Monday, July 16th, 2018

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Cleveland International Film Festival Opening Night

Dan O’Shannon and Marcie Goodman
(CIFF Opening Night Gala)

Todd Grinnell and John Chuldenko
(Opening Night Gala)

Dick and Deena Epstein
(CIFF Opening Night Gala)

Tom and Max Mulready with Jules Belkin
(CIFF Opening Night Gala)

Cleveland International Film Festival
Opening Night

                    The record-breaking opening night gala for the Cleveland International Film Festival was the first sign that the 10-day festival was going to break records all the way through.
    “This is the largest opening night crowd in our history,” said CIFF board president Jules Belkin. Bill Elliott, senior vice president-corporate banking for Dollar Bank, noted that in the 15 years Dollar Bank has sponsored opening night, festival attendance has jumped from 31,777 in 1998 to 78,030 last year. That record has been surpassed by this year’s astonishing 85,018 attendees.
    CIFF executive director Marcie Goodman said she thought there were about 1,500 people in the theaters, though not all of them attended the gala in the jam-packed M-K Ferguson Plaza where Le Petit Triangle put out their delicious party food and Pierre’s scooped ice cream.
    No one was having more fun than opening night film director, John Chuldenko, a 1993 graduate of Chagrin Falls High School, as was Jason Borkowski who had three songs in the movie. Classmate Tyler Davidson, whose “Take Shelter” was a big hit nationwide last year, came to join in the revelry. Todd Grinnell, who starred in “Nesting” was charming everyone. The film, said Jules Belkin, was a “perfect opening night movie.”
    There’s only one way to describe the opening night gala of the Cleveland International Film Festival — it’s an event of epic proportions and intense sound, a happening, if you will. STORY BY MARTHA TOWNS/PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFF FARR


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