CIFF47: PSQ March 22 – April 1, 2023 | Streams April 2 – April 9, 2023

April 10, 2022

CIFF46 Announces Award Winners

CLEVELAND (Sunday, April 10, 2022) – CIFF46 at Playhouse Square, which took place March 30th– April 9th, held its Closing Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 9thin the Connor Palace, where the winners of the Festival’s esteemed awards were announced. Closing Night was sponsored by Pierre’s Ice Cream.

CIFF46 presented its fourth DReam Maker Award to international award-winning filmmaker Chase Joynt. In addition to his CIFF46 screenings of his solo-directed documentary feature debut of FRAMING AGNES, Chase spent his time in Cleveland meeting with organizations in Northeast Ohio whose missions support the LGBTQIA+ community. The DReam Maker Award, which is accompanied by $5,000 to support future work, was presented to Chase on April 8th as part of his first CIFF46 screening.

DReam Maker was established in 2019 to honor the life and memory of David K. Ream (1949–2017), a beloved CIFF trustee. An indexer by profession, a master of puns by choice, and a true Renaissance man at heart, Dave loved Cleveland and everything about it. The DReam Maker Program and Award celebrates LGBTQIA+ artists through the recognition of an LGBTQIA+ filmmaker and that person’s work – as well as the presentation of a slate of films made by LGBTQIA+ directors and featuring LGBTQIA+ themes.

The Festival also celebrated the second year of its Groundbreaker Award. CIFF46 is thrilled to recognize Brooke Pepion Swaney, the director and producer of DAUGHTER OF A LOST BIRD, as its CIFF46 Groundbreaker Award recipient. The Groundbreaker Award was presented on April 2nd as part of Brooke’s first CIFF46 screening. The Groundbreaker Award and Program is sponsored by Kent State University.

CIFF’s Groundbreaker Program focuses on educational efforts about structural racism and elevates and supports BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) filmmakers. This year’s Groundbreaker Program offers a number of feature and short films.

The Groundbreaker Award is presented to a pioneering filmmaker in their field whose work has proven to lift up marginalized voices. This recognition comes with a $5,000 cash award to help support the filmmaker’s future work.


Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film
Sponsored by the Callahan Foundation
FROM THE HOOD TO THE HOLLER, directed by Pat McGee (USA)
$15,000 cash prize

Reel Women Direct Award for Excellence in Directing by a Woman
Presented with generous support from Deborah Bachman Ratner
Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin (for THE JANES; USA)
$10,000 cash prize

George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern European Competition
Endowed by The George Gund Foundation
GENTLE, directed by László Csuja and Anna Nemes (Hungary)
$10,000 cash prize

Nesnadny + Schwartz Portrait Documentary Competition
Presented with generous support from Nesnadny + Schwartz
NAVALNY, directed by Daniel Roher (USA)
$10,000 cash prize

New Direction Competition
Presented with generous support from Hyland
Nudo Mixteco, directed by Ángeles Cruz (Mexico)
$10,000 cash prize

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition
Endowed by The George Gund Foundation
REFUGE, directed by Erin Bernhardt, Din Blankenship (USA)
$7,500 cash prize

Global Health Competition
Presented with generous support from Mark Smith and Janet Rosel Smith
THE ERIE SITUATION, directed by David J. Ruck (USA)
$7,500 cash prize

American Independents Competition
Presented with generous support from Mike and Nicki Cancelliere
892, directed by Abi Damaris Corbin (USA)
$7,500 cash prize

Local Heroes Competition
Presented with generous support from Lauren Rich Fine and Gries Financial Partners
MAMA BEARS, directed by Daresha Kyi (USA)
$7,500 cash prize

Ad Hoc Docs Competition
Presented with generous support from Tom and Anita Cook
Mission: Joy - Finding Happiness in Troubled Times, directed by Louie Psihoyos (USA)
$7,500 cash prize

International Narrative Competition
Presented with generous support from Tom Piraino and Barbara McWilliams
BEAUTIFUL MINDS, directed by Bernard Campan and Alexandre Jollien (France, Switzerland)
$7,500 cash prize

FilmSlam Student Choice Award for Best Feature Film
Presented with generous support from Tom Piraino and Barbara McWilliams
MESSWOOD, directed by Emily Kuester and Brad Lichtenstein (USA)
$2,000 Cash Prize

Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film Overall
Sponsored by Char and Chuck Fowler
The Treatment, directed by Álvaro Carmona (Spain)
$1,000 Cash Prize

Best Animated Short Award*
Sponsored by MP Star Financial
Mr. Spam Gets A New Hat, directed by William Joyce (United Kingdom)
$1,000 cash prize

Best Documentary Short Award*
Sponsored by Jules and Fran Belkin
More Than I Remember, directed by Amy Bench (USA)
$1,000 cash prize

Best Live Action Short Award*
Sponsored by Alan Gordon Lipson and Judy Harris & Jules and Fran Belkin
Nakam, directed by Andreas Kessler (Germany)
$1,000 cash prize

FilmSlam Student Choice Award for Best Short Film
Presented with generous support from Tom Piraino and Barbara McWilliams
Candidato 34 Directed by Ryan Marley (Canada)
$1,000 Cash Prize

*These award winners will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards.®

For a full list of short subject film award winners, please visit


CIFF46 Streams, presented by PNC, takes place April 10 – 17, 2022 on the CIFF streaming platform. Hundreds of films will be available on demand, and will include dozens of accompanying filmmaker Q&As on the Festival’s YouTube channel. Tickets and passes are now on sale at

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.



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