The Cleveland International Film Festival is thrilled to be the only 2011 recipient of a multiyear grant from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ®. Thanks to the generosity of The Academy ®, we are receiving a total of $150,000 over a three-year period to introduce and develop our Focus on Filmmakers program. Designed to showcase minority and less visible filmmakers, Focus on Filmmakers increases the screening access of these filmmakers, while simultaneously making the Cleveland International Film Festival more accessible to under-served segments of the population. This year Focus on Filmmakers will emphasize films and filmmakers from the LGBT community, featuring those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences®

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences® Presents

Focus on Filmmakers - LGBT

This year Focus on Filmmakers will emphasize films and filmmakers from the LGBT community, featuring those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

CIFF patrons were early and enthusiastic supporters of LGBT films. While 10% Cinema has been a prominent and popular component of our Festival for a long period of time, the CIFF is proud to showcase this Focus on LGBT Filmmakers during the same year that Gay Games 9 will take place in Cleveland and Akron. With the continued expansion of LGBT perspectives in the media, we have brought to Cleveland a diverse collection of films that exist under the commercial radar and address subjects of identity, equality, and civil rights. Through this program we hope to significantly strengthen our commitment to bring to Cleveland an increased number of the most sought after films and filmmakers from varying populations, while deepening our involvement in these communities and igniting meaningful dialogue and interaction. We look forward to presenting this program and inviting marginalized filmmakers to Cleveland for years to come, and we are profoundly grateful to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ® for helping us do so.

Anna Margarita Albelo

Director and Producer

Anna Margarita Albelo

Anna Margarita Albelo is a Cuban-American filmmaker, journalist, and cultural activist. Her work, shown in over 45 international film festivals (including Cannes, Tribeca, and Outfest), blends narrative, documentary, and comedic elements into a unique story-telling style that has become her trademark. She has won numerous awards for her films, including the Audience Award at the 2013 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival for her first feature film, WHO'S AFRAID OF VAGINA WOLF?

Films:
Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf? (USA/FRANCE, 2013)

Alan Brown

Director and Writer

Alan Brown

New York resident Alan Brown is the recipient of many writing and directing awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright, and New York State Council for the Arts Fellowships. His 2004 film "Book of Love," which screened at the 28th CIFF, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2011 he won the Grand Jury Award at the L.A. Outfest Film Festival for "Private Romeo," which screened at the 36th CIFF and was a "Critic's Pick" of The New York Times.

Films:
Five Dances (USA, 2013)

Ben Cotner

Director, Producer, Cinematographer

Ben Cotner

Ben Cotner has served as an executive for ten years at Paramount Pictures and Open Road Films, where he most recently oversaw acquisitions and production. He has worked on such films as "An Inconvenient Truth," "American Teen," "Mad Hot Ballroom," "A Haunted House," "Side Effects," and "The Grey And End Of Watch." His newest film, THE CASE AGAINST 8, which he co-directed with Ryan White, recently won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at Sundance.

Films:
The Case Against 8 (USA, 2014)

Michelle Ehlen

Director, Producer, Writer, Editor

Michelle Ehlen

Michelle Ehlen landed her first acting role in the third grade playing a man. Since then, she graduated from The Los Angeles Film School, where she studied writing and directing. With a focus on comedy, much of her work satirizes gender, sexuality, stereotypes, and identity. She produced, wrote, directed, and acted in two award-winning feature films, "Butch Jamie" and "POP-U-larity!" Her newest film, HETEROSEXUAL JILL, premiered at the 2013 Frameline Film Festival.

Films:
Heterosexual Jill (USA, 2013)

Myriam Fougère

Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Editor

Myriam Fougère

Myriam Fougère is a multidisciplinary artist born in Quebec City, Canada. While living in New York City from 1987 to 1992, she organized the East Coast Lesbian Festival with Lin Daniels. Myriam wrote, shot, and directed a poetic documentary about breast cancer entitled "On a Moving Path," which won Best Experimental Documentary at the Baltimore Women's Film Festival in 2008. With a grant from the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quèbec, Myriam shot, directed, and edited her latest documentary LESBIANA-A PARALLEL REVOLUTION.

Films:
Lesbiana - A Parallel Revolution (CANADA, 2012)

Hilary Goldberg

Producer, Director

Hilary Goldberg

Hilary Goldberg's filmmaking began with the 2002 release of the feature documentary, "Render: Spanning Time with Ani Difranco." The recipient of multiple creative grants, her films have also screened at numerous film festivals. She co-produced, along with writer Michelle Tea, VALENCIA-a 20-filmmaker collaborative feature film adaptation of Michelle Tea's memoir of the same name. Hilary directed the Chapter 5 film segment and animated the feature's opening title sequence.

Films:
Valencia (USA, 2013)

Brenda Goodman

Director, Producer

Brenda Goodman

Brenda Goodman began her career in film and video as the media director of a race for the U.S. Senate in her home state of North Carolina. She later moved to New York City, where she served as staff producer and director for DHS Films, a media group that specialized in political media. Since then, she has directed and produced numerous television shows, music videos, and documentaries. Brenda now resides in Los Angeles where she teaches production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Films:
Sex(ED) (USA, 2014)

Catherine Gund

Director, Producer, Writer

Catherine Gund

Catherine Gund, a 29th CIFF Someone to Watch Award recipient and founder of Aubin Pictures, is an Emmy-nominated producer, director, writer, and organizer. Her media work focuses on arts and culture, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, the environment, and other social justice issues. Her films have screened around the world - in festivals, theaters, museums, and schools - as well as on PBS, Discovery's Planet Green, and the Sundance Channel. She currently serves on several boards including Art Matters, Bard Early Colleges and The George Gund Foundation. She co-founded the Third Wave Foundation, which supports young women and transgender youth ages 15-30, and DIVA TV, an affinity group of ACT UP/NY. She was the founding director of BENT TV, the video workshop for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth. She lives in NYC with her four children.

Films:
Born to Fly (USA, 2014)

Malcolm Ingram

Director, Producer, Writer

Malcolm Ingram

Toronto native Malcolm Ingram began making independent film when he met Kevin Smith, his future mentor, in 1995. His third film, "Small Town Gay Bar," premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize and the GLAAD Media Award for Best Documentary. Malcolm's next film project, "Bear Nation," premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and had a very successful run on the festival circuit. His latest, CONTINENTAL, premiered at last year's SXSW and won the SHOUT Jury Award for Best Feature Film. Malcolm loves BBQ, beer, and rainbows.

Films:
Continental (USA/CANADA/AUSTRALIA, 2013)

Chris Mason Johnson

Director, Producer, Writer, Editor

Chris Mason Johnson

Chris Mason Johnson began his career as a dancer in ballet and modern companies throughout the U.S. and Europe. Since his transition to film he has worked as Head of Development at Open City Films and has taught screenwriting and film production at Amherst College. With his first feature film, "The New Twenty," he won multiple festival awards. His newest film TEST won the Grand Jury Awards for both Screenwriting and U.S. Dramatic Feature at the 2013 Outfest Film Festival.

Films:
Test (USA, 2013)

Kirk Marcolina

Director, Producer, Editor

Kirk Marcolina

Kirk Marcolina received an M.F.A. in Film and Video Production from The University of Southern California. Director, producer, and editor of numerous television series, he was nominated for a GLAAD award for his Bravo show, "Gay Weddings." His first feature documentary, "Camp Out," co-directed with Larry Grimaldi, screened at the 30th CIFF. Kirk taught Documentary Production at California State University and was a trustee of the International Documentary Association.

Films:
The Life and Times of Doris Payne (USA, 2013)

Liz Marshall

Director, Producer, Writer

Liz Marshall

Liz Marshall is a multi-award-winning auteur filmmaker and a cross-platform creator who fuses character-driven cinematic storytelling with social and environmental justice issues. Since the 90s she has created a body of 11 documentaries shot all over the world that focus on a range of subjects from animal rights to gender rights. Her most recent documentary, THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE, won a Top Ten Audience Favourite Award at the 2013 Hot Docs Film Festival.

Films:
The Ghosts in Our Machine (CANADA, 2013)

Matthew Pond

Director and Producer

Matthew Pond

Before turning to documentary film, Matthew Pond sold beer and hotdogs in the largest mall in America, painted apartment buildings in Tel Aviv, and practiced corporate law in New York. He studied non-fiction filmmaking at NYU and USC, and received a Master's in Documentary Producing from the Australian Film Television Radio School. In addition, he was the associate producer of the award-winning gay-marriage documentary "Tying the Knot."

Films:
The Life and Times of Doris Payne (USA, 2013)

PJ Raval

Director

PJ Raval

Named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film 2006," PJ Raval is an award-winning filmmaker whose films have premiered at SXSW, Sundance, and Cannes. Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, he is an ex-scientist who turned to cinematography and directing, and won the American Society of Cinematographer's 2005 Heritage Award. This year PJ is also featured as one of our Someone to Watch award recipients, and CIFF audiences will have a chance to again see his 2008 film TRINIDAD, which won Best Documentary at the 33rd CIFF, in addition to his latest feature BEFORE YOU KNOW IT. In his spare time, PJ likes to try and take small naps and pretend he knows ballet.

Films:
Before You Know It (USA, 2013)
Trinidad, USA 2008 (USA, 2008)

Yoruba Richen

Director, Producer, Writer

Yoruba Richen

Yoruba Richen is a writer, producer, and director. In 2007 she won a Fulbright Award in filmmaking. In 2010 she received a Diverse Voices funding award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for her film "Promised Land." Her newest documentary, THE NEW BLACK, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Currently, Yoruba teaches documentary film at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and is a Guggenheim Fellow.

Films:
The New Black (USA, 2013)

Becca Roth

Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Editor

Becca Roth

Originally from Montclair, New Jersey, Becca Roth graduated from Kenyon College in 2010, where she studied film, drama, anthropology, and finding four-leaf clovers. In 2011 she made her first short film, "Rain in Summer," which went on to screen at nearly a dozen film festivals nationwide, picking up several awards along the way. Becca now lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend and two mischievous kittens, Oliver and Twist.

Films:
One: A Story of Love and Equality (USA, 2014)

Michelle Tea

Producer, Writer

Michelle Tea

Author, poet, and literary arts organizer, Michelle Tea founded RADAR Productions in 2003. In 1994 she cofounded the legendary and long-running Sister Spit all-female open mics, which tour nationally and feature emerging lesbian artists. Known for her memoirs, Michelle wrote and co-produced the collaborative film-arts project VALENCIA, adapted from one of her most famous award-winning memoirs of the same title.

Films:
Valencia (USA, 2013)

Drew Tobia

Director, Writer

Drew Tobia

Drew Tobia's films are cult favorites at underground film festivals, on the Internet, and on national and European television. His film LEPERF*** won the AUFF The Wall Award at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival in 2009, declaring it the most deranged film of that year. His films have played on MTV's Logo Network and the German television program Queerblick. His work has been called "impressively revolting" (Heidi Williams, The Oregonian), "like cinematic foie gras" (Shaula Clark, The Phoenix), and "so completely over-the-top -in a very minimalist way" (Mike Everleth, Bad Lit). Drew holds a BA in Film from Emerson College.

Films:
See You Next Tuesday (USA, 2013)

Ryan White

Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Editor

Ryan White

Ryan White, director of "Good Ol' Freda"-winner of the 37th CIFF Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film-returns to Cleveland with his new award-winning documentary, THE CASE AGAINST 8. Originally from Atlanta, he studied at Duke University before becoming a television and independent film director and producer. In addition, Ryan will be one of our Someone to Watch award recipients this year, here to share with you his first feature documentary, PELADA, which premiered at SXSW in 2010.

Films:
The Case Against 8 (USA, 2014)
Pelada (USA, 2010)

2013 Focus on Filmmakers - Latino

Participants in the 2013 Focus on Filmmakers - Latino program were: José Asunción, Arí Maniel Cruz, Michel Franco, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Jorge Hinojosa, Eduardo López, Gabriel Mariño, Carlo Guillermo Proto, Fro Rojas, and Joshua Sanchez

2012 Focus on Filmmakers - African Diaspora

Participants in the 2012 Focus on Filmmakers - African Diaspora program were: Sherien Barsoum, Jordan Coleman, Ava DuVernay, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Stephen Lloyd Jackson, Eliaichi Sadikiel Kimaro, Michael King, Victoria Mahoney, and Terence Nance

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38th CIFF Award Winners >

38th CIFF Award Winners

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