February 8, 2008
In addition to being the flagship event of the Cleveland Film Society, the Cleveland International Film Festival is the premier film event between New York and Chicago.
Today's CIFF includes a full survey of contemporary international filmmaking with over 120 features from approximately 50 countries and 90 short subjects that are shown in collected programs. Along with the main program of international films, there are special sections that add interest and diversity to the overall Festival. These include American independent, documentary, Eastern European, family, gay and lesbian, and Pan-African films.
Many filmmakers and other special guests attend the CIFF where they participate in FilmForums, which are panel discussions that give audience members a chance to talk about the films they've seen at the Film Festival.
Additionally, through a community outreach program called Cultural Journeys, members of culturally diverse groups and communities learn from one another using the universal language of film. FilmForums (moderated panel discussions), which follow film screenings, serve as an impetus for educating people on timely, complex, and controversial issues.
FilmSlam is the CIFF's student film festival for high school students. It is held on weekday mornings during the CIFF. At the 30th CIFF in March 2006, over 5,500 students from 60 Northeast Ohio schools participated in FilmSlam. In addition to viewing films, they met with visiting filmmakers.
In 2007, over 52,000 people attended the ten day event.