CHAGRIN FALLS — The landmark 10th anniversary Chagrin Documentary Film Festival A Decade of Impact featuring continues through Sunday with some of this year’s biggest attractions yet to come.

Included among them is Saturday’s much-anticipated award presentation show beginning at 8 p.m. in the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre at 40 River St.

Cash prizes totaling $15,000 will be awarded to the top films in 10 categories plus one overall winner of the David Ponce Best of the Festival Award given in honor of the festival’s inspiration, a young filmmaker who lost his life to leukemia. He is the son of CDFF founders Mary Ann and Edgar Ponce.

Prize categories are: emerging filmmaker, environmental documentary, the international film award, social awareness, U.S. documentary, short film, local documentary, the Mary Lerner Spirit Award and the Chagrin Valley Rotary Club “Service Above Self” Award.

The open-to-the-public, admission free awards show will feature TV personality and mistress of ceremonies Loree Vick with Stephen Burks providing musical accompaniment and surprises along the way.

This year’s festival features 83 films from 37 countries which are shown in nearly a dozen venues in Chagrin Falls.


Daily highlights of CDFF’s 10th year follow and don’t forget to watch for and enjoy sidewalk buskers and musicians throughout the festival.

On Friday, the little theater will serve as the venue for the Sustainability in Business luncheon and panel discussion led by the Boler College of Business at John Carroll University. It will follow the 11 a.m. screening of the film “Sustainable Nation.”

A 5-6 p.m. Heinen’s Happy Hour with the filmmakers in the store’s bistro, 20 Plaza Drive, is another not-to-be-missed Friday feature of the festival. All are invited. A $15 ticket includes beer on tap and wine samples along with pizza and appetizers.

Chagrin Falls Township Hall, 83 N. Main St., will become the temporary home of the “CDFF Comedy Club” beginning at 8 p.m. Friday with the screening of three short “mockumentaries” followed by live laughs provided by Chagrin Valley native and University School graduate turned Hollywood “HeadGum” podcast star Geoffrey James. Local comedic talent will also appear.

Saturday is “Family Fun Day” at the festival. The 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. happening is open free of charge to children 10 years and younger. The day takes place at the Chagrin Falls Intermediate School Theater, 65 Philomethian St. where family friendly short films will be screened. They include “Beautiful Rainbow,” “Love, Trails and Dinosaurs,” “Robotics,” “Stolen Apes” and the “Amazing Grace Lemonade Race.” There will be musical entertainment by Mr. Jeff and the not-to-be-missed Hawkin Hunt’s Lemonade Stand (11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.) in support of LifExtraordinary. Local sustainable farm school “Kelly’s Working Well Farm” of Bainbridge will visit and will bring some of the animals who live at the farm.

The National Council of Jewish Women will celebrate its 125 years of “making a difference” Saturday at 2 p.m. in the CFIS Theater with a reception in the adjacent atrium followed by the film “A Woman’s Work: The NFL Cheerleader Problem” at 2:30 p.m. Discussion will follow the film.

Sunday aside from a full schedule of films, this marks the last day of CDFF’s 10th year highlighted by the rousing film “Amazing Grace,” featuring the story of and rare footage from a recording session early in Aretha Franklin’s career. It begins at 6 p.m. in the CVLT followed by champagne and cake in the lobby to celebrate those who have made “A Decade of Impact” possible.

Ticket information, film descriptions and details about everything going on at the festival this year, is available by visiting Another source of information is available on the movie screen in Riverside Park which will provide daily updates.

Visit for other stories about films in this year’s fest.

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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