April 21, 2021
CLEVELAND (Wednesday, April 21, 2021) – The 45thCleveland International Film Festival (CIFF45 Streams) has come to a close after a two-week online run, April 7 – 20, 2021, during which it showcased 117 feature films and 182 shorts films, representing 63 countries. CIFF45 Streams is proud that 46% of its films – including 49% of its feature films – were directed by female-identifying filmmakers.
The CIFF45 Streams audience cumulatively watched an astounding 2,316,784 minutes of film with an impressive 51,216 streams throughout the Festival. Based on an average of two individuals watching any given stream, this means that CIFF45 Streams had 102,432 viewers. At this year’s Festival, a stream was counted if at least 70% of the feature or short was viewed.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for our community’s support of CIFF45 Streams. And we are incredibly happy for our filmmakers, who were able to share their amazing work with so many film lovers,” said Marcie Goodman, CIFF Executive Director.
Cash prizes for the Festival’s esteemed 34 competitions and other awards totaled $114,500. Audience votes granted top honors -- the Roxanne T. Muller Audience Choice Award for Best Film, presented with support from the Callahan Foundation -- to the intimate and powerful documentary NOT GOING QUIELTY, directed by Nicholas Bruckman (USA).
Among the top honors for short films were the three films that will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards®, as determined by jury deliberation:
The Cleveland International Film Festival is one of only a few dozen film festivals in the world that are Oscar® qualifying in all three short film categories.
All of the CIFF45 Streams award winners can be found here: https://www.clevelandfilm.org/festival/festival-guide/winners
CIFF45 Streams was thrilled to present its DReam Catcher Award and Program, recognizing pioneering LGBTQ+ filmmaker – and Ohio’s own – Todd Stephens. DReam Catcher was established in 2019 to honor the life and memory of David K. Ream (1949–2017), a beloved CIFF trustee. Todd’s “Ohio Trilogy” was included in CIFF45 Streams: SWAN SONG (2021), GYPSY 83 (2001), and EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (2000).
New to the Festival was the Groundbreaker Award and Program. The Groundbreaker Program not only offers educational opportunities about structural racism, but also elevates and supports BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) filmmakers. CIFF45 Streams was honored to recognize documentarian Ashley O’Shay, director, producer, and cinematographer of CIFF45 Streams film UNAPOLOGETIC. The Groundbreaker Program was sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and Puffin Foundation West. The Groundbreaker Award was sponsored by CoverMyMeds.
In addition to the impressive slate of films, CIFF45 Streams hosted 64 Q&As and conversations, with participation from 250 filmmakers and other special guests. Pre-recorded Filmmaker Conversations were presented by PNC. Live Happy Hours were presented by Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Also of note, the Festival’s Community Engagement Program, sponsored by Strassman Insurance Services, included 142 Community Partners. These non-profits, whose missions lined up with films in the Festival, hosted and produced 34 events spotlighting the subject matter, themes, and individuals from their partnered films.
FilmSlam Streams – the online version of FilmSlam, the Festival’s longest running educational program for students in grades 5-12 – had an especially impressive run during CIFF45 Streams. The program welcomed 56,750 registrations from 160 schools spanning across 29 Ohio counties. Students and educators had the opportunity to view five feature films and 42 short films. The program also included 41 accompanying filmmaker Q&As, which involved more than 75 filmmakers and other special guests.
FilmSlam Streams students gave the FilmSlam Best Feature Film Award to BEST SUMMER EVER, directed by Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli (USA). And they gave the FilmSlam Best Short Film Award to Team Meryland, directed by Gabriel Gaurano (USA). FilmSlam Streams Awards were sponsored by OverDrive.
The Festival’s annual Challenge Match, which launched in March 2021, will continue through the summer. In partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, every dollar donated is matched. To make a donation, please visit clevelandfilm.org/support-us/donate
CIFF45 Streams and FilmSlam Streams were made possible through the generosity our 116 sponsors and funders, our 1,196 members, our Board of Directors, our volunteers, our staff, and most of all – our audience.
For full information on CIFF45 Streams, please visit clevelandfilm.org
The Cleveland International Film Festival is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Also, the Cleveland International Film Festival is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.