The Cleveland International Film Festival has several competitions where filmmakers compete to win prizes up to $10,000. Winners are announced at the Closing Night Reception.

Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film

Roxanne T. Mueller served as the film critic at The Plain Dealer from 1983 until 1988 when she lost a six-month battle with cancer at the age of 36. Mueller was a strong supporter of the Festival and, through her writing, helped to raise the general level of film appreciation in Cleveland. She was an exceptionally engaging writer who managed to weave personal insights into her film reviews, whether she was covering popular Hollywood fare or sophisticated foreign cinema. In its 12th year, the CIFF established the Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film to help bring this important Festival friend back into focus a bit each year. Festival patrons rate each film they see and the most popular film is announced at our Closing Night Reception. The Callahan Foundation, started in 1968 by Cleveland nuclear engineer, inventor, and businessman Joe Callahan, joins us in celebrating the 27th year of this renowned award with a $5,000 cash prize to the winner.

George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern European Film Competition

George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern European Film Competition

Over two decades ago, the Cleveland International Film Festival launched a special focus on films from Central and Eastern Europe, the native lands of many Clevelanders. When we began our series, the world was a very different place: the Berlin Wall was still standing, the U.S.S.R. was still one country, and the Cold War was chilling out. Throughout these past two decades, the films from Central and Eastern Europe have changed dramatically due to filmmakers exerting their rights to make films without government involvement and censorship. We now see films from a plethora of genres, including colorful comedies, slice of-life sketches, and unusual love stories. The results provide us with a rare and unique look inside the lives of the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.

One thing that has remained the same for the past 22 years is our commitment to bringing some of the most soughtafter films from this area of the world to Cleveland. This year the CIFF is proud to present its 10th Central and Eastern European Film Competition. This competition not only gives recognition to the films coming to us from Central and Eastern Europe, but it also awards one filmmaker a $10,000 cash prize that will be announced at the Closing Night Reception. {view films}

Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition

Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition

The CIFF is excited to present the tenth Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Film Competition. In 2005, after CIFF atten- dees voted documentaries as the winners of its audience choice award three years in a row, we decided to highlight these films since they hold such enormous interest for our audience.

Nesnadny + Schwartz (www.BigFatIdeas.com) is a preeminent international visual communications consultancy committed to providing clients what they least expect. Nesnadny + Schwartz is very proud to continue their support of the Cleveland International Film Festival and to sponsor a program that has such social, artistic, and popular appeal.

Documentaries in competition that are screening in the Festival will be viewed by our panel of jurors throughout the week, and the winner will be announced at the Closing Night Reception. In addition to continuing this honorable competition, we are pleased to announce an increase in its awarded cash prize to $7,500. {view films}

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition

Our Standing Up Competition is a tribute to Greg Gund. Greg’s friends and family described him as “intensely creative and talented, and wholly without pretension.” For five years Greg lived in Playa Negro near Tamarindo, Costa Rica where he immersed himself by becoming part of the local community. As much as he deeply loved his home there, Greg was also an extensive world traveler with an adventurous spirit and an insatiable curiosity about different cultures and people. He lived by this Mahatma Gandhi quote inscribed in his passport: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Greg died at the age of 32 in a small plane crash off the Pacific Coast on July 16, 2005.

Our Standing Up program includes “films with a conscience.” Standing Up started as a sidebar to focus on films with the mission to change the world and grew into a celebration of activism, the fight for social justice, and the battle to heal the earth. Many of these films have highlighted personal stories featuring individuals who set out to teach lessons on how to live a better life. One of the aspects all these films shared is the impact they made on viewers long after the credits rolled. Through the films, Standing Up honors Greg Gund—as well as others with a different view of the world—and the continual fight to make it better.

In 2005 The George Gund Foundation granted the CIFF with an endowment to create the Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition. Since its inception, it has grown into our largest and most popular competition.

Based on audience vote, the winner of this competition will be announced at our Closing Night reception and receive a $5,000 cash prize. {view films}

Global Health Competition

Global Health Competition

Cleveland is proud to be home to some of the best medical and health facilities in the world. With last year’s opening of the Global Center for Health Innovation, Cleveland took another step to cement its reputation as a leading city for health. And now in 2014 the CIFF is joining in by adding our new Global Health Competition.

The CIFF has always recognized the power of film to change people’s viewpoints about the world. This new competition includes films that delve into human health-related issues (both mental and physical) and films about the health of the environment. The films in this competition will introduce and educate our audience to an entire array of health-related issues and encourage us to question the true definition of health as it pertains to individuals and the entire planet.

Based on audience vote, the winner of this competition will be announced at our Closing Night reception and receive a $5,000 cash prize. {view films}

American Independents Competition

American Independents Competition

With big dreams and small budgets, these films represent the finest in contemporary American cinema. Based on audience vote, this year's competition will yield an increased cash prize of $5,000 to the winner announced at the Closing Night Reception.

The American Independents award is presented with the generous support of ALAN and MARTA GLAZEN.

{view films}

Local Heroes Competition

Local Heroes Competition

Our annual celebration has now become one of our newest competitions, highlighting films made about Ohio, in Ohio, or by Ohioans. We are honored to support these films and filmmakers, hoping to empower the already booming independent film community of Cleveland and Ohio alike. Based on audience vote, this year's competition will yield a $5,000 cash prize winner announced at the Closing Night Reception.

The Local Heroes award is presented with the generous suport of MIKE and NICKI CANCELLIERE.

Local Heroes films are sponsored by Cleveland State University. {view films}

Music Movies Competition

Music Movies Competition

At the 30th CIFF we launched our Music Movies Sidebar, which has since grown into a grouping of some of our most popular films each Festival. This year we've decided to showcase these films even more and bring to the CIFF our first ever Music Movies Competition. Comprised of documentaries and narratives, this competition is based on audience vote and rewards the winner with a $5,000 cash prize, which will be announced at the Closing Night Reception. Let these funky films be music to your ears—and eyes! {view films}

ReelWomenDirect Award for Excellence in Directing by a Woman

ReelWomenDirect Award for Excellence in Directing by a Woman

We are thrilled to once again celebrate female filmmakers at the Cleveland International Film Festival. The ReelWomenDirect Award (www.reelwomendirect.org), based on audience vote, will be presented to a woman director at our Closing Night Reception, accompanied by a $7,500 cash prize. In an industry historically dominated by men, we are honored to showcase these women filmmakers and the empowered female perspectives they provide within their films. {view films}

Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film

sponsored by Howard Hanna

Best Live Action Short Film Award

sponsored by Anne Bloomberg and Alan Gordon Lipson & Judy Harris

Best Animated Short Film Award

sponsored by Reminger Co., L.P.A.

This award winner will quality for consideration in the Shorts Films category of the annual Academy Awards.

Best Documentary Short Film Award

sponsored by Jules and Fran Belkin

Best International Short Film Award

sponsored by MP Star Financial, Inc.

Best Student Short Film Award

sponsored by MP Star Financial, Inc.

Best Women's Short Film Award

sponsored by Jinny and John Johnson

Best LGBT Short Film

sponsored by Jan and Harold Babbit

Best Ohio Short Film Award

sponsored by Wayside Furniture

The Clover and Maggie Award

sponsored by Barbara Hawley and David Goodman

The Spalding and Jackson Award

sponsored by Marcie Goodman

Shorts Jury Awards Program

Independent Shorts Programs will be viewed by our panel of jurors throughout the Festival. Three jurors select winners of the awards listed below. The ten winners will be announced at the Independent Shorts Jury Awards Program on Sunday, March 30, when the shorts are screened and the filmmakers are recognized during this special program. Each award is accompanied with a $1,000 cash prize.

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38th CIFF Award Winners >

38th CIFF Award Winners

Look through the complete list of award winners from the 38th CIFF!

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