Monday, October 1, 2012

That’s a Fact, Jack! The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival returns, Oct. 3-7 2012

[Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.]

Now in its third year, the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is northeast Ohio's only film festival uniquely devoted to nonfiction features and shorts. It's a must on any local film fans' itinerary. Because, let's face it, if some guy who thinks he's a Batman villain is going to open fire at a movie house, you can bet it's not going to be at a documentary.

Those draw a whole different crowd – even though a well-wrought nonfiction feature can be just as entertaining as any Hollywood-industry product.Often better.

The CDFF takes place from Wednesday, Oct. 3, through Sunday, Oct. 7, at venues throughout the famously postcard-pretty village of Chagrin Falls on the eastern side of Cuyahoga County. Screening sites range from the big school auditorium on Philomethian Street to the more salon-like environment of the sushi restaurant Umami.

Highlights include two screenings (the Sunday afternoon one free of charge at the Chagrin Falls Public Library) of BOOK CLUB, a feature about a small book-discussion club that has bonded the same women together over 60 years. On Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. students will be allowed in free for a look at WORLD ON A STRING, a one-hour narrative about the ultimate championship of underground yo-yo competitors. The event, at Chagrin Falls Township Hall, will be accompanied by a live yo-yo display.

Other specials include the official Festival opening bash, at 7 p.m. at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, with Chagrin Falls native-turned-producer Tyler Davidson hosting WHERE DREAMS DON’T FADE, a feature about the legendary long-distance runners of Kenya. A “Red Carpet Gala” on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Key Bank Building in downtown Chagrin brings out filmmakers in person and other VIP guests. An awards presentation featuring Ivan Schwartz, of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, takes place Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Hillbrook Club.

One should not overlook the Sunday 2 p.m. program of short subjects and features done by local filmmakers. One of the titles is the half-hour THE LOST SPARROWS OF ROODEPORT, made by about a church-run orphanage and AIDS hospice in South Africa. The filmmaker, Chagrin Falls native David Ponce, died at 20 of leukemia in 2006 during post-production, and his family founded the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in his honor, and to continue telling stories from around the world through the medium he loved best, nonfiction film.

Tickets to features and feature-length short-subject bundles are $10 and can be purchased in advance at three locations: Chagrin Falls Township Hall (during 11 am to 3 pm.) at 83 North Main St., the 1st Federal of Lakewood bank branch at 2 E. Washington St., and the PNC Bank at 34 N. Main St, all in Chagrin Falls, and via the festival website. Other payment plans are available, right up to the all-access festival pass of $65. For full information and schedules, go online to

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