Monday, March 31, 2014 at 5:00 AM
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
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