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Feast your eyes on a festival of fantastic films during this year’s Ohio Independent Film Festival

The Ohio Independent Film Festival kicks off
Thursday, Nov. 6
The Ohio Independent Film Festival (OIFF) is one of those unique Midwest gems that independent filmmakers know a whole lot about and, every year, film fans of all shapes, sizes, ages and interests discover for the first time. Maybe you’re one of them.

If so, now’s your chance to discover the festival – and a ton of amazing films. The event kicks off this Thursday, Nov. 6, at Atlas Cinemas Lakeshore 7 in Euclid, Ohio.

We recently sat down with Peter Balint, executive director of the OIFF to learn more about the event.

Midwest Movie Maker: If this is the first time I've heard of the OIFF, what should I know?

Peter Balint: The Ohio Independent Film Festival has brought independent film to Cleveland for more than 20 years! We accept submissions from around the world in all genres including feature length narratives and documentaries, as well as shorts, animations, micro shorts and short docs.

MMM: What's the history of the OIFF?

PB: Independent Pictures is the parent organization of OIFF. The nonprofit is dedicated to building a strong independent film community in Northeast Ohio by bringing artists, industry experts and audience members together through exhibition, education and networking events. The film festival is one way we fulfill the mission.

The Off-Hollywood Flick Fest accepted its first film submissions in 1992 and held its first screenings in 1993 in a small storefront in Tremont. The name subsequently changed to The Ohio Independent Film Festival and the venue is now a proper theater with all the amenities you would expect to find.

'Project Ice' is one of more than 10 feature films and 40 shorts
screened as part of the OIFF 2014. The William Kleinart documentary
reveals the role ice played in the evolution of the Great Lakes.
MMM: How many films will you show during this year's festival?

PB: Over the course of four days, we will show 10 feature films and over 40 shorts. This is a bit more than we have shown in the past, and we have expanded our show times to accommodate this welcomed growth.

MMM: When is it and how can I get tickets?

PB: Most people will buy tickets at the door (so make sure you arrive early), but you can also purchase tickets ahead of time at www.ohiofilms.com. Also, if you plan on attending a few shows and love supporting independent film, please consider a VIP Access Pass which is also available on our website.

MMM: Will the filmmakers be there? Is there a chance to meet them? Do you do any Q&A?

PB: Yes, some of our filmmakers will be present. We welcome the opportunity for the audience to participate in Q&A and meet the filmmakers afterwards. The film Project: Ice will have an extensive panel afterwards in which local industry experts will discuss issues related to the content of the film

There's always a good chance you'll meet the filmmakers at the OIFF.
Maybe even Joseph Grasso of 'The Umbrella Man'
MMM: What can filmmakers learn from the festival?

PB: For one, you can see what else is out there. Our films were selected by a committee who found them worthy of screening. This will give you a good idea of what we are looking for as an industry.

Beyond the technical side of filmmaking, this is a wonderful networking opportunity to meet the veterans as well as the up-and-comers. We always recommend bringing business cards or other promotional materials because you will undoubtedly meet up with others who may, at some point, be able to offer help or guidance in the filmmaking realm.

MMM: Where are the films shown?

PB: We are proudly partnered with Atlas Cinemas Lakeshore 7 to bring our films to you in the best possible way.

Catch Max Miller's 'GoodBoys,' a hysterical short
that wowed Cleveland State University Film Festival
judges. They awarded it Best Picture.
It is interesting to note that Atlas is an independent in their own rite; they are the only family owned theater organization in our area and not part of a large chain. We receive incredible support from the folks at Atlas.

They also go beyond the call of duty when working on premieres or special events with Cleveland filmmakers.

MMM: If someone wants to volunteer, how can they do that?

PB: OIFF would not exist without the gracious help from volunteers. And we don’t like to brag, but we have the best! Anyone can help; please visit our web site for volunteer opportunities.

MMM: When is the festival?

PB: Our festival runs November 6th through the 9th. Opening times vary so please check the website for times and shows.

MMM: What will I experience at this festival that I can't experience at any other festival?

PB: This year we have more local films than ever before. We didn’t accept them because they were local but because they stood up with some of the others films from around the world.

We also like to bill our event as a networking opportunity. If an attendee puts in a bit of effort, they will surely walk away with a few new names and connections.

As our mission states, we are interested in building a strong film community in Cleveland and this extends to makers and lovers of independent cinema.

Find out more about the Ohio Independent Film Festival here >>
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