January 14, 2014

38th Cleveland International Film Festival Goes All Digital for 2014

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland International Film Festival is going digital.

On the eve of the 38th CIFF in March, the festival is converting nine theaters at Tower City Cinemas to digital projection equipment. The switchover was made possible thanks to a $500,000 loan from the George Gund Foundation, CIFF Executive Director Marcie Goodman said on Tuesday.

“We are extremely grateful and I want to emphasize that this is a loan,” said Goodman, who added that the upgrade will include new sound systems and new screens. She said she expected it would take about “two festival cycles to make up the money.”

There are 11 theaters at Tower City, which is run by Cleveland Cinemas. The CIFF uses 10 each year for the festival (the 11th, which is not accessible to the physically challenged, is used for volunteers and storage). One theater had already been converted, so this project will involve upgrading nine theaters.

Goodman said one more document needs to be signed to make it official, and that the work should begin by the end of the month and will be ready in time for this year’s 38th CIFF, which runs March 19-30.

The majority of the movies the festival shows come from digital sources, as film prints continue to die out. Leasing projection equipment each year was fast becoming cost prohibitive.

“It’s the only way we could stay downtown,” said Goodman.” She added that the festival’s main objectives were to remain under one roof, remain in downtown Cleveland, and to remain in a movie theater setting.

“It’s where we want to be and where we need to be,” she said.

Author: Clint O'Connor, The Plain Dealer
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