By BARRY GOODRICH
The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is alive and well and set to mark its 11th anniversary Oct. 6-11 with a hybrid of streaming and drive-in screenings.
With LED screens at two outdoor venues, the CDFF will be able to offer in-person viewing as well as at-home streaming options. Films will be shown at Riverside Park in Chagrin Falls as well as Drive-in Docs screenings at the parking lot behind Chagrin Cinemas in Bainbridge.
The festival, which drew crowds of over 13,000 last year, received a $50,000 CARES Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Despite the new format, the festival has been named to MovieMaker Magazine’s “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Submission Fee.”
The CDFF’s opening night film is “Playing with Fire: Jeannette Sorrell and the Mysteries of Conducting,” a documentary of Cleveland’s critically acclaimed Apollo’s Fire ensemble. The film, directed by two-time Academy Award winner Alan Miller, will screen as both a Drive-In Doc feature and a streaming selection on Oct. 6.
“We’re trying to keep our volunteers safe and our audiences safe,” said festival director Mary Ann Ponce. “We’re also supporting the local merchants and the Chagrin Cinemas in any way possible.”
Festival goers will be encouraged to purchase Fest to Go boxed lunches and dinners from Chagrin Falls restaurants. Menus will be available online at the CDFF site.
The festival is utilizing the same streaming company used by the Cleveland International Film Festival to stream 101 films throughout the week. “We’re all about sharing these wonderful stories…more than anything, we want people to experience them,” said Ponce.
The Chagrin Jaycees will also be donating manpower for the drive-in movie events at Chagrin Cinemas by directing traffic. An estimated 70-80 carloads will be able to gain entrance to those screenings.
The festival will once again offer membership packages ranging from $100-$10,000. Memberships include reserved parking for the Drive-In Docs, Films in the Park, Fest to Go food boxes and extended CDFF streaming that allows members full access to films in their own homes. Five-day streaming passes are available to everyone.
“The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is needed more than ever in our community,” said Chagrin Falls Mayor William Tomko. “This festival brings in much needed stimulus to our restaurants and merchants and, more importantly, also brings us together to discuss important topics in diverse times.”
For CDFF membership and donation information, visit www.chagrinfilmfest.org.