March 30 – April 10
At Tower City
Only CIFF members can login. Join now for enhanced web features, discounts and dibs on tickets, advanced mailings and more!join
Events + Updates
March 29, 2014 | posted in Filmmakers
What would you do if you saw Elvis, Oprah, and Dr. Phil eating lunch together? “It’s certainly an odd experience,” says “Just About Famous” co-director Matt Mamula. Though these people look like their celebrity counterparts, these are just professional impersonators. Co-director Jason Kovacsev read about a celebrity impersonator convention and it struck a chord.
“I was curious about how obsessed our society must be in order to pay regular people money just because they resemble someone famous,” says Kovacsev. “The whole concept seemed bizarre.”
But, Kovacsev and Mamula attended the event with vague curiosity. “Once we got there, our own interest piqued,” Mamula says.
The world of celebrity impersonators is not one for the faint hearted. “They are a group of people who belong to a minority that don’t feel understood by the masses,” explains Kovacsev. “But they have a community of others who accept them for their differences.”
The co-directors discovered more similarities than differences between themselves and the impersonators. “You think these people are crazy, you know?” says Mamula. “But then you realize it’s a profession and they work hard.”
He continues, “The dead ringers still have to work at it. Costumes, mannerisms, hair and makeup; they get nervous too, just like the rest of us.”
Mamula and Kovacsev introduced their short film to captivated audiences in 2010. “People wanted to see more of the impersonators,” Mamula says. “As filmmakers, we wanted to bring that world on screen to see what it is all about.”
Excited about the prospect of more storytelling and filmmaking, Mamula and Kovacsev found a strong sense respect for the impersonators. They had no intention of mockery, like many press people do. “Once you give these people a chance to get to know them, they reveal how they really are just like everyone else,” says Kovacsev. “Beside the fact that complete strangers get excited about taking pictures with them.”
The surreal lives of ordinary people in “Just About Famous” will have CIFF audiences enchanted and curious if Elvis really is still alive.
If you spot an American president at the festival, look again. These people are, after all, professionals.
— Molly Drake
Download Related PDF [1.1 MB]
Check out the latest festival highlights and goings on in the print edition of The Daily.
ATTN FILMMAKERS: Our #CIFF40 earlybird deadline is coming up on Monday, August 31st. Don't miss out on more than $85K available in cash prizes and screening to the best audience in the world! Get full info on submitting your film today: http://www.clevelandfilm.org/call-for-entries
7 days ago . Link
CIFF40 :: Save the Dates
CIFF40 will take place March 30 - April 10, 2016 at Tower City Cinemas and neighborhood screening locations!
Become A CIFF Member
We have five different levels of membership to choose from, so find the one that best fits your film appetite!