Ten-year wedding anniversaries are symbolized by tin or aluminum, which represent flexibility and durability, the two elements necessary to grow a loving relationship.

It’s a good analogy for festivals, too, namely the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th year from Oct. 2-6 in the Village of Chagrin Falls.

The action really begins one day earlier on Oct. 1 with a free, family friendly Chagrin Valley appreciation party starting at 5:15 p.m. in Riverside Park. The event moves to Chagrin Township Hall in case of rain.

There will be film trailers to watch, food and music to enjoy and for those who missed it two years ago, a one-time only re-run of “Grove Hill: A True Story” which screens at 6:15 p.m. The 23-minute documentary traces the history of the pumpkin roll on Main Street’s Grove Hill. It won the audience favorite award in 2017. The hometown party closes with a small-scale fireworks show at 7:30 p.m. in Riverside Park. A bleacher viewing section will be set up near the front or the park.

“We wanted to say a big thank you to our communities for the love and support they have shown us and their patience when film fans crowded downtown sidewalks and our wonderful restaurants,” festival founder and Director Mary Ann Ponce said.

The festival’s opening night gala, Oct. 2 at 5:15 p.m., is set for the newly remodeled Chagrin Falls Intermediate School reception hall and adjacent theater. The event is sold out.

Arriving ticket holders will walk the red carpet, which will have the added sparkle of celebrity interviewer Jan Jones Artz and her sidekick the always affable John Gadd.

Inside the hall, guests will be treated to fine food, refreshments and entertainment before settling into their seats for the opening film and Ohio premiere of “The Weight of Water” at 7:30. p.m. The film will be screened again at the school at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 5.

The heart stopping adventure film focuses on Erik Weihenmayer’s first-person account of kayaking the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He is blind. Director Michael Brown will attend the opening and answer questions from the audience following the film.

Rest of the fest

This year’s festival showcases 83 films from 38 countries and offers audiences a range of true stories from the creation of the iconic Playboy Bunny to a visit with the last male white rhino during the last days of his life and his species.

The 10-year celebration comes to a close with the inspiring film “Amazing Grace,” never-before-seen footage of Aretha Franklin’s recording session, which was filmed at The Temple Missionary Baptist church in 1972.

The documentaries are collected into groups titled social awareness, environmental and international films along with those by emerging filmmakers, made in America films, short films and local films.

Awards and cash prizes will be presented to the winning documentaries in these categories as well as three special recognitions including David Ponce Best of the Fest overall winner.

The free and public CDFF Awards Night ceremony is set for 8 p.m. Oct. 5. Television personality Loree Vick will emcee the show.

There’s more

There is a lot more going on during the film festival than meets the eye, Mrs. Ponce points quipped.

The Main Street dam and natural falls will be illuminated throughout the five days of the festival in celebration of what organizers are calling “a decade of impact.”

Throughout the festival, Riverside Park will be the place to catch up on festival happenings and see film trailers.

The festival reaches out to students from throughout the region with the Illuminate Student Film Trip and one-day visit to the festival and in cooperation with Chagrin Cinemas.

This year’s festival pays attention to the appetites of filmgoers, quite literally. Fine cuisine and everyday munchies always have been a part of CDFF’s offerings. There is a docs and donuts event and come as you are breakfast, both for early risers; an inspiration tea featuring films with a spiritual theme; and a wine tasting with the sommelier featured in the documentary “Somm 3.” Grab a ticket now for the always sold out salad luncheon and films at St. Joan of Arc Church. South Franklin Circle’s festival preview dinner and a film is another annual favorite, and this year, Heinen’s will host a happy hour meet and greet for filmgoers and filmmakers.

Can we talk?

Filmmakers and audiences will have the chance to discuss issues brought to light by documentaries featured in this year’s festival. Panel discussions with the experts on topics such as:

Members of the LGBTQ community will discuss issues faced by transgender teens and their families – and offer advice and strategies for living a confident life – following the film “Changing the Game.”

Filmmakers and film lovers are invited to a discussion of the art of filmmaking, inspired by three of this year entries: “Yarrow: The Virtues of Monochrome,” “Moment to Moment” and “Noble Sissle’s Syncopated Ragtime.” The subject of the documentary “A Girl Named C” and her family along with those who made the film will talk about surviving sexual abuse and welcome questions from the audience.

Television personality Dawn Kendrick is moderator of an industry networking event dubbed “Changing Face of Documentary Film.” The discussion will explore what documentarians see in the future of the industry and what their films could look like. The event is open to the public as well as filmmakers. Pets get their due during CDFF too in the film “The Dog Doc.” The ensuing discussion titled “Taking Care of Man’s Best Friend” will include new and holistic treatments for healing our fur pals.

The expert panel on female wage equality will follow the “The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem,” a film which follows a group of former cheerleaders fighting their former teams and charging them with wage theft and illegal employment practices. Following the films will be an open reception celebrating the National Council of Jewish Women on its 125 years of supporting the cause of social justice and improving the lives of women and families.

The documentary titled “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)” will accompany a discussion of the impact of Middle Eastern culture on the lives of women. The discussion will be led by Barbara and Teeba Marlowe, subjects of the book “A Brave Face.”

A celebration of Hungarian culture will follow the film “Alla Zingara,” which showcases the powerful 100-member Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra, its unique gypsy players, passionate musicians and the uplifting music they create. Those who attend will be treated to Hungarian food and drink and hear local Hungarian musicians.

The film “Love is Listening: Dementia Without Loneliness” will be followed by a discussion between the filmmakers and local healthcare professionals on creating a better quality of life for those affected by the disease.

For specific dates and times of events visit the festival website Festival passes and tickets may be purchased through the website as well.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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