By SARAH JAQUAY
“This is their [the filmmakers’] moment,” notes the Cleveland International Film Festival’s (CIFF’s) Executive Director Marcie Goodman. “That’s what festivals are all about – the chance for audiences and filmmakers to connect.” Goodman is excited that hundreds of filmmakers, not to mention, thousands of film festival aficionados will be descending on Playhouse Square for CIFF 47 just over a month from now. The in-person version of CIFF 47 starts on Wednesday, March 22 and ends on Sunday, April 1, 2023 at Playhouse Square theaters. The streaming version runs from April 2-9, 2023. The price for the in-person event is $18 per ticket ($16 for members) and for CIFF streaming it’s $14 per ticket ($12 for members.) There are separate passes for both events but VIP pass holders will be able to attend/access both.
Goodman is also enthusiastic about returning to Playhouse Square’s stunning venue for CIFF’s second season in that location. Due to the pandemic, their scheduled first year there didn’t happen. “Last year, we [CIFF staff and volunteers] walked around saying, “It feels like we’ve graduated with honors. We can’t wait to get back there.” One new approach that the CIFF staff will take this year at Playhouse Square will be an “intentionally smaller footprint to create more togetherness.” That means most of the showings will be in the Ohio, State and Allen theaters. Opening night will be in the Connor Palace Theatre, but probably not much else. Goodman and her team love working with Playhouse Square. “They start from ‘yes’ and we have a lot more yeses to get to this year.” She gets particular enjoyment from the filmmakers‘ responses to Playhouse Square. “Most of them probably never dreamed their films would be shown in such a venue. I love watching their reactions.”
When asked about continuing COVID concerns, Goodman doesn’t hesitate to emphasize how safe she feels at Playhouse Square. “I’m very risk-averse, but their air-filtration system is state of the art,” she notes. And of course, none of us knows what will happen between now and March 22nd. If there’s anything the pandemic taught us, it’s you can’t plan for everything. She also believes the increase in attendance at last fall’s film festivals, such as Toronto’s is a positive indicator.
Last year the programmers for CIFF 46 made a Zoom video discussing their must-sees for the festival. Audiences loved it. And although Goodman isn’t sure yet what format the programmers’ picks will take for CIFF 47, she says there will be opportunities for audiences to access programmers’ top likes. Patrons should check the website, clevelandfilm.org, to learn and discover more.
More than 300 filmmakers attended last year’s CIFF and Goodman expects there will be as many this year. “We’re so honored to be able to give them the space to showcase their work.” And Northeast Ohioans are honored to be among the festival goers around the world to see these independent, sometimes seminal works of film art.
For more information, please visit www.clevelandfilm.org
CIFF set for March 22-April 1 at Playhouse Square theaters
By SARAH JAQUAY