The Reel Experience at the 29th Cleveland International Film Festival

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Tue, 03/15/2005 - 02:20.

Tower City and Tower City Cinemas are often empty and eerily
quiet, even on a Saturday night, but that all changes during the Cleveland
International Film Festival. This past Saturday night the 29th
Cleveland International Film Festival transformed Tower City and its
surrounding areas into an energy infused cultural event that felt distinctly
unfamiliar and un-Cleveland like. A diverse group of thousands of people,
flowed through the building excitedly talking about the films they had seen or
planned to see.

Film festival staff and
volunteers were friendly and helpful manning tables for ticket sales and
parking validation, directing traffic and distributing ballots. I can’t think
of another event where patrons were made to feel so welcome and appreciated.
Yes, there is even free parking, a benefit Clevelanders seem to especially
appreciate.

The Film Festival guide can be overwhelming with its reviews
of over 100 feature length films and 80 shorts from more than 40 countries. I
found it easier to limit my choices by first choosing a day and time when I
could attend.

The Film Festival has a great website - http://www.clevelandfilm.org -
where anyone can buy tickets, become a Cleveland Film Society Member and
receive a discount on tickets, check additions and changes to the schedule, read
reviews of films and even email reviews to friends.

The Cleveland International
Film Festival doesn’t attract as many celebrities as the larger more well known
film festivals such as Toronto and Sundance, though in other ways it has the
feel of larger more well known film festivals.

The Cleveland International Film
Festivals economic impact on the city is easy to appreciate just driving in to
Tower City. Each year the Film Festival seems to get bigger, better and more
efficient, yet without loosing any of its charm and energy.