The Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) is an annual film festival based in Cleveland, Ohio. It is the largest film festival in Ohio. It was first held in 1977, showing eight films over a period of eight weeks at the Cedar Lee Theatre. It has since grown and in 2014 consisted of more than 186 feature films and 168 short films from 68 countries, and over 97,000 in attendance.
The festival started in 1977 with eight films over eight weeks at the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights. In 1991, the festival relocated to Tower City Cinemas in downtown Cleveland. Additional programming and events have also been held at other local venues, including the Capitol Theatre on Cleveland's west side, Shaker Cinemas on Shaker Square, and the Cedar Lee Theatre. In 2013, the festival extended to Akron and Oberlin, screening films at the Akron Art Museum, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, and the Apollo Theatre in Oberlin. With this expansion has come an increase in attendance: In 2014, the festival hosted 97,804 attendees.
Recently, the festival has focused on films that dwell on social issues, including feminism, environmentalism, Jewish and Israeli issues, and LGBT issues. The festival also has a focus on family-friendly films and films from Central and Eastern Europe. In 2014, the festival drew its largest crowd ever, with nearly 98,000 attendees.
The festival offers multiple awards and honors to its films and filmmakers, including for Best Documentary and for Best Central and Eastern European film. In 2006, the festival introduced The Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Film Competition, which honors films focused on social justice and activism and is sponsored by The George Gund Foundation in honor of Greg Gund, who died in a plane crash in 2005. Another major award is the Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film, which has been awarded annually since 1988 and is named in honor of the late Roxanne Mueller, who was a film advocate and film critic for The Plain Dealer.