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March 20, 2014

CIFF opens at Tower City Cinemas

By Travis Raymond

The 38th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) opened March 19 at Tower City Cinemas with John McKay’s “Not Another Happy Ending” and a gala reception at Post Office Plaza with the romantic comedy’s director.

Cleveland State University has been a sponsor of the CIFF since 2007.  As in years past, the university will host panel discussions featuring filmmakers from the festival open to the public on Saturday, March 29 in the School of Communication’s MU 107 auditorium. 

Participants from the festival will include PJ Raval and Jeff Rosenberg, and Chris Kasick will speak about his experience working as assistant to Errol Morris on the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.”

This year, Cleveland State will also present a full day of screenings at PlayHouse Square’s Hanna Theatre, to include the films “Hollywood Shorts,” “Five Dances,” Handy” and “The Sax Man.”

The winter’s unusually inclement weather caused the cancellation of the preview reception in the Student Center when the university was forced to close early once again March 12.  Organizers were forced to cancel rather than reschedule the event because there was not enough time before the festival’s opening just one week away, according to Yeya Kious, the corporate sponsorship liaison for the festival.

Even though it was cancelled, the fact that the CIFF’s preview was to be hosted by Cleveland State is indicative of the university’s close ties with the film festival that have become a true partnership over the years.

“The university sponsors a lot of events and activities, but in many ways this is one of the most important participations we have,” said Byron White, vice president for university engagement.  “The film festival ties into so many of our academic programs, arts, film and media, and communications programs.”

Professors will also have the opportunity to invite filmmakers to speak to their classes at the university which will then also be made open to the public, according to White.

Tickets went on sale to the general public March 6, but students can take advantage of the festival’s newly expanded student program. 

This year students can attend screenings for free on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and after 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during the festival’s 12-day run.  Additionally, the Cleveland Foundation has sponsored a day of free screenings on Monday, March 24, allowing attendees up to four free screenings.

This year the CIFF has more than 180 feature films and more than 165 short films. 
Film topics cover a diverse range of subject material, from supernatural high school angst in “All Cheerleaders Die” and horse love stories in “Of Horses and Men,” to Israeli-Palestinian border tensions in “Rock the Casbah.” and real life and death struggles in the ER in the documentary “Code Black.”

The full CIFF film directory can be viewed online at www.clevelandfilm.org.