Chagrin Documentary Film Fest Announces Film Selections for 8th Annual Festival

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Film Screenings of 80 Documentary Films to be Presented October 4 to 8, 2017

2017 Official Selection Laurel

“It has been our founding mission to empower talented filmmakers. We are proud to share their stories with our enthusiastic and engaged audience.

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival will screen 80 films during its eighth annual event October 4th-8th, 2017 at venues in and around Chagrin Falls. The selected documentaries represent the work of filmmakers from 28 countries and focus on a wide range of thought-provoking topics. The Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce is the 2017 presenting sponsor of the Festival .

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival has been named one of Movie Maker Magazine’s Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee for the fifth year in a row. The magazine credits the remarkable welcome which the Festival and entire community extends to visiting film directors.

Special Presentations:
“We have invited these films to screen at the festival because of the important issues our society is facing and the noteworthy impact of bringing these stories to Northeast Ohio.”, said Festival Director Mary Ann Ponce, who founded the festival in 2010 to honor her son, David. “We are honored to be welcoming the directors, Colin Hanks, and three time Academy Award nominee, one time winner, Thomas Lennon to attend the Festival this year.” Special presentation films include: All Things Must Pass - Directed by Colin Hanks (USA); Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) – Directed by Colin Hanks (USA/ France); Sacred - Directed by Thomas Lennon (Ethiopia, USA, Egypt, Ukraine, Sierra Leone, Japan, Philippines, France, Canada, Madagascar, Pakistan).

Film buffs will be able to choose documentaries from 10 categories this year. They include:

Emerging Filmmaker:
“This category reflects our commitment to giving a voice to the first time filmmaker,” said Ponce. “It has been our founding mission to empower talented filmmakers. We are proud to share their stories with our enthusiastic and engaged audience.” The films include: Lunatic - Directed by Kent Allison (Canada); Oleg’s Choice - Directed by Elena Volochine, Co-Director James Keogh (Ukraine and France); Running on Empty - Directed by Joey Dwyer and Timmy Dwyer (USA); When I Stutter – Directed by John Gomez (USA); Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland - Directed by Bradley Johnson (USA).

Environmental Films:
Films which highlight an environmental or ecological theme include: Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes - Directed by Jessica and Brendan Walsh (USA); Plastic China - Directed by Jiuliang Wang (China); Straws - Directed by Linda Booker (USA).

Feature Documentaries:
These films include documentaries on any subject which are longer than 40 minutes in length. This category includes: 44 Pages - Directed by Tony Shaff (USA); All the Queen’s Horses –
Directed by Kelly Richmond Pope (USA); Beyond the Powder - Directed by Kara Martinelli (USA); Chasing Evel: The Robbie Knievel Story - Directed by Jesse James Miller (Canada); Deej - Directed by Robert Rooy (USA); Just One Drop - Directed by Laurel Chiten (USA); Mixed Match - Directed by Jeff Chiba Stearns (Canada); Tempest Storm - Directed by Nimisha Mukerji (USA); The Unimaginable Journey of Peter Ertel – Directed by Joseph Cahn (USA).

Human Spirit:
This category celebrates stories of those who are met with seemingly insurmountable challenges, and yet overcome. They are meant to inspire all of us.The films include: Adele and Everything After – Directed by Melissa Dowler (USA); American Veteran - Directed by Julie Cohen (USA); Five Awake - Directed by Susan Willis, Donna Dees (USA); The Last Freedom Train – Directed by Jim Hacha (USA); Nana - Directed by Serena Dykman (USA).

International Documentaries:
This category includes films which are either filmed outside of the US or highlight an important international issue. Accepted films include: The Cinema Travellers - Directed by Shirley Abraham, Amit Madheshiya (India); Cold Warriors - Directed by Reka Pigniczky, Andrea Lauer
Rice (USA); Dreamland: Mark Twain’s Journey to Jerusalem - Directed by A.D. Oppenheim, Diana Zaslaw (USA, Israel); Letters from Baghdad - Directed by Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum (USA); My Hero Brother - Directed by Yonatan Nir (Israel/ India); Tales by Light: Life and Death -Directed by Abraham Joffe (Australia).

Local Interest:
The stories which focus on our own backyard, Ohio, will engage local history buffs or just those filmgoers who are proud of their home state. These films include: Blimp! Sports, Broadcasting and the Goodyear Airship – Directed by Kathleen Endres (USA); Breaking Balls - Directed by
John Vourlis (USA); Burn the Ships - Directed by Danielle Miller, Julia Thorndike (USA); Grove Hill: A True Story - Directed by Molly Gebler (USA); Knife Skills - Directed by Thomas Lennon (USA).

Social Awareness Documentaries:
These films cast a light on current and compelling issues meant to raise public awareness. These films include: Abu - Directed by Arshad Khan (Canada); After Auschwitz: The Stories of Six Women - Directed by Jon Kean (USA); Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock - Directed by Teena Pugliese, Myron Dewey, James Spione (USA); Break the Chain - Directed by Laura E. Swanson & Kirk Mason (USA); For Ahkeem - Directed by Jeremy S. Levine, Landon Van Soest (USA); Hard to Believe - Directed by Ken Stone (USA); The Peacemaker - Directed by James Demo (USA); Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith - Directed by Jesse Nesser (USA); When the Dust Settles - Directed by Glenn Sweitzer and Dave Molesworth (USA).

Student Films:
Ponce said this category is especially close to her heart, since it is made up of aspiring filmmakers searching for an audience. They are directed by high school, college and post-graduate students, and include: Code Yellow - Directed by Erica Jacques (USA); The Impact Point - Directed by Sydney Guthrie (USA); The Sandman - Directed by Lauren Knapp (USA); Searching for Sugihara - Directed by Adam Gross (USA).

For the first time, the Festival is presenting Mockumentary films. A mockumentary film takes the form of a serious documentary in order to satirize its subject. Films presented this year include: And the Earth Will Be Lost to the Flames – Directed by Adam Bertocci (USA); Auto Fist: The Last Aldous Movie - Directed by Jeffrey Lange (USA); Black Cat - Directed by Peter Pardini (USA); King Bloodsucker - Directed by Hollie Brubaker (USA); Man Child of the Kitchen - Directed by Eric Bissell (USA); The Wenis Report - Directed by Molly Gebler and Theo Hawk (USA).

Short Documentaries:
This category includes films on any subject matter with a length of less than 40 minutes. These films include: Blind Sushi - Directed by Eric Heimbold (USA); Caviar Dreams - Directed by Brian Gersten, Liv Dubendorf, Wei Ying (USA); Chasing Stars - Directed by Markus Eichenberger (Switzerland); The Collection - Directed by Adam Roffman (USA); Dribbling Dreams - Directed by Varun Tandon (India); Food City: Feast of the Five Boroughs - Directed by Matthew Fleischmann, Lars Fuchs (USA); The Functional Potter - Directed by Ben Tobin (USA); A Girl Needs a Bike - Directed by Letitia Lamb & Vivien Mason (Australia); Holy - Directed by Lindsay
Daniels (USA); The Illumination - Directed by Tom Scott, Daniel Honan (USA); Kicking All Odds - Directed by Hanny Lee (USA); Lifted: A Ski Film for the Rest of Us - Directed by Oly Mingo (USA); My Dad Matthew - Directed by John Schaffer (USA); Old Men Singing - Directed by Mickey Rapkin and Zachary Weil (USA); The Opera Singer - Directed by Steve Kahn (USA); Pangolins in Peril - A Story of Rare Scales - Directed by Muhammad Ali Ijaz (Pakistan); Peace of Heart - Directed by Josh Hansbrough (USA); Posture - Directed by Daniel Nelson and Nathan Bender (USA); Razzle Dazzle - Directed by Nicholas Kuhar (USA); Return to Normandy - Directed by Wade Sellers (France, USA); Seared - Directed by Ben Gustafson (USA); Three Boys Manzanar- Directed by Preeti Deb (USA); Unbidden - Directed by Ben Harper (USA); Winter’s Watch – Directed by Brian Bolster (USA); The World of Dennis Patton - Directed by S. Kramer Herzog (USA).

About the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is presented by Fevered Dreams Productions, a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to empowering filmmakers to tell their stories. Cash awards totaling $15,000 will be presented to the winning film’s directors, including $5,000 to the overall David Ponce Best of the Fest winner. The top Emerging Filmmaker will claim $2,500 in prize money. All other category winners will each take home $1,000.The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is made possible by grants from Ohio Arts Council and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

Generous support is also received from: Presenting Sponsor: Chagrin Valley Chamber of
Commerce; Gold Sponsors: Chagrin Valley Times; Silver Sponsors: Carnegie Financial, Key Bank, The National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland; Spotlight Sponsors: Automated Packaging Systems, Jewish Federation/Israel Arts Connection, Chagrin Falls Rotary, South Franklin Circle; Supporting Sponsors: Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop, Cleveland Clinic, First Federal of Lakewood, Greater Cleveland Film Commission, Hamlet Village, Junction Auto, Lowe’s Greenhouse, Peppertree Capital. Community and Film Partners: Chagrin Cinemas, Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, Chagrin Falls Township Hall, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, Cleveland Jewish FilmFestival, Federated Church, Inn at Walden, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Generous in Kind Support Provided by: Avalon Castings, Black Box Venues, Burntwood Tavern/M Italian, Croozin, Digital Alchemy, Hilton Homewood Suites, Home2Suites, Hotcards, Hotel Indigo, Jekyll’s Kitchen, Neverbounce, R43, Rock the House, Twist Creative, Transition Studios, Vincent Lighting.

Festival tickets go on sale September 1 at

To become a Festival sponsor, volunteer, or to learn more about the Film Festival’s schedule and activities, visit For more information, contact: Chagrin Documentary Film Festival at 440-247-1591or at chagrindocfest(at)

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