The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival has seen better weeks than the one its staff and board members just lived through. But there were some hopeful signs that balanced it all out.
Within hours of each other, they learned that one of this year’s premiere attractions would not be coming to Chagrin Falls for the fest set for Oct. 4-8 as announced and a visit by a second personality is doubtful due to an injury.
Festival founder and Director Mary Ann Ponce announced due to a conflict, that film and TV star Colin Hanks had to bow out of one of his Oct. 7 personal appearance with the film “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” which he directed.
The film recounts events of the Nov. 13, 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris that killed 130 people, 89 of whom died during the American band Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan Theatre.
The event at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre was to have featured “A Conversation with Colin Hanks,” an interview conducted by his good friend and fellow actor James Madio, a friend of CDFF.
But the production schedule for his show "Life in Pieces" requires his presence on the set the same day as the screening which will still go on at CVLT as planned.
But all is not lost, Ms. Ponce said. “Colin was disappointed he can’t be here afterall but we are still hoping to have his presence via Skype so audience members will still be able to interact with him.”
After that, Mrs. Ponce heard from the star and title personality of the documentary “Tempest Storm.”
The legendary burlesque queen, now 88, was to accompany director Nimisha Mukerji to Chagrin Falls for the Ohio premiere of the film on Oct. 5 at the CVLT.
“Tempest is recuperating from an injury she suffered in an accident while she was attending the Atlanta Film Fest and is still in Atlanta,” Ms. Ponce said last week.
“We're very much hoping Tempest will still be able to attend,” the fest director said. “She is focusing on her recuperation and looking forward to being here if at all possible.”
Plans were underway for a reunion between Ms. Storm and her onetime business associate and legendary Cleveland event promoter Mike Belkin who lives in Russell Township.
Mr. Belkin’s memoir “Socks, Sports, Rock and Art” with writer Carlo Wolfe and illustrator Ron Hill, is to be released on Oct. 4, opening day of the film festival.
On a positive note, Pakistani director Muhammad Ali Ijaz has obtained a travel visa and will accompany his short film "Pangolins in Peril: A Story of Rare Scales," to Chagrin Falls.
Pangolins, scaly ant eaters of India are in threat of becoming extinct due to hunting and their scales are illegally exported to China to be used in traditional medicines.
In his comments to the festival, Mr. Ijaz describes himself as a filmmaker and nature lover who views documentary form as a “powerful tool used to tell great stories to entertain and educate and bring about positive change.”
The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival will take place in several venues in Chagrin Falls during the first weekend of October. The full schedule of films, associated events, panel discussions and ticket information are available through the festival website www.chagrinfilmfest or by calling 440-247-1591.
Programs featuring all pertinent information about the films and the festival are available throughout the Greater Cleveland area.