More than 300 films in this year’s International Film Festival

Brittany Schmigel

Cleveland has the Cavs, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Flats, the Cuyahoga River fire and several others. It also has something people may not know about — the Cleveland International Film Festival.

This year, the 34th Cleveland International Film Festival runs today through March 28 at the Tower City Cinemas with more than 300 films to see.

“This year we have over 150 feature films and over 100 short films” said Bill Guentzler, artistic director for the Cleveland International Film Festival. Guentzler added that the films are from 84 countries, most of which he hand picked himself.

“My job is that I get to travel to other film festivals,” Guentzler said. He travels as far as Canada, the Czech Republic, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, London and Amsterdam.

“I find most of the international films, that’s what I’m looking for when I go to other festivals,” Guenztler said. Out of all the festivals he’s been to, Guentzler said that he likes the Vancouver International Film Festival best.

“You’re in Vancouver, which is a beautiful city, and the best thing about it is I’m able to see about seven films a day,” Guentzler said. “That helps me do my job because I can see a lot of films and try and get them for Cleveland.”

The Cleveland International Film Festival also has an entry process where filmmakers can send in their films for a committee to view. The committee then rates the films and Guentzler watches the highest-rated ones to decide which will be shown in the festival.

One of the films Guentzler recommends seeing is “Marwencol,” a documentary about a man whose head injury causes him to create a small village of dolls in his backyard.

“He creates his own little world and he takes pictures of it and he’s discovered by an art gallery in New York,” Guentzler said. “So it’s a documentary that argues is it art or is it insanity? Where’s the line? It’s pretty amazing.”

Guentzler said that while other film festivals are industry based and have buyers, producers and directors, the Cleveland International Film Festival is audience based.

“The best thing is that we’re in one place, at Tower City Cinemas, and so when you have a thousand people coming into the movies and a thousand people coming out of the movie, it’s great energy.”

The 34th Cleveland International Film Festival runs today through March 28 at Tower City Cinemas. Student tickets purchased the day of the show are $10. Summaries and schedules for each film can be found at the Cleveland International Film Festival Web site,

Contact off-campus entertainment

reporter Brittany Schmigel

at [email protected].