The Cleveland International Film Festival is joining forces with the legendary Tribeca Film Institute for a new program that will empower Midwestern filmmakers.

CIFF is collaborating with Tribeca on its IF/Then Shorts program, which invites filmmakers living and/or working in the Midwest to apply for a new pitch opportunity to take place at CIFF43 this spring. The program calls for original stand-alone pitches of ten- to twenty-minute documentaries about the American Midwest that explore social, political and culturally relevant topics. States eligible for the program include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

TFI and CIFF will jointly select up to six finalists who will be invited to pitch their films to a panel of industry judges on Sunday, April 7 during the closing weekend of CIFF43. The winner will be announced that evening during the festival’s Closing Night Ceremony.

The winning project will receive up to $25,000 in production support to allow the filmmakers to complete their short documentary. The filmmakers will also have an opportunity to participate in Tribeca Film Institute’s IF/Then Shorts program, which provides a year of distribution membership. The program is made possible through the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“Tribeca Film Institute believes that short form is one of the most powerful tools to cultivate empathy and connect with audiences across regions and ideologies,” said Amy Hobby, executive director of TFI. “We’re excited for this opportunity to work closely with the Cleveland International Film Festival to support filmmakers telling stories of the American Midwest.”

CIFF Executive Director Marcie Goodman said, “The IF/Then Shorts program is an amazing opportunity for filmmakers. And the Cleveland International Film Festival is honored to be collaborating with Tribeca Film Institute.”

The 43rd annual Cleveland International Film Festival will be held March 27-April 7 at Tower City Cinemas. The academy-qualifying festival is expected to include approximately 200 feature films and more than 220 short films representing nearly 70 countries. More than 300 guest filmmakers from around the world will be in attendance and eligible for over $110,000 in cash prizes.

CIFF’s Get Shorty event will be held Feb. 8 at the Ohio Theatre in Playhouse Square. A handful of short films will be presented and voted on by audience members following each film. At the end of the evening, the film with the highest score will earn a guaranteed spot in the CIFF43 program lineup.
For more information and CIFF membership plans, visit