5 movies filmed by local filmmakers in the 2017 Cleveland International Film Festival

Posted at 2:57 PM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 09:18:01-04

The 41st Annual Cleveland Film Festival premiers on Wednesday, March 29. International and local filmmakers congregate to Cleveland for one of the country's oldest film festivals. What started in 1977 with eight films from seven countries has grown into nearly 200 films from all over the world in 2016. There are many critically acclaimed films coming to Cleveland's local theaters. But here are five films that have a Cleveland connection:

1. The Illumination

Filmed by Tom Scott, in a remarkable twist of fate, it was the decades-long effort of one blind person, Gordon Gund, that made it possible for another, Yannick Duwé, to see. After 45 years, the journey of Gordon and Lulie Gund to find a cure for blindness can only be described as an act of love. Those who are from Cleveland know Gund as the CEO of the Gund Investment Corporation. He owned a majority stake in the Cleveland Cavaliers before selling it to billionaire Dan Gilbert. This film shows how one person can make a change.


Find the film screenings here.

2. Breaking Balls

Bocce ball is a popular sport that dates back to Roman times. It was picked up by the Italians into its current form now. Because Cleveland has a large Italian immigrant population, the sport grew bigger and became popular. At the Italian-American Club in Wickliffe, competitive rounds of bocce ball take place. This film gives viewers a behind-the-scenes view of a sport that is a big part in the lives of many Italian-Americans.


Find the film screenings here.

3. Beautiful Garden:

Filmed in Cleveland, Beautiful Garden is set in the backdrop of Lake Erie at an old house. The residence was taken over by runaways and misfits. At the focus of the film is a strange and mysterious man named King. He lives in the attic. The residents witnessed a murder in their backyard, turning their world upside down. A series of unfortunate events take place that question the community's existence.

Find the film screenings here.

4. Dispatches from Cleveland

Cleveland has a lot to celebrate. From the NBA Championship to the Indians making it to the World Series, Cleveland is rising in nationwide fame. But there are still a number of issues that Cleveland is plagued by that should be addressed. Residents living in poverty. Excessive force by Cleveland police officers. The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed this to be the case for 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In this film, Rice's mother says the Cuyahoga County prosecutor failed to fight for her son. Throughout the film, his mother and a community activist explain what needs to happen in order to make Cleveland a great city, again.

Cleveland International Film Festival

Find the film screenings here.

5. Dave Made a Maze

Dave has never completed anything in his life, but he made a labyrinth. Dave is trapped inside this booby trap. His friends go to save him, yet they find themselves trapped inside, killing them one by one. They realize this labyrinth is bigger and bigger. In order for the group to get out alive, they need to find a way to cooperate and put their differences aside.

CREDIT: Cleveland Film Comission

Find the film screenings here.

Kaylyn Hlavaty covers news that's all about the pride we share in Cleveland. Have a story tip or idea? Drop her a line at or connect on Twitter: @kaylynhlavaty.