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46th annual Cleveland International Film Festival back in-person after two years

46th annual Cleveland International Film Festival back in-person after two years held virtually
Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 30, 2022

CLEVELAND — Filmmakers from 73 different countries will be represented at this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival which is back in person after being held virtually the last two years.

“We’re just so excited to welcome filmmakers into these movie palaces that were built in the 1920s,” said Patrick Shepherd, associate director of the Cleveland International Film Festival.

After two years on screens at home, the festival is back in-person and with a venue change. It's being held for the first time in Playhouse Square.

Shepherd is excited for filmmakers from all over the world to come to the CLE.

“What makes a film festival special is filmmakers, and we literally have hundreds of filmmakers coming from around the world to Cleveland. We've got them in multiple hotels here Downtown,” said Shepherd.

But it's not just filmmakers, the festival’s large seasonal staff and volunteers are back too.

“It feels amazing. Absolutely amazing,” said seasonal staff member Jen Vinson.

Naturally, a virtual festival requires less manpower so all of them weren't needed over the last two years, but now with a new venue and 11 days of screenings it's all hands on deck.

“Everything kind of comes to life every March. So we have people working every corner of the festival and helping really make sure that we have great patron experiences and can do all the work that we do,” said Vinson.

All of that work has had a huge impact on the city. In the past, the event has generated more than $5 million for the city plus an additional $2 million in food, drink, and retail purchases to other areas.

“We feel that a lot of the restaurants and hotels and even Uber drivers are going to feel the impact,” said Shepherd.

But even more so, staff are hoping this return to a bit of normalcy has an even bigger cultural impact on the community.

“The mission of the film festival is very much centered on the community and on the patron experience. So you know, we're not only showcasing the theaters in the Playhouse Square district, we're giving filmmakers from around the world an opportunity to bring their films back to Cleveland,” said Vinson.

More information about the Cleveland International Film Festival can be found, here.

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