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Columbus International Animation + Film Festival Goes Virtual

Hope Madden Hope Madden Columbus International Animation + Film Festival Goes Virtual
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For 67 years, the Columbus International Film Festival has brought remarkable shorts and animation as well as narrative and documentary features to Columbus. That’s the longest-running film festival in the country. A little quarantine was not going to wreck their streak.

According to Cristyn Steward, executive director of the Columbus International Animation and Film Festival, the 68th annual program will launch virtually.

Steward thinks the move was the best plan.

“People are at home and exhibition opportunities are literally at everyone’s fingertips” she says. “I also believe that we will have much bigger reach because the whole globe is having similar experiences.” 

Steward, founder and CEO of the Columbus Black International Film Festival, took the reins of CIF+AF just this year. Under her watch, the festival built a platform for screening the full docket of films in just two weeks.

“This offers access to people who wouldn’t have had the finances or the time to travel to the states,” she says. “We will be live with them during our Q&As and Filmmaker’s Roundtable. This will open up the long-needed engagement we thirsted for, even before the pandemic. Easier access to film – just a click will give you access to 115 titles.”

Beginning today, Wednesday, April 15, and running through the Sunday, April 19, you can attend the festival from the comfort (or involuntary confines) of your own home. Either way, a great way to spend some quality time.

More than 100  films—plus Q&As, panels, a workshop, and CIF+AF’s famous Saturday Morning Cartoon block—are all available for a $20 all access pass.

“Wow, there are tons of films,” Steward says. “We have marital topics, familial relationships, a movie about girl who loves and wants to dance but struggles because she lives with epilepsy. There’s super creative animation—different stories and ways to approach the medium of film.”

According to Steward, there’s a film for everyone here. The fest also offers tickets for individual blocks of films, as well as some entirely free content.        

“We are hosting four live Zoom opportunities to chat with filmmakers about their film process, projects, social issues in film and how the film industry will be affected after we resume our ‘normal’ way of living,” she says.

Filmmakers were eager to participate.

“I am excited that so many people are interested,”she says. “I had to close the list because more that 15 people are on a panel at once. These are also free opportunities as well for people who can only experience a couple of film blocks.”

The process of taking the festival this direction has been a learning experience for Steward.

“I am nervous and excited because this is something I have never done before,” she says. “However, as I have been planning this virtual film festival, I recognize how important film is to all of us. We need entertainment while we are working from home and with our families in ways we aren’t use to. Things are changing and they will be changed forever, but you can always count on film.”

More info on the schedule, ticketing, and the virtual film festival itself can be found HERE.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her weekly movie review podcast, THE SCREENING ROOM.

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