Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas

Many Languages, One Theme: Welcome!

April 07, 2019   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Festival Events

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When you have the word ‘international’ as part of your name, it goes without saying that languages and expressing the right messages are important to the CIFF.

Fusion Filmworks worked on the creative campaign for this year’s Festival. In addition to designing the artwork and producing the film trailer, this year they added translator to their list of responsibilities.

“We started out making a list of languages we thought were important to include in the trailer,” says Grace Nowak, executive producer, Fusion Filmworks. “After that we began the search for cast members.”

During the search process, they “stumbled upon a language or dialect we hadn’t anticipated,” she says.

For example, an Albanian woman introduced the creative team to a friend of hers from southern Nigeria who spoke Igbo. The Igbo word for welcome then became part of the list.

“The variety of backgrounds, languages and cultures is what really makes the ‘Welcome’ campaign genuine,” says Nowak.

With a little help from Google Translate, the languages were ultimately vetted by a translation company, along with a final proofread. Simple, right? Not so fast.

“A few of our cast members let us know that there were a number of ways to approach the concept of ‘Welcome' in their language,” Jon LaGuardia, director, Fusion Filmworks adds. “Most [languages] have a formal version that was rarely, if ever, spoken, and a casual everyday word or phrase that would be used even if it was not a direct match.

“Whether the word was able to be translated directly or not,” he says, “there was always a way to convey the concept of ‘Welcome.'”

--Anne M. DiTeodoro

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