Captions and Photos by Peggy Turbett
With the roar of clacking keys, the Cleveland International Film Festival kicked off “Illuminate,” the 41st annual film fest with a multi-theater showing of “California Typewriter.” The documentary ode to the low-tech machine profiled various aficionados, including Tom Hanks, John Mayer and Sam Shepard. But it also featured repairman Ken Alexander, sculptor Jeremy Mayer, and collector Martin Howard, who showed up with director Doug Nichol to personally introduce the first film of the 12-day festival.
So did about 1,500 patrons, who filled multiple theaters for the viewing, then traipsed over to Post Office Plaza to choose from a vast array of drinks and appetizers including salmon-stuffed brioche, vegetable sushi, and avocado toasts.
The offerings for movie buffs is also vast, with over 520 screenings of 202 features, 216 shorts, 14 virtual reality films, and 8 interactive media projects from 71 countries. CIFF organizers chose the theme “Illuminate,” not only to play off the light and motion of movie presentation, but also to acknowledge the inspiration and reverberation of the film experience. Take the opening night film, for example, which echoed into the party. There on a postal station a circular bank of manual typewriters bustled with patrons tapping out love letters to the CIFF.