35th Cleveland International Film Festival opens March 24 at Tower City Cinemas

Two Italian movies included in this year program

For the past 35 years, the CIFF has been the premier film event in Ohio. Today, the CIFF presents a full survey of contemporary international and American Independent filmmaking, with more than 150 features and over 150 short subjects from at least 60 countries. In 2010 the 34th CIFF saw more than 71,500 admissions and the Festival hopes to provide ticket holders with more opportunities to catch their films of choice this year with the added theaters. Since 2003, the CIFF has experienced tremendous growth, including a 103% increase in attendance, a 101% increase in Call For Entry film submissions, and a 150% increase in membership. Organizers are also thrilled to announce that in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Festival, and for the first time in its history, all eleven theaters at Tower City Cinemas will be leased for this event. The Festival is taking this necessary step to accommodate the growing number of ticket holders during the eleven-day event, and to further increase the significant economic impact on downtown Cleveland .

In addition to the main World Tour program, there are sidebars that add interest and diversity to the overall Festival and help attendees navigate the offerings. These include 10% Cinema, American Independents, Cinema En Español, Documentaries, Eastern European films, Family Films, It's Easy Being Green (films dealing with environmental issues), Jewish and Israeli Visions, Pacific Pearls, Pan-African Images, Standing Up (films with a conscience), and Women of the World (films made by women or focusing on women's issues). And every year the CIFF includes a Local Heroes section, which spotlights works by local filmmakers. More than 100 filmmakers and other special guests attend the CIFF where they introduce their screenings, discuss their work, and participate in FilmForums (which are panel discussions that give audience members a chance to talk about the films they've seen at the Festival.

The 2011 edition premieres with ‘Hamill' based on the real life story of Loveland, Ohio deaf wrestler, Matt "The Hammer" Hamill. Oren Kaplan directs the sports drama depicting the struggles and successes Hamill encounters on his quest to a national collegiate championship. Actor Russell Harvard who appeared in "There Will Be Blood" stars in the lead role. Supporting cast includes Raymond Barry, Shoshannah Stern and Michael Spady. Hamill serves as an inspirational force to the hearing and deaf alike as he utilized his disability in becoming the first deaf wrestler to win a national collegiate crown. Opening night at Tower City Cinema starts at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $125 per person ($100 for CIFF members). Over two-hundred eighty films will be shown between Opening Night and Closing Night on Sunday, April 3. The April 3 film finale "Soul Surfer" is the true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton who suffered a shark attack. The film stars Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood, Dennis Quaid and Anna Sophia Robb.

Two wonderful Italian movies have been selected by Bill Guentzler, the Festival Artistic Director and included in the progam: BASILICATA COAST TO COAST, directed by Rocco Papaleo in 2010 and proudly presented by the Consulate of Italy in Detroit for the first time ever in the USA. Who wouldn't love a band that raps about their Mammas' omelet sandwiches? These guys dig all things real, including family, friends, and homeland. They're lucky: their homeland is the stunningly beautiful region of Basilicata in the instep of Italy 's boot, which stretches from the Tyrrhenian to the Ionian Sea . These native sons are a ragtag bunch of charmers: Nicola, a frustrated math teacher whose wife runs a boutique hotel; Rocco, a TV actor whose career has seen better days; Salvatore, who ditched his medical studies in their final hour; and Franco the bass player, mute since the death of his lover. Outfitted with a horse and cart topped with solar cells, the band undertakes a journey across Basilicata - on foot. It starts out as a publicity stunt leading up to their performance in a local music competition. Accompanying them is Tropea, a reluctant journalist assigned to document their journey. As the little band trudges eastward, they camp out, evade authorities, deal with crazy agents and over-protective brothers, and fall in love again. Spoken word and jazz performances on hillsides and in local villages make it a funky delight of a road movie. (In Italian with subtitles).

The second selection, presented in part by La Gazzetta Italiana is HAYFEVER (Febbre da fieno), directed by Laura Luchetti and also released in 2010.

There's a westerly breeze blowing through the picturesque streets of Rome . Legend has it that this "ponentino" gives courage to timid lovers. Matteo, a handsome young man with vivid blue eyes, works in a vintage shop. Sporting charmingly retro t-shirts, he rummages through people's estate sales for the bric-a-brac of bygone lives. Matteo has a hard time letting go of the past, including his feelings for his old flame Giovanna. Meanwhile, skater girl Franki (for Francesca), Matteo's co-worker, writes improbably passionate love letters to Jude Law. Matteo and Franki are employed by Stefano, a family man who loves his shop but has no head for business. Tinkerers and dreamers, they're unable to organize their store, or their lives, to make them more productive. One day a young woman named Camilla, with a smile that lights up her whole face, arrives and starts arranging things. She falls hard for Matteo, who can't stop thinking about Giovanna. Everyone in this little shop of dreams harbors passions that are close by, yet seemingly out of reach. HAYFEVER soars with a fittingly indie soundtrack featuring music by Laura Marling, Devendra Banhart, and Imelda May. (In Italian with subtitles)

The following are screening dates and times for both movies:

Basilicata Coast to Coast:
Friday, April 1 - 6:55pm at Tower City Cinemas
Saturday, April 2 - 1:55pm - Tower City Cinemas

Hayfever (Febbre da fieno)
Saturday, March 26 - 9:25pm - Tower City Cinemas
Sunday, March 27 - 2:20pm - Tower City Cinemas
Tuesday, March 29 - 7:15pm - Shaker Square Cinemas

Tickets go on sale to members only Friday, March 4th and to the general public on Friday, March 11th. Ticket prices for most films are $10 per film for CIFF members and $12 for non-members. Tickets will be available online at www.clevelandfilm.org, by telephone (1.877.304.FILM), at the Ulmer & Berne Film Festival store in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas, or by mail using the Program Guide order form.

Use the code ITALY to receive $2 off your ticket order.

Buona visione a tutti !