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Virtual Film Festival CIFF44 Streams Launches Wednesday

The Cleveland International Film Festival created CIFF44 Streams to serve the community after canceling the in-person festival. [Shutterstock and CIFF]
CIFF Streams logo on a tablet over a spilled box of popcorn, rolls of film and 3-D glasses.

CIFF44 Streams, the virtual edition of the Cleveland International Film Festival, launches Wednesday.

Approximately 100 feature films and 200 shorts that would have screened at this year’s in-person festival will be available for a two-week period, which concludes April 28. CIFF announced today details on how to watch, which requires $8 passes for a single film and memberships, starting at $75, for full online access.

“We kind of covered both ways that people experience the actual festival,” said CIFF Artistic Director Bill Guentzler.

Also like the in-person festival, screenings for specific films are not unlimited and online access does not guarantee “admission” to every film. 

"We kind of gaged how many seats were available at the festival, and then we kind of transferred that to how many streams were available" he said. 

CIFF44 Streams films are available on demand through an online login on a computer or mobile device. Viewers who have Google Chromecast and Apple TV may be able to share the cast to a TV, Guentzler said.

The lineup of available films and shorts is set to go live with the launch Wednesday. 

After canceling the festival due to the coronavirus pandemic, CIFF came up with the idea for the online edition. The cancellation came with a major financial blow to the festival, and CIFF Streams provides an alternative to refunding all of its members.

“We're hoping to make something so it can kind of go into our deficit, but mainly we just wanted to work as hard as we can to give something to our audience,” Guentzler said.

An Ohio-made film available to stream is “HEROINOHIO,” which follows formers addicts in Springfield trying to promote recovery in the community.

“It's actually one of the most amazing documentaries in the program this year,” he said.

CIFF45 is scheduled for April 7- 18, 2021, in Playhouse Square.

Carrie Wise is the deputy editor of arts and culture at Ideastream Public Media.