What You Need to Know About the 43rd Cleveland International Film Festival


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A scene from The Etruscan Smile. - COURTESY OF CIFF
  • Courtesy of CIFF
  • A scene from The Etruscan Smile.
The 43rd iteration of the Cleveland International Film Festival opens tonight with a special screening of The Etruscan Smile, a film about a Scottish man who travels from his home on Hebridean Island to seek medical treatment in San Francisco. Based on the Jose Louis Sampedro book La Sunrise Etrusca, the film stars Brian Cox, Rosanna Arquette, Thora Birch, JJ Feild, Peter Coyote and Treat Williams.

It screens at 7 at Connor Palace. A reception takes place afterward in the State Theatre.

Then, starting tomorrow, the film festival kicks into high gear. Over the course of the next ten days, 213 feature films and 237 short films from 71 countries will screen at Tower City Cinemas and at other off-site locations on both the east and west sides of town.

Four hundred guest filmmakers are scheduled to attend the festival, and the festival will likely draw a crowd of about 100,000 over the 12-day period.

Some of the highlights include the local premiere of Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem Magazine, a documentary about the Detroit-based music magazine that aspired to be the anti-Rolling Stone. It screens at 8:50 p.m. on Friday and at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday at Tower City Cinemas.

Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero, a documentary that screens at 9:10 p.m. on Thursday, at 4:20 p.m. on Friday and at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Tower City Cinemas, tells the story of the terrific indie rock band from Dayton that was fronted by eccentric singer Tim Taylor.

Starring Olivia Colman, Alice Englert, Walton Goggins, Kaitlyn Dever and Jim Gaffigan, the drama Them That Follow tells the story of a pastor's daughter who holds a secret that threatens to tear her community apart. It screens at 8:25 p.m. tomorrow and at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday at Tower City Cinemas. Producer Bradley Gallo will be in attendance.

Daniel Bydlowski’s award-winning film Bullies shares the story of a young boy who is bullied at school; the director’s own experiences inspired the film. It screens at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Near West Theatre and at 11:35 a.m. on Sunday at Tower City Cinemas. Director Daniel Bydlowski will attend the festival.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmares on Elm Street tells the story of Mark Patton, the young gay star of the horror classic Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. It screens at 9:40 p.m. on Friday, April 5, and at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, at Tower City Cinemas.

Netflix has just added a late addition of the movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Director Joe Berlinger will be on hand to introduce the film at the 9:25 p.m. screening on Saturday, April 6. He’ll also participate in a post-screening Q&A. The movie screens again at 6:55 p.m. on Sunday, April 7. Both screenings take place at Tower City Cinemas.

The festival will also feature a variety of shorts programs; consult the website for a complete list. If you just want to see the best of the shorts, head to the Shorts Jury Awards program that takes place at 11:40 a.m. on Sunday, April 7, or the Audience Awards shorts program that takes place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7. Both screenings take place at Tower City Cinemas.

At 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, the festival will close with The Public, a film written and directed by Emilio Estevez. Estevez also stars in the film, which boasts an ensemble cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Gabrielle Union, Taylor Schilling, Jacob Vargas, Michael Kenneth Williams and Jeffrey Wright. That screening will take place at Tower City Cinemas. The Closing Night Ceremony (dessert reception and awards presentation) will happen at Tower City Center Grand Staircase after the screening.

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