CIFF is, without a doubt, my most favoritest thing about Cleveland in the spring. Nothing else even comes close. Held at Tower City Cinemas, it is ten days of movies, movies, movies. Foreign films. Independent films. Documentaries. Shorts. You name it, they have it. There really is something for everyone. This year I was asked to be on the Shorts Selection Committee, so between, oh, August and January I spent my weekends screening entries and giving comments on what should (or should) not be admitted in my not-so-humble opinion. I've been attending since 1998, but there were a few years missed here and there, so this will be my tenth CIFF, so the fact that I was on the selection committee this year seems rather serendipitous.
Going through the list of films this year, a short that I screened and loved has made it into each of the Shorts Programs. See, there are the Late Night Shorts (horror), 10% Shorts (GLBT-themed), Family Shorts (self explanatory), Hollywood Shorts (not quite so independent), Ohio Shorts (again, self explanatory), Short Take On History (with a historical bend), and just the Independent Short category. And it's not like there is just one program for each. Like, there are two Ohio Short Programs, four Late Night, and eleven Independent. While some films can cross over between programs, each program in the same category are totally different. And a short that I adored is represented in each category, which makes me a very, very happy screener indeed. And if those are just the variety of shorts they have, imagine the range of feature films available.
I'm also a volunteer, both at the actual festival and in their offices in Ohio City. Just last weekendI went into the office to volunteer for the first time since the summer and I cannot even tell you how excited I was. I really had missed the office and the employees. As you can imagine, they get pretty busy in the weeks leading up to the festival, so hopefully I'll be back to help soon. And, then, of course, I'll be volunteering at the actual festival a few times.
Because I was on the Screening Committee, I get a pass which means -- yay! -- no need for tickets! (All vouchers I get from volunteering will go to friends, because I'm awesome like that.) So if there's a movie I want to go see, I can pretty much just walk right on in. Anyone who has attended the festival and had to deal with Stand-by can appreciate the magical power my pass will provide.
One film that I am so freaking excited to see is Shuffle (and not just because it's starring the cute TJ Thyne from Bones). See, maybe two months ago I watched this documentary Dear Zachary on Netflix Instant and was completely and utterly blown away. And I'm someone who watches a ton of docs, so it takes a lot to really get to me. But Dear Zachary was so amazing, I started looking up the director's, Kurt Kuenne, other films which is how I not only found out about Shuffle but that most of his other films have been at CIFF in the past.
Well. Being the utter geek that I am, I found the email address on the Shuffle website and emailed Kurt (true story). Not only did I email him, gushing about Dear Zachary, I told him that I noticed his other films had been at CIFF and hoped he had submitted Shuffle as I'd love to see it. Apparently my geekiness was endearing enough for him to write back. And apparently CIFF is in agreement about his awesomeness, because they are giving him the Director's Spotlight honor and doing retrospective of his previous work. The best part, though, is Kurt told me he's going to be at this year's festival, so not only will I get to see his new movie, I'll get to meet him, too.
So. It's March 1st. I have looked through the online film guide. I've made my list of films I want to see. I'm planning a Day O' Doc(umentarie)s with my friend Staci. I've drafted a tentative film festival schedule (dependent on when I volunteer).
Now I just have to impatiently wait for the next three weeks.
Love from the ashes,