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New Attendance Record For the Cleveland International Film Festival

Monday, March 31, 2014 at 5:00 AM

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'Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine' won the CIFF Roxanne T Mueller Audience Choice Award

The Cleveland International Film Festival ended with another record-breaking year, Sunday evening. ideastream's David C. Barnett has some highlights from the closing night festivities.

The Film Festival has grown from eight movies at the Cedar Lee Theater in 1977, to over 350 features and short subjects, this year, at the downtown Tower City Cinemas and a number of other Northeast Ohio locations.

Several hundred people crowded around the Tower City fountains, last night, to cheer the winners of this year’s Festival competitions.  A clear favorite was the Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice award for best film. 

NANCY CALLAHAN:  The winner is “Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine”

It tells the story of the 1998 murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay man whose death led to the passage of the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  Dennis Shepard thanked the judges for honoring the memory of his child.

DENNIS SHEPARD: I’d rather be in Wyoming with my son.  But, if I can’t do that, I’d rather be here promoting this film, so that other fathers can be home with their sons.

Another Festival favorite was a documentary on Cleveland street musician, Maurice Reedus, Jr., called “The Sax Man”, which won the Local Heroes competition.  Reedus charmed the crowd with an a capella vocal rendering of “Route 66”, dedicated to his Grammy Award-winning father.  He then closed the evening with his familiar version of the song he plays outside of Progressive Field for most every Cleveland Indians home game.

Nearly 98,000 people attended the 2014 Cleveland International Film Festival --- up five percent from last year. 

CIFF 2014 STATISTICS

ATTENDANCE 97,804

BEST SHORT SUBJECT (Audience Choice) Fool’s Day

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM The Numberlys

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM For the Birds

GLOBAL HEALTH COMPETITION The Starfish Throwers

MUSIC MOVIES COMPETITION The Winding Stream

LOCAL HEROES COMPETITION The Sax Man

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS COMPETITION A Birder’s Guide to Everything

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE COMPETITION Life Feels Good

NESNADNY + SCHWARTZ DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION The Sarnos : A Life In Dirty Movies

GREG GUND MEMORIAL STANDING UP COMPETITION Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine

REEL WOMEN DIRECT COMPETITION The Longest Distance

ROXANNE T MUELLER AUDIENCE CHOICE Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine

Additional Information

CLICK HERE for more on the 2014 CIFF

Tags

Arts and Culture, History, Motion Pictures (Film, Video), Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement, Education, Health, Mental Health

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