Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

The Cooler Bandits


Year: 2013
Country: USA
Run Time: 112 minutes

The Cooler Bandits
The Cooler Bandits
The Cooler Bandits
The Cooler Bandits

In 1991 a group of four African-American teens committed a series of robberies at restaurants in Akron, Ohio. Coming from bleak neighborhoods hit hard by poverty and the effects of the 80s crack epidemic, these young men made poor decisions that led to enormous consequences. Armed and sporting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles masks, they forced employees into walk-in coolers before making off with the cash. They were eventually caught and, despite the fact that they never killed or injured anyone, were sentenced to shockingly long prison sentences. Frankie Porter got up to 528 years, while Richard “Poochie” Roderick and Charlie Kelly each received 68-159 years. Donovan Harris was given the lightest sentence of 16-50 years, mainly because he was the only one who could afford a lawyer. While no one disputes their guilt, many wonder if the punishment fit the crime. THE COOLER BANDITS follows Roderick and Kelly as they finally near freedom after 20 trying years of incarceration. This affecting documentary captures their reintegration into a world that is now completely foreign to them. —E.F.

CIFF38 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Friday, March 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Akron-Summit County Public Library

Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Pan-African Images

Documentary Features
Recommended for High School +

Local Heroes Competition

Related Daily Postings
How long is long enough?

John Lucas, Alicia Robbins, Richard Roderick

Jason Pollard

John Lucas

John Lucas is a filmmaker from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He has worked as a documentary photographer for over 20 years and is represented by OK Harris Works of Art in New York City. Lucas currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


John Lucas, Sam Pollard, Claudia Rankine, Julie Janata, Tracy Biga MacLean, Duncan MacLean

Executive Producer
Allison Coudert

Print Source

Community Partners

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

Media Partners

Akron Life Magazine

Call & Post

Questions? >


Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today