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Oldest Film Festival in US Returns to Columbus

Hope Madden Hope Madden Oldest Film Festival in US Returns to Columbus
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Have you checked out the Columbus International Film + Video Festival yet? You’ve only had 62 chances to catch the celebration of local, national and international features and shorts.

Yes, after a number of early bird screenings around town, the nation’s longest running film festival hits its stride this Thursday (11/13) at the Gateway Film Center (1550 N. High). After a 6:30 reception, the festival kicks things off proper with a screening of Scarlet Road.

After that you can find programming unspooling at Studio 35 (3055 Indianola), Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar (26 E. 5th Ave.), the Drexel Theatre (2254 E. Main St.) and Columbus College of Art & Design’s Canzani Center (60 Cleveland Ave.)

The venues and the events add to the excitement of the festival, according to Susan Halpern, Columbus Film Council’s Executive Director, “We’re particular about where we want to screen,” she says. “We believe that we have to do the films justice. We’re not just going to throw up a sheet or project on a wall. It’s not us. As an international film festival we feel that we have a responsibility in the way we present the films.”

Halpern’s thrilled to partner with these venues again this year, and she’s equally appreciative of the new and returning nonprofit partners working with the Columbus Film Council to curate and program the festival.

“This year we partnered with more nonprofits, and I think that keeps us fresh because we have newer blood coming into the curatorial process,” she says.

The festival’s kick off film Scarlet Road, for example, is sponsored by VSA, The State Organization on Arts and Disability. The documentary follows Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton and her work with disabled clients.

Likewise, the Niagara Foundation sponsors Wednesday night’s event, Love is a Verb.

Returning partners COGEA and Columbus Free Press both sponsor individual screenings, and Stonewall Columbus presents a festival within a festival with LGBTFEST.

“We’re working with Stonewall and have more going on with them than before because they’re interested in doing film in a big way,” says Halpern.

Aside from several early bird screenings, Stonewall Columbus presents Award Winning LGBT Shorts on Sunday the 19th at Studio 35. They return to CCAD Friday the 21st for a double feature of City of the Damned and Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda with filmmakers Stephanie Lincoln (City of the Damned) and Michael Lucas (Campaign of Hate) on hand. Stonewall winds up the festival on Monday the 24th with Il Rosa Nudo (Naked Rose) at the Drexel.

“Having this many nonprofit partners I think it keeps things new and lively,” Halpern says.

The way each partner participates depends on the individual nonprofit, Halpern says. “They help us choose films, they’re involved in the curatorial process, and they also bring us films that they want us to put in the festival.”

Free Press and COGEA work with Columbus Film Council to choose an appropriate film from the entries the festival receives, while VSA brought Scarlet Road and the Niagara Foundation brought Love is a Verb to the festival.

Halpern says the council received between 400 and 500 entries across 13 divisions this year. In her dozen years with the festival, Halpern sees trends develop and change with each festival.

“We’re really international this year,” she says. “We’re always international, but we’re really international. We’re showing Love is a Verb, which is shot by an American in Turkey and Serbia. The two films Friday night are both international films. First to Fall is shot mostly in Libya. We’re showing a documentary about elephants shot in Ivory Coast. We have films from Taiwan and Canada in the Saturday morning cartoons this year, and we also have in the shorts at Brothers Drake a film with a German title that’s mostly in French – so there you go. We’re really all over the world. It’s really cool.”

Along with an array of features and shorts, CIF+VF always offers its share of parties.

“Actually we have a bunch of parties this year – we’re party animals this year,” laughs Halpern.

Both Scarlet Road and the Stonewall double feature offer receptions prior to the screenings, and the Best in Festival event boasts a party as always.

“Saturday night is the big blow up –Movies + Mead – after Rachel Beth Anderson’s film First to Fall. That’s when the filmmakers accept their awards and you can party with them afterwards,” says Halpern.

“It’s a good time,” she says. “It’s also the cheapest date night in town: for $25 you get in and you’re done spending money for the night. You get the movie, food and drinks and a party. I throw a good party – what can I say?”

For more information, visit www.columbusfilmcouncil.org.

Full Program:

Thursday 11/13

6.30pm reception, 7:00pm screening @ Gateway Film Center

Scarlet Road

Admission is $5, and includes the reception. FREE for CIF+VF members. No one under 18 will be admitted.

Scarlet Road follows the extraordinary work of Australian sex worker, Rachel Wotton. Impassioned about freedom of sexual expression and the rights of sex workers, she specializes in a long over-looked clientele – people with disability.

Co-sponsored by VSA Ohio.

Saturday 11/15

10:00am @ CCAD’s Canzani Center

Saturday Morning Cartoons For Kids

Cartoons for children from around the world.

Admission is FREE for kids and students of all ages, FREE for CIF+VF members, all others just $5 at the door.

  • Tinker
  • I Need My Monster
  • A Flower In The Box
  • Soup Of The Day
  • Blue
  • Green Acres
  • Midnight
  • Unity
  • Fallt

Sunday 11/16

6:00pm reception, 7:00pm screening @ Studio 35

Stonewall Columbus and the CIF+VF present: An Evening of LGBT Short Films

  • No No, Homo
  • Princesa
  • Electric Indigo
  • Furious St. Jack & Otter, Alone
  • Swadhisthana
  • End of Season Sale
  • Brace

Presented in partnership with Stonewall Columbus. Admission is $5, FREE for CIF+VF members.

Tuesday 11/18

8:00pm @ Brothers Drake Meadery: Shorts At Brothers Drake  

Admission is FREE. Award winning shorts from around the world. Experimental, narrative and documentary:

  • An Impossible Mission: Ivory Coast Elephant Rescue
  • Mathilde S’extasie
  • Words to Remember
  • Drones In My Backyard
  • Die Tapferen Haende im Chaos der Zeit
  • What’s In A Name

Wednesday 11/19

6:30pm reception, 8:00pm screening @ Canzani Center @ CCAD

A film presentation sponsored by the Niagara Foundation:

Love Is A Verb

Admission is $15 for the reception, $5 for the film. FREE for CIF+VF members, CCAD students, faculty and staff. See website for reception ticket info.

An examination of a social movement of Sufi inspired Sunni Muslims that began in Turkey in the l960s and now reaches across the globe. The group is called Hizmet, the Turkish word for service or The Gulen Movement after its inspiration, leader and beloved teacher Fethullah Gulen, a man that Time Magazine named as one of the most influential leaders in the world in 2013.

Thursday 11/20

8:00pm @ CCAD’s Canzani Center

Student Shorts

Short films created by students from around the world. Curated by Matt and Nicolette Swift. Free for CIF+VF members and students with id, all others just $5.

  • A Silent Waltz
  • CottonDreams
  • Laura versus Global Warming
  • Lady Parts
  • Somos Amigos
  • Dance! My Dream

Friday 11/21

6:00pm reception, 7:30pm screening @ CCAD’s Canzani Center      Stonewall Columbus and the CIF+VF present: City of the Damned and Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda.

City of the Damned is a short documentary revealing the human rights crisis currently facing the Ugandan LGBT community.

As most of the world moves forward toward gay equality, Russia is seemingly heading backward. Antigay sentiment and legislation are spreading rapidly throughout the country. Campaign of Hate is a political documentary by porn magnate and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activist Michael Lucas. Presented in partnership with Stonewall Columbus.

Admission is $8, FREE for students with ID, CIF+VF members, CCAD staff.

Q&A with filmmakers Michael Lucas and Stephanie Lincoln following the films.

Saturday 11/22

7:30pm  @ CCAD’s Canzani Center

Movies+Mead

Best of Festival Winner — First To Fall

All-inclusive admission is only $15, or 2 for $25. For guests 21 and older, please.  FREE for CIF+VF members.

An exciting evening of short films, the Chris Awards Ceremony (with the GCAC Individual Artist Fellowships in Media awarded), live music (Steve Perakis and Friends), food, Brothers Drake Mead, and Stella Artois beer. Filmmakers from around the world will be there to receive their Chris Awards and party afterwards with the event attendees. First To Fall director Rachel Beth Anderson will introduce her film and will attend the reception afterward where you can talk to her about the film.

Monday 11/24

7:00pm @ Drexel Theatre
Il Rosa Nudo (Naked Rose)

An experimental film inspired by the life of the French ‘Pink Triangle’ deported Pierre Seel. At the very young age of seventeen, Sell was arrested by the Nazis during the war on charges of homosexuality and sent to a concentration camp. In 1982 he was the first homocaust survivor to denounce the atrocities he witnessed. Presented in partnership with Stonewall Columbus.

Admission is FREE.

Tuesday 11/25

7:30pm @ Drexel Theatre

Racing To Zero

Admission is FREE, co-sponsored by the Columbus Free Press and Simply Living.

Racing To Zero is a quick-moving, up-beat documentary that presents new solutions to the global problem of waste. Although waste may create garbage, garbage is in itself a resource, and that is the key.

For more information, visit www.columbusfilmcouncil.org.

A full slate of movie reviews is available on my website www.maddwolf.comYou can also follow me on Twitter @maddwolf and like me on Facebook at facebook.com/MaddWolfColumbus .

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