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Cleveland International Film Festival director is stepping down after 23 years

Marcie Goodman.jpg
Cleveland International Film Festival
Marcie Goodman's career with CIFF began in 1987. She held several leadership roles before being named the organization's executive director in 2001.

For only the third time in its history, the Cleveland International Film Festival will soon be searching for an executive director. Marcie Goodman will step down in 2024 after 23 years at the helm. She informed the board Thursday that she’ll leave in June, calling her tenure “a labor of love.”

During her time as executive director, the festival settled on its current 11-day format. Attendance more than doubled, from about 40,000 in 2004 to more than 105,000 in 2019. In 2020, Goodman announced the festival would relocate from Tower City Cinemas to theaters in Playhouse Square the following year.

“They range from the intimate to the grand,” she said at the time. “That is the really good thing about moving to Playhouse Square is, a lot of our capacity worries will go away.”

The move was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the festival went online for two years and added digital streaming. Attendance has been rebounding, with more than 76,000 in-person visitors this year.

Goodman, a Cleveland native, was associate director of the film fest from 1987-94, returning as managing director in 1998, before succeeding David Wittkowsky in the top post in 2001. In 2011, she was recognized by the Cleveland Arts Prize.

CIFF Board President Chris Blake said they plan to celebrate Goodman’s work during CIFF48 next April.

“In the meantime, we will use the advance notice she’s given us to identify the next great leader for CIFF,” he said in a statement.

The Cleveland International Film Festival was founded in 1977 by Jon Forman. His Cleveland Cinemas owns the festival’s first home, the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights. He served as executive director of the fest until 1992.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.