Cleveland International Film Festival } March 27 – April 7, 2019 } Tower City Cinemas


The CIFF is thrilled to announce the second year of its CIFF² (“CIFF-squared”) program – Cleveland International Film Festival’s: Connecting & Illuminating Future Filmmakers. The program with the big name is doing big things for young filmmakers in the community.

CIFF² connects local female and non-binary students of color in grades 9 - 12 with a select group of women of color filmmakers who have directed films in the Festival. The program is designed to provide an environment that addresses subjects of identity, equality, and perseverance in the filmmaking community, while also showcasing the work of underrepresented filmmakers. The students have the opportunity to attend select screenings, engage in meaningful dialogue with the filmmakers, and experience the Festival from a filmmaker's point of view.

Participating students will produce short films chronicling their time spent in the CIFF² program, which will ultimately be available for viewing here, on the CIFF website, after the Festival. The CIFF is very proud to continue having a formative influence on future filmmakers. 

CIFF41 CIFF² Program

CIFF42 CIFF² Filmmakers

Priscilla Galvez

Priscilla Galvez

Film: The Drop In

Priscilla Galvez is a Toronto-based producer and director. She is the producer and co-director of the ongoing CBC digital documentary series “Art Kids,” profiling young artists across Canada. Up next, she will produce the Independent Production Fund supported web series “Off Kilter,” created by Alejandro Alvarez Cadilla and co-written by Amy Cunningham, to be released for CBC in May 2018. Priscilla has worked on television series and feature films for BET, Syfy Channel, and Netflix as Associate Producer for Blue Ice Pictures. She is currently in development on the feature film version of THE DROP IN.

Joenique C. Rose

Joenique C. Rose

Film: Emergency

Originally from Central Florida, Joenique C. Rose attended USC where she earned a Master of Education in Post-Secondary Administration and Student Affairs in 2010. She completed several programs, including a Certificate for Writing for Television, from UCLA. After making her short, “Keys,” she enrolled at the AFI Conservatory as a Producing Fellow. She is a recent alum of Film Independent‘s Project Involve Fellowship where she produced the short, EMERGENCY, which has won the Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Best Narrative Short at the Bend Film Festival, and the Harness Social Impact Award at the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival.

Mariama Diallo

Mariama Diallo

Film: Hair Wolf

Mariama Diallo is a Senegalese-American filmmaker based in Brooklyn. In collaboration with director Frances Bodomo, Mariama co-wrote "Everybody Dies!" as part of the omnibus feature "Collective:Unconscious" (CIFF40). Her short, "Sketch," won the Fox Inclusion Emerging Artist Award at the 2017 BlackStar Film Festival. Her latest short, "Hair Wolf," premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Short Film Jury Award: US Fiction. Mariama recently completed work as a staff writer and director for Terence Nance's upcoming HBO series, "Random Acts of Flyness."

Thembi Banks

Thembi Banks

Film: Suitable

Born in Harlem, New York, Thembi Banks recently received her MFA from USC's Film & TV Production program, where she produced the award winning short film, “Present Trauma.” Her writing credits include “Only Light,” a USC advanced project that sheds light on the epidemic of human trafficking. To date, the film has been an official selection in over a dozen festivals and won the audience and social impact awards at The One Lens Film Festival, as well as the best screenplay award in the LA Shorts Fest. She is a 2017 Film Independent Project Involve Fellow and is currently staffed on the second season of Showtime's half-hour comedy, “SMILF.”

Ria Tobaccowala

Ria Tobaccowala

Film: Life After

Ria Tobaccowala is an Indian-American filmmaker from Chicago. She is currently pursuing an MFA from NYU‘s Tisch School of the Arts and an MBA from the Stern School of Business. She is a grant recipient of the New Hollywood Emerging Voices program. Before graduate school, she began her career at Google. With a passion for storytelling and technology, she led the development of social web experiences and innovations with content partners such as The New York Times, ESPN, Fox, NBC, and Sony. She produced the 2015 YouTube interview with President Obama and received her bachelor's degree from Harvard University.

Christine T. Berg

Christine T. Berg

Writer/Director Christine T. Berg was born in Bangkok, Thailand, raised as an army brat in Germany, and served eight years as a Russian linguist and Blackhawk helicopter crewmember in the American Army. She holds an MFA in Film and Television Production from USC. She developed her current film, WONDER BUFFALO, with her partner, Simon Shterenberg, at the Writers Guild Foundation Veterans Writing Program. She was granted the 2016 Innovative Technology Award from the Entertainment Technology Center at USC to make an additional VR project. WONDER BUFFALO: THE VR EXPERIENCE can be viewed at CIFF‘s interactive exhibition Perspectives.


Presented with generous support from:

Cleveland Foundation

CIFF² Application Process

Student applications for the CIFF42 CIFF² program are now closed. Applications will reopen for CIFF43 in Fall 2018, and instructions on how to apply will be listed here, on the CIFF website.

CIFF² Application Requirements:

  • Applicants should be currently enrolled in a northeast Ohio school, between the grades of 9-12.
  • Applicants should identify as a female or non-binary person of color.
  • Applicants should be able to provide one reference (adult, non-relative).
  • Applicants should have an interest in filmmaking.
  • Some basic knowledge of video production and/or video editing is a plus.
  • Application involves a short personal video submission (more details to follow in application).
  • Should you be accepted into the program, your time commitment will involve the following:
    • One informational session leading up to the Festival
    • Various film screenings and scheduled interviews during the actual Festival dates
    • Video editing time both during the Festival dates and shortly after
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