This Just In: Cleveland International Film Festival Announces Program Highlights

Edited by John O’Brien 

CIFF Announces Program Highlights
Program Announcement: Friday, March 8th at 11:00 AM ET
CIFF Members-only Ticket Sales: Friday, March 15th at 11:00 AM ET
Public Ticket Sales: Friday, March 22nd at 11:00 AM ET


CIFF48 will kick off its in-person, 11-day run at Playhouse Square on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at 7:00 pm with THELMA – a celebration and playful subversion of the action genre as well as a soulful exploration of aging and autonomy.
THELMA is a captivating film about 93-year-old Thelma Post, who embarks on a mission across Los Angeles with her old friend Ben to confront scammers who tricked her out of $10,000. Directed and written by Josh Margolin, the film stars June Squibb in her first leading role alongside a talented cast, including Fred Hechinger, Richard Roundtree, Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, and Malcolm McDowell. It is notably Richard Roundtree’s final screen performance, with the film dedicated to his memory. 
Tickets to Opening Night at Playhouse Square are $100 per person ($80 for CIFF members). The evening includes the 7:00 PM screening of the film in the Connor Palace, as well as a post-film reception in the KeyBank State Theatre Lobby, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. 
The 48th Cleveland International Film Festival Opening Night is sponsored by Dollar Bank.
On Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 7:30 pm, CIFF48 will present its Closing Night Film DEVO.
Directed by Chris Smith, the film explores the 50-year career of the iconic band Devo, featuring never-before-seen archival interviews with members Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Mothersbaugh, and Jerry Casale. The documentary highlights the band’s journey from their beginnings at Kent State University to their peak in the 1980s as pioneers of the music video era on MTV, capturing their radical spirit and unforgettable performances. 
Tickets to Closing Night at Playhouse Square are $18 ($16 for CIFF Members), and all attendees are invited to the Closing Night Awards Ceremony in the Connor Palace, following the screening. 
The 48th Cleveland International Film Festival Closing Night is sponsored by Case Western Reserve University.
Devo pic
CIFF’s Groundbreaker Award and Program – now in its fourth year – focuses on educational efforts about structural racism and elevates and supports BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) filmmakers. This year’s Groundbreaker Program will include a number of feature and short films.The Groundbreaker Award is presented to a pioneering filmmaker whose work has proven to lift up marginalized voices. This recognition comes with a $5,000 cash award to support the filmmaker’s future work.
The Festival is honored to present its Groundbreaker Award to Set Hernandez, director of the CIFF48 film UNSEEN.
Set Hernandez (they/she/he) is a filmmaker and community organizer whose roots come from Bicol, Philippines. As a queer, undocumented immigrant, they dedicate their filmmaking to expand the portrayal of their community on screen. Set’s feature documentary debut, UNSEEN, had its World Premiere at Hot Docs 2023. Set is also developing a TV comedy pilot and a feature-length screenplay and is an alumnus of the Disruptors Fellowship. Since 2010, Set has actively worked on migrant justice issues, including deportation defense and healthcare access. They co-founded the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective to promote equity for undocumented immigrants in the film industry. Set’s work has received support from notable organizations such as the Sundance Institute and NBC Universal. Previously, Set was a linguistics researcher with a focus on bilingualism. Overall, Set attributes their success to the support of their family and community.
UNSEEN, screening at CIFF48 on Friday, April 5th at 2:25 pm and Saturday, April 6th at 5:00 pm, tells the story of Pedro, a blind, undocumented immigrant aspiring to be a social worker. The film explores the intersections of immigration, disability, and mental health through experimental cinematography and sound. 
The 48th Cleveland International Groundbreaker Program and Award is sponsored by Stephanie and Bruce Hearey.
RC Sanford
R.C. Sanford
Each year, CIFF commissions a local artist to create the Festival’s coveted Filmmaker Award, which is a testament to the talent in the Ohio arts community. 
This year, CIFF is delighted to announce that the Award Artist is R.C. Sanford of Sankora Studios. R.C. is a skilled woodworker with a passion for art, glass, architecture, and nature. He began his career in Colorado and, after years of custom woodworking across the U.S., returned to Ohio to focus on his illuminated designs. Along with his wife, Trisha Sikora, R.C. designs and creates lamps and window decor, exhibiting at top art festivals. Check out more of R.C.’s work here
“Combining wood and art glass requires attention to detail at every step, from the selection of locally sourced hardwoods to the milling and finishing of the piece. The filmmakers selected by the 48th Cleveland International Film Festival produce the highest quality and most evocative films of the time. I am honored to have been chosen to create the Filmmaker Award, and aim to provide the highest quality craftsmanship to reflect their excellence,” said R.C. in his Artist Statement. 
Filmmaker Awards will be presented throughout the Festival and as part of the Closing Night Ceremony, taking place Saturday, April 13, 2024 
We’re kicking off the CIFF48 Challenge Match at our Get Shorty event this Friday, February 23rd at 7:00 PM. Our Annual Campaign has a goal of $100,000! 
Anyone who donates $10 or more will be automatically entered to win a basket of CIFF gifts, which will include CIFF48 Opening Night Tickets, CIFF merch, boxes of theatre candy, and much more!! 
We hope to see you Friday! 
Win a basket


Join us and our friends at the Cleveland Institute of Art for a very special screening of Orson Welles’ F FOR FAKE, the first feature film ever shown at CIFF. This event will take place this Sunday, February 25th, at 3:30 PM at the Cleveland Institute of Art: Cinematheque, located at 11610 Euclid Avenue.
Following the 3:30 pm screening, Jonathan Forman, the founder of CIFF and a key figure in Greater Cleveland’s art-film scene, will engage in a Q&A session about the film and his remarkable career. Moderated by John Ewing, this discussion offers a unique opportunity to hear from Forman as he reflects on his journey in the world of cinema.F FOR FAKE is a captivating exploration of deception and authenticity, featuring masterful performances and a narrative delving into art forgery and hoaxes. It’s a testament to Welles’ genius and a fitting tribute to Forman’s legacy.Tickets are $13, with discounts available for CIA members, CIA/CSU ID holders aged 25 and under at $10. Please note that no passes or twofers will be accepted for this screening.Don’t miss this chance to meet a local legend (but we’re a little biased 😉) and enjoy a classic film that has left an indelible mark on the history of the Cleveland International Film Festival. Check out the trailer here and secure your tickets for an unforgettable afternoon.
Volunteers needed
You’re Invited to join the CIFF48 Volunteer Team! We are looking for active, outgoing people 18 years of age or older with a passion for the arts who want to give back through service by volunteering for CIFF48 (April 3-13, 2024) at Playhouse Square. CIFF volunteers fill a variety of roles from helping out at the admin office pre-Festival to distributing and collecting ballots, counting attendees, scanning tickets and passes, monitoring the digital voting kiosks, and assisting attendees with wayfinding during the Festival. There are also more specialized roles such as hospitality volunteers who help out in the Passholder Lounge and language greeters who are fluent in another language who volunteer during foreign language FilmSlam student screenings. We’ve got something for everyone!All CIFF48 volunteers are required to attend one of the five Volunteer Orientations in February. Volunteers are asked to commit to three separate four-hour shifts during the CIFF48 Festival cycle (February-April 2024). While volunteers do not watch films while volunteering, they will be given two free CIFF48 vouchers at the end of every shift! Free parking will be available at the US Bank Garage! Bring a friend, refer a friend, come solo, just come on and become a CIFF volunteer!Click the button below to register! We’d love to welcome you to the CIFF48 Team! Email any questions to the CIFF48 Volunteer Manager, Teresa Sroka ([email protected])
Your thoughts matter to us, and we’re excited to introduce our new monthly poll! It’s a quick and fun way for CIFF to learn more about our audience and tailor our content to better suit your interests. 
Support CIFF
Please consider supporting CIFF by making a tax-deductible donation. Your support helps to ensure we can continue to bring the best and brightest in independent film to Cleveland each year. Thank you! 
contact info

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Click on icons below to share articles to social.

Recent issues

E-Bulletin Signup

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive news and event emails from: iIrish. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
New to Cleveland Ad

Explore other topics