Growing up in the wilds of northeastern Ohio (and I mean that only slightly tongue-in-cheek), my exposure to independent and art film during my teenage years was limited to IFC and the painfully small local library selection. So it was a fairly exciting thing for me to finally, in my early twenties, make it to my first Cleveland International Film Festival. Barring weather or family emergency, I've gone back every year since. And, every year, I sit down and make a list of the films I'm interested in beforehand.
Top Recommendations: These are a handful of films I've already heard buzz about, been tipped off they're worth checking out, or just think look interesting.
- Accident - A thriller from Hong Kong director Soi Cheang.
- For the Love of Movies - A documentary about that strangest of creatures, the film critic.
- I Am Love - An Italian family epic featuring Tilda Swinton.
- Lourdes - A French drama that's received promising notices.
- A Town Called Panic - Amazing reviews of this one - if you haven't seen it yet, catch it.
Local Interest: One of the things the CIFF does well is feature Cleveland and Ohio-centric films. I believe there are around 20 selections in all, but, if I were you, I'd look at these first:
- Fire in the Heartland - On the Kent State shootings.
- First Voice Ohio - The story of American roots music reaching out to schools in Ohio.
- Out of Place - Surfing Lake Erie. Any doc that explores why someone would want to do that has to be at least a little interesting.
- Youngstown: Still Standing - The tortured tale of my old county seat, Youngstown, Ohio.
I'm unfortunately going to miss most of these, given my inflexible schedule. But I'll be there opening weekend to catch a few other films, reviews of which will most assuredly appear here soon.