The Cleveland International Film Festival made its triumphant return on March 30, following two years of presenting online.
Planners of CIFF46 celebrated not only the festival’s return with live audiences, but also its stunning and permanent new home at Playhouse Square. The festival opened with, “Peace by Chocolate,” an inspiring narrative story about working together and overcoming unimaginable hardship. The film’s director, co-writer and producer Jonathan Keijser attended the opening night festivities at the Connor Palace Theatre, along with producer Allison Chu and actors Mark Camacho and Laurent Pitre. The festival staff worked with Fusion Filmworks to produce the CIFF46 trailer, which aired on opening night. Following the films,guests

Patrick Shepherd, Debby Samples, Nance Hikes and Michael Melampy

enjoyed anon-stage dessert reception at the State Theatre. Opening night was sponsored by Dollar Bank.
This year’s festival showcased more than 300 films, as well as a number of accompanying filmmaker Q&A sessions and audience engagement opportunities. The Cleveland International Film Festival is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a pubic grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The festival is also made possible by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council. STORY BY CYNTHIA SCHUSTER EAKIN/PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC EAKIN