Cleveland International Film Festival } March 29 – April 9, 2017 Presented by Dollar Bank

Suffering from Technology Burnout? Get Back to Basics with 'California Typewriter'

March 29, 2017   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers


It hit filmmaker Doug Nichol hard—he had to have an Underwood 5 typewriter. The No. 5 was manufactured in the early 1900s and was “the quintessential Underwood,” according to typewriter aficionados. He found one on eBay for $6, paid $50 for shipping, and displayed it in his office as art.

The machine “didn’t work,” Nichols says, but he “felt it calling to me to fix it up.” After googling typewriter shops, he found only one in the San Francisco area – California Typewriter in Berkeley.

Nichol, who spent years directing commercials and music videos, thought the story about this family trying to keep a typewriter shop alive in the digital age would make a great short film.

These guys loved typewriters and thought they “were going to stick around and make a comeback.”

Tonight’s Opening Night feature, “California Typewriter,” started out as a 5-minute short. Somehow the mini-film got in front of Oscar-Winning Actor Tom Hanks, an avid typewriter collector who owns 270 of the machines. Hanks liked the film and agreed to be interviewed.

“What I loved about making this film, was that I had total freedom,” Nichol continues. He followed the stories and where they led him, and spent five years directing, photographing, and editing it all himself. In fact, completing it was an obsession: He gave up making commercials and spent the last three years “just editing and shooting and crafting it into shape.”

Yes, he still has that Underwood 5, and he’s also managed to amass another 85 typewriters during the making of his film.

“Even with all the mistakes and the x’d out words … they are like little pieces of art, beautiful with their imperfections.”

Nichol is honored to be in Cleveland as CIFF 41’s Opening Night film. He also notes that the city has “a special connection with our film.”

Both Hanks and Grammy-Winning Musician John Mayer, who is also in the film, discovered their love of typewriters right here in Cleveland. Hanks bought his first quality typewriter (a Hermes 2000) at a typewriter shop in town when he was performing with the Great Lakes Theater company. Mayer decided to get a typewriter after visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and seeing original typed song lyrics on display.

Just like those fans of the typewritten word in his film, Nichol hopes the audience will find “a re-discovery of the pleasures of the tactile world after touching glass and staring at screens.”

Anne M. DiTeodoro

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Related Screenings:

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Poster Passion: Cleveland Native Crazy for Movie Art

March 29, 2017   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers


Film buffs don’t typically focus on movie posters. We talk about the cinematography, the acting, maybe the special effects, but probably not the poster.

“24 x 36: A Movie About Movie Posters” is a documentary film that tracks the rise, decline, and underground resurgence of the art of movie posters.

So why movie posters?

From since he was a child, Cleveland native and subject of the film, Matthew Chojnacki, loved film and the art behind the posters.

“I have been collecting theatrical movie posters since I was a kid,” he says. “I begged a local VHS (and Betamax!) store owner for his extras. The store was called In Home Video, and videos were rented in his actual basement.”

Director Kevin Burke had a similar experience. “Movie poster art was something I, like many others, collected as a kid,” he says. “Video stores and cinemas were a very big part of our world, and those posters sold us new worlds to explore.”

Today, before taking the plunge to see a new movie, most of us find the trailer on YouTube and decide from there.

Theatrical posters, says Chojnacki, “shifted from true pieces of art (think ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Blazing Saddles’) to photoshopped headshots of Tom Cruise, Will Smith, and the like.”

But old-school movie posters are hot again. Independent artists and art galleries have recently picked up on the craze and again are selling limited edition screenprinted posters.

Chojnacki has written a book series about this topic, Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground, which explores the medium and underground phenomenon of the coveted and unique movie posters. The mainstream industry, however, is a different monster. “Often a poster is dictated by mainstream actors’ contracts, where they have final approval of their likeness (read: super airbrushed) and of a certain size (read: a HUGE head shot),” he says.

Chojnacki and other artistic experts will expound on how the industry has changed, and where it just might be going, in “24 x 36.”

Incidentally, back in November, the film’s poster won the Best Poster award at Toronto’s Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival.

Molly Drake

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Related Screenings:
03/30/17 @ 9:30 PM – 24x36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS
04/07/17 @ 9:50 PM – 24x36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS
04/09/17 @ 4:45 PM – 24x36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS

Related Events:
03/30/17 @ 9:00 AM – 41st CIFF College Program

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Shine On!

March 29, 2017   |   posted by Lara Klaber in The Daily


It is no coincidence that even the print materials from this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival have a certain festive sheen to them.

That is accomplished by using a reticulating varnish on the program guide cover and other materials.

“This technique puts a nice shine on the artwork by dulling back the background,” explains Brittyn DeWerth, whose company, Type Twenty Seven, has been creating the festival’s image campaign since CIFF 37.

The process “allows the cover to ‘illuminate’ and shine when the light hits—glistening off the page,” she continues.

Type Twenty Seven designed all of CIFF’s print material, merchandise, and signage—over 2,800 pieces. ­

Anne M. DiTeodoro

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