PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Film buffs looking for something fun to do this weekend may just want to hop into their cars and head across the Ohio border for the final weekend of the 35th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival! The festival runs through Sunday, April 3 at Tower City Cinemas in Tower City Center; but attendees can also take in some great flicks at four other theaters in the Cleveland area, including: Cedar Lee Theatre, Shaker Square Cinemas, Capitol Theatre, and Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill.

Cleveland International Film Festival

Tower City Cinemas
Tower City Center
230 West Huron Rd.
Cleveland OH 44113
Website: Clevelandfilm.org
Getting There: Driving Directions

clevelandfilmfestival drew Guide To The Cleveland International Film Festival

(Source: KDKA/Drew Moniot)

Our own local movie critic, Drew Moniot (as seen on Pittsburgh Today Live’s “Drew’s Reviews”) had a chance to check out this year’s festival last weekend and he’s been raving about it ever since!

Drew calls this year’s festival “a great opportunity for Pittsburgh film buffs to see some really wonderful independent films, foreign films, short films and documentaries.” He explains why it’s worth the drive to Cleveland!

Why You Shouldn’t Miss The 35th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival

By Drew Moniot, Ph.D.

  • A dream opportunity for Pittsburghers who love movies
  • A chance to see some outstanding feature films, independent films, foreign films, short subject films and documentaries
  • 150 feature films and 130 short subject films from 60 countries
  • In my estimation, because of its close proximity and what it offers, this is one of the best film festivals in the country. All the movies are shown in the Tower City Cinemas multiplex at Tower City Center in the heart of downtown Cleveland. It couldn’t be more convenient. Travel time is less than two hours from the Burgh, easily drivable on a half tank of gas, round trip, in my Honda Accord. A perfect day trip, if you can only spend a day, allowing you to catch movies that screen from the late morning through midnight.

    I’ve been a big fan of this festival for almost two decades. Each year offers an incredible lineup of movies that you would not see elsewhere. This is a well-organized event that always reflects the enormous amount of effort devoted to planning and scheduling each year’s festival.

    The beauty of this location is that Tower City Center is connected to two, fine hotels: The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, and the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Even in inclement weather, you can walk from your hotel room to the theaters without ever stepping outside. And Tower City Center features shops, restaurants (including a Hard Rock Café and Morton’s Restaurant) as well as a food court immediately adjacent to the movie theater. You can pop out for a quick bite to eat between screenings and run back in to the theaters for more movie entertainment allowing you to make the most of your time at the festival.

    Parking is not a problem. Tower City Center has ample public parking right next to the theater complex.

    While other film festivals in other cities often involve theaters that are spread all over town, Cleveland is able to take advantage of the Tower City Center complex and all that it provides and essentially offer everything under one roof, making this one of the most pleasant, accessible and relaxing movie festival venues that you will ever experience.

    To get more information or to order tickets or ticket packages in advance, go to http://www.clevelandfilm.org or call 877-304-FILM.

    Some movies I’d recommend in this year’s line up (that I screened last weekend) include:

    The dark, dramatic Canadian film “The High Cost of Living” starring Zach Braff in a gritty performance as a drug dealer involved in a hit-and-run accident that causes the injured pregnant victim to lose her baby.

    “Whirligig” a bittersweet comedy about a bottomed-out son returning to his parent’s home on the wind-swept Nova Scotia coast to try to get his life back on track.

    The riveting, haunting documentary “The Woodmans” about the rising superstar photographer/artist Francesca Woodman who committed suicide back in 1981 at the age of 22. Based on interviews and excerpts from her personal diary, the movie explores her body of sexually-charged work as well as her upbringing in a family of bohemian, talented artists.

    “Vincent Wants to Sea,” the story of a 27-year-old man suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome on a journey of discovery with two friends he’s met at a rehabilitation clinic. This German film (with subtitles) reminds us of what is missing in so many contemporary Hollywood films—a solid script with complex characters. Don’t wait for the inevitable adaptation of this gem. This one is worth the ride.

    “Pepperminta” a retro-hallucinogenic-kaleidoscopic experimental film about a free-spirited young woman who dresses like a member of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets Monty Python in this edgy, sometimes shocking romp overflowing with over-saturated color and sexual frankness. A provocative film in German with subtitles.

    “Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today” a restored documentary shot by the U.S. government in the years following World War II but never shown here in the United States. Seen for the first time domestically, it details the proceedings of the Nazi war trials that took place in Nuremberg in 1945 in which captured Nazi footage depicting horrifying war atrocities was shown as evidence.

    “Midnight Shorts #2” part of the short films offering at this year’s festival, including the independent short films: “Kill Brass,” “Interview,” “Picnic,” and “Cold Turkey.” Mini-movies from seven to seventeen minutes in length that manage to tell their tales economically, artistically and often, unforgettably.


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