The 45th Cleveland International Film Festival scheduled to take place April 7-20, 2021, will be held entirely online. This decision was unanimously approved by the CIFF Board of Directors at its September 29, 2020 meeting.
In its statement, the board emphasized that the decision is based on science and community circumstances, as well as the state of the film, theater, and event industries. The organization looks forward to CIFF46 taking place in its new home at Playhouse Square during the spring of 2022.
“We are very much looking forward to building on the success of CIFF44 Streams, during which our audience proved that an online Festival is not only an option, but also the newest component to making CIFF the best and most accessible experience for our incredible patrons,” said CIFF Board President Chris Blake.
CIFF45 will consist of hundreds of films, post-film conversations and Q&As with filmmakers, balloting, awards, and a slew of activities to make the online Festival a robust experience for all involved. The Festival will also include two extra days (making it a 14-day presentation) for extended viewing and engagement opportunities. CIFF Speaks (the organization’s podcast series) will be returning with episodes surrounding and during the Festival.
The road to CIFF45 also brings a change in the organization’s artistic leadership with the promotion of Mallory Martin to Artistic Director, effective October 1, 2020. Mallory joined the CIFF full-time in October 2011 as Programming Assistant. Following a number of advancements, she became Director of Programming and Projection in 2015 and remained in that position until her most recent appointment.
“We are so very excited for Mallory Martin and for the organization, knowing that the programming for CIFF45 and beyond is going to be remarkable. Both the filmmaker experience and the viewer experience will be exceptional because of Mallory’s talent and expertise,” CIFF Executive Director Marcie Goodman stated.
“At a time when the entire film industry is facing a transformation, I am both honored and eager to help lead CIFF into its new chapters and towards new possibilities. No matter where the CIFF will live in the future – be it our own living rooms or Playhouse Square – we remain dedicated to bringing the best of independent cinema home to Cleveland for many years to come,” said CIFF Artistic Director Mallory Martin.
Mallory Martin replaces Bill Guentzler, who has stepped down from his role after 22 years with the organization and 15 years as its Artistic Director (2005-2020). The CIFF is appreciative for Bill’s decades of dedication to the organization and for all of the amazing team accomplishments that occurred during that time.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to have spent half my life at CIFF. While I will no longer be the Artistic Director, I will always be part of the heart and soul of what CIFF is and stands for — and CIFF will always be a huge part of me,” noted Bill Guentzler.
Executive Director Marcie Goodman added, “Although the full-time Festival staff is small, any change is big. However, we fully support Bill Guentzler as he identifies and follows new hopes and dreams. And we understand that cannot be done while sitting in the dark. Plus, we suspect it will be nice for Bill to be able to watch movies without having to make any decisions about them!”