WITH HARRIS (USA), Directed by Sheila M. Sofian
- This year the Cleveland International Film Festival created a new award named THE SERVICE TO THE FIELD AWARD. Women Make Movies was the first recipient of this prestigious award. Women Make Movies was founded in 1972 to facilitate the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and video projects by and about women of all races and ages. Celebrating its 30-year anniversary, Women Make Movies is now the largest distributor of women's films and videos in the world. The award, a sculpture by area artist Anna Arnold, was sponsored by Chris and Libby McNeece
- Sponsored by Dollar Bank, AMERICAN SPLENDOR (USA) opened the 27th Cleveland International Film Festival on Thursday, March 20th. Cleveland's Major, the Honorable Jane Campbell, served as Honorary Chair of the Opening Night Gala. Special guests included: Joyce Brabner, Danielle Batone, and Toby Radloff. Following the screening of the film, there was an Opening Night Harvey Pekar Party and Gala Reception at The Silver Grille. Over 800 people attended Opening Night.
- The 27th CIFF catalogue was unveiled on Opening Night
OTHER SPECIAL EVENTS
- The Film Festival partnered with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland for a special presentation sponsored by Toby Devan Lewis. LOVE IS A TREASURE, directed by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, was a film of surreal vignettes drawn from interviews with women afflicted with mental illness. The partnership presentation was held on Thursday, March 27th. Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Film and Video for the Museum of Modern Art (New York), moderated the program.
- Cultural Journeys, which is a multicultural Film Festival program, welcomed new audiences from a broad spectrum of ethnic and national backgrounds. Featuring cutting edge films from a variety of cultural communities, Cultural Journeys brings people together to learn about each other's customs, lifestyles, and traditions through the shared language of film. The six Cultural Journeys films represented a number of countries: RACHIDA (Algeria/France); SMALL VOICES (Philippines); SLOGANS (France/Albania); A PECK ON THE CHEEK (India); I'M TARANEH, 15 (Iran); and YEAR OF THE DEVIL (Czech Republic). More than 1,400 people attended the Cultural Journeys films. A World Celebration event took place on Saturday, March 29th at the Great Lakes Brewing Company Tasting Room. More than 500 party-goers danced to live music from around the world, while sampling an assortment of ethnic cuisine. Cultural Journeys was sponsored by KeyBank and McDonald Financial Group.
- Three FilmForums were presented during the Festival. On Monday, March 24th, following the screening of CREATIVE ESSENCE, panelists addressed the topic of the arts as the key to Cleveland's cultural and economic renaissance. This forum was sponsored by Hahn Loeser + Parks LLP. On Thursday, March 27th, following the screening of GEORGIE GIRL and NO DUMB QUESTIONS, panelists examined the complex issues surrounding transgender. On Friday, March 28th, following the screening of LOVE AND DIANE, panelists discussed issues relating to this powerful documentary (AIDS, drug addiction, and foster care).
- FilmSlam, our Film Festival for high school students, took place on five weekday mornings. Close to 2,000 high school students registered to see the following films: BOLIVIA (Argentina), a captivating social exposé; I'M TARAHAH, 15 (Iran), a cross-cultural journey; MINOES (Netherlands), a creative vision; MONSIEUR BATIGNOLE (France), a story of bystander to activist; THE NAZI OFFICER'S WIFE (USA), a gripping survival story; and a program of short subjects, a FilmSlam favorite. Teachers were provided with study guides in advance and speakers (including the filmmakers) answered questions from the students following the screenings. We again included an additional aspect to FilmSlam this year - in-depth filmmaking workshops. These workshops were held in conjunction with the Midwest Independent Filmmakers Conference (MIFC). They covered three topics: Music Video Production, Stunts and Special Effects, and Cartoons. FilmSlam was sponsored by Cuyahoga Community College and Huntington Bank.
- The Sixth Annual Midwest Independent Filmmakers Conference (MIFC) was held during the last weekend of the Festival, at the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade. This three-day event dedicated to independent filmmaking was open to anyone interested in learning about the art form. Independent film experts from around the country served on an array of panels. In addition to signing up for panels (topics ranged from Experimental Cinema vs. Digital Media to Making a Documentary in the World of Reality TV), participants attended Festival screenings and parties.
- RESPIRO (Italy), directed by Emanuele Crialese and starring Valeria Golino closed the Festival on Sunday, March 30th. A closing night party at the California Greenhouse Cafe, sponsored by Dollar Bank, took place prior to the film.
Dan Badea, Producer of OCCIDENT
Robert Banks, Director of A.W.O.L.
Natalie Barandes, Director of AS VIRGINS FALL
Serguei Bassine, Director of FROM THE 104TH FLOOR
Peter Belsito, Film Finders
Steven Bognar, Director of GRAVEL
Diane Cheklich, Director of NO DAY PROMISED
Justin Choma, Director of ONE OF FIVE
Tyrone Finch, Director of STREET OF PAIN
Karen Gocsik, Producer of FROM THE 104TH FLOOR
Don Goldmacher, Producer of RUTHIE & CONNIE
Brad Gottfred, Director of THE MOVIE HERO
Sam Green, Director of THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND
Ágúst Gudmundsson, Someone To Watch recipient
Jim Healy, Assistant Curator of George Eastman House
Steve James, Director of STEVIE
Sergey Lavrentiev, Central & Eastern European Competition Juror
Alvoro Leite, Director of LUCKY'S
Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Film and Video, MOMA
Goran Markovic, Director's Spotlight recipient
Robert May, Producer of STEVIE and THE STATION AGENT
Sarah Neuburger, Women Make Movies
Gerald Peary, Film Critic for the Boston Phoenix
Julia Reichert, Producer of GRAVEL
Joel Sadilek, Director of THE SUMMER HOUSE
Marta Sanchez, Women Make Movies
Scott Saunders, Director of THE TECHNICAL WRITER
Ken Smith, MENTAL HYGIENE
Ed Solomon, Director of LEVITY
Nancy Stein, Director of STEALING INNOCENCE
Yvonne Welbon, Director of SISTERS IN CINEMA