Cleveland International Film Festival } March 27 – April 7, 2019 } Tower City Cinemas
You are currently viewing the CIFF42 lineup. Programming for CIFF43 will be announced in early March 2019.

Filmmaker Panels

Reel Changes:  A Series of Interactive Discussions on the Evolving Art, Craft and Business of Filmmaking

Hosted by Cleveland State University’s School of Film and Media Arts

The newly established School of Film and Media Arts at Cleveland State University is proud to partner with the Cleveland International Film Festival to present a series of panel discussions with visiting filmmakers whose work is being screened at the festival. The panels are moderated by CSU Film and Media Arts faculty and will be held at:

Cleveland State University’s School of Film and Media Arts

Music and Communication Building / 2001 Euclid Avenue  MU 107

All panel discussions are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

For more information contact: Dr. Evan Lieberman at (216) 687-4637 or

Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Opening Shots: Becoming a Filmmaker

How do you make the transition from being someone with ideas and a desire to see them realized to a filmmaker whose work is playing in festivals and receiving wider distribution? This panel will look at some of the many paths to achieving that goal, drawing on the personal and professional experiences of festival filmmakers to examine the motivation, training, and resources necessary to accomplish this challenge. Issues to be discussed will include project development, financing, film schools, and the ways that emerging technology is putting filmmaking within closer reach of more and more aspiring writers, producers, and directors.

Moderator: Dr. Evan Lieberman


  • William Baker / Producer, ASSASSIN'S CODE
  • Jessica Copeland / Producer, LIFE HACK
  • Tiffany Bartok / Director, LARGER THAN LIFE
  • Ben Pender-Cudlip / Director, DAWNLAND

Watch on YouTube

Saturday, April 14, 2018 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM

From Idea to Image: Screenwriting and Directing

The process through which an idea is transformed first into words on a page and then into sound and pictures will be the focus of this panel examining the crafts of screenwriting and directing. The roles and responsibilities of the writer and director will be discussed along with a variety of approaches to preparation, storytelling, and developing an individual style. Elements of screenwriting such as character building, plot structure, and genre will be examined as will issues pertinent to directing like visualization, working with actors, and leading a crew. The changing opportunities for writers and directors of independent films in the digital era will also be a point of focus for the discussion.

Moderator: Professor Cigdem Slankard


  • Manuel Concha / Director, BLIND ALLEY
  • Elan Bogarin / Director, 306 HOLLYWOOD
  • David Armstrong / Director, ASSASSIN'S CODE
  • Sloan Copeland / Director, LIFE HACK

Watch on YouTube

Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Post-Production: The Final Transformation

Despite its great importance to the filmmaking process, editing, music, and post-production in general tend to receive less attention than the more visible aspects of film production. This panel will examine the ways in which post-production techniques transform the raw material of sound and picture into a finished work, and how directors and producers collaborate with editors, composers, music supervisors, sound designers, and special effects artists to create a seamless integration of all these elements. Another focus of the discussion will be the way digital technology continues to change the post-production processes, enabling low-budget films to employ techniques that were once only available to Hollywood productions.

Moderator: Professor John Ban


  • Pat Wimp / Producer, DP, Co-Writer, BERNADETTE
  • Troy Herion / Editor, Composer, 306 HOLLYWOOD
  • Jayce Bartok / Producer, LARGER THAN LIFE
  • Danny Farber / Producer, BERNADETTE

Watch on YouTube

Saturday, April 14, 2018 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Local Heroes: The Importance of Regional Filmmaking

This reprise of one of our popular panels from last year’s festival features artists either originally from or currently working in Northern Ohio. While Hollywood may be the commercial center of film production, one of the most significant aspects of the independent cinema is the way that it gives voice to more localized concerns and forms of expression. This panel will look at regional filmmaking both in terms of the opportunities it provides the filmmaker for telling stories that are outside the Hollywood model and the alternative production practices it fosters. Today with more filmmakers emerging from regional bases, and many like Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater in Austin and John Waters in Baltimore choosing to remain in their original locales while still enjoying Hollywood financing and distribution, regional filmmaking has never been more vital.

Moderator: Professor John Vourlis


  • Joel Moss Levinson / Director, BOY BAND
  • Stephen Levinson / Producer, BOY BAND
  • John Psathas / Director, BERNADETTE
  • Robert Reiland / Cinematographer, TRIPPED UP

Watch on YouTube

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