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Hybrid Program for Columbus International Film + Animation Festival’s 69th Year

Hope Madden Hope Madden Hybrid Program for Columbus International Film + Animation Festival’s 69th Year
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It’s been 69 years, and a second straight season of pandemic wasn’t about to slow down the Columbus International Film + Animation Festival. Executive Director Cristyn Steward will take the best of last year’s digital approach, combine it with some much-missed live viewing, and share dozens of the world’s best shorts, features and animation this Saturday and Sunday, April 17 – 18.

Steward believes the program this year will impress. She says the quality of film submissions is high, and that’s directly related to the lengthy tradition of the CIF+AF.

“Once you hit the 30-year mark, you start to see a different caliber of films,” Steward says. “And any filmmaker doing research about what types of films a festival is accepting tries to live up to that prestige. It’s all part of being around for so long.”

Among those excellent cinematic submissions was a batch of Buckeye short films. The festival kicks off Friday at 8 p.m. with a drive-in event at Scioto Audubon showcasing those Ohio Shorts, as well as a feature.

“The drive-in films are definitely going to be home grown films,” Steward says. “We got some great Ohio shorts.”

Steward’s also excited to share Drunk Bus, a comedy feature that includes a filmmaker Q&A.

For the balance of the weekend, viewers can choose from the fest’s selection of narrative features and documentary shorts, music videos and experimental/new media program, short films, student films, documentaries and more—all presented virtually.

“There are benefits to being online,” Steward says. “I would never otherwise have the opportunity to talk to folks from Iran or Poland or from Brazil. I can chat to them about their experiences in making film and how they’ve been affected in production for the past 366 days plus. We can have those conversations. We actually get to use that one W in WWW, we get access to the world.”

Steward says 10 different nations participated in this year’s festival, and she believes the digital environment doesn’t just simplify connecting with filmmakers from around the world. It also allows all the fest’s filmmakers to connect with each other.  

“This year we’re giving people more opportunity to connect,” she says. “We have five online talks that will give filmmakers a platform.”

Among those online events is a Women in Film panel.

“That is going to be a discussion about how women navigate film and how they operate in film,” Steward says. “I think we can get an interesting conversation about how the film world works with us in it.”

Find out more about the 2021 program, find the schedule and purchase tickets at Columbus International Film + Animation Festival’s website.

Follow Hope on Twitter @maddwolf and listen to her weekly movie review podcast, THE SCREENING ROOM.

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