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Inaugural Cleveland International Kids Film Festival debuts this weekend

Midwinter is often when the heart of the film festival season kicks off, with Sundance in late January followed by South by Southwest (SXSW) in March, the Los Angeles Film Festival in early summer and the New York Film Festival in June.

Those are the big festivals, though. There are hundreds (maybe thousands?) of film festivals across the country. From the prestigious Columbus International Film and Animation Festival to the true grassroots indie FunMill Films Festival, there’s a place to showcase your work.

Even if you’re a kid.

Introducing the Cleveland International Kids Film Festival

This weekend, the Cleveland International Kids Film Festival will unspool 21 films from young filmmakers ranging in age from 7 to 17. The festival is a division of the non-profit The Young Filmmakers Academy (YFA), headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

“We have submissions from nine countries, from the U.S., Iran, Switzerland and more,” says film festival organizer Eric Swindermann. “We’re showcasing 21 films with nine films in contention for the top prize, Best Picture. As we grow we hope to increase our number of submissions so that we can showcase hundreds of films.”

The festival is hosting its inaugural year online, due to COVID. For those who want to watch any of the narrative and documentary film submissions - and catch sneak peeks at many of the movies - visit The festival runs from February 25 to 27.

Digital tickets to individual films will cost viewers $1.99 each. A festival pass, allowing access to all films, runs $25. The festival will also host a Q&A session with the filmmakers, viewable online. Actress Giselle Eisenberg (The Wolf of Wall Street, American Housewife, Puppy Dog Pals) will announce the festival winners on Feb. 27.


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