The all-virtual 11th Annual Chagrin Documentary Film Festival gets underway next week beginning on Tuesday and running through Oct. 11. That means it is time to study the program and find those we can’t wait to see.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, by the way. Did we mention there are 101 docs to choose from? The good news, as you may have read, is this year’s COVID-19 inspired virtual version of the festival is not time and place sensitive, so streaming your picks can happen on most electronic devices at any time of the day or night throughout the festival.
That means we won’t need to sacrifice one film for another just because they screen at the same time and no need to find parking either. The festival’s novel drive-in venue offers 90 spaces.
Worries over, now it is time to pick what we want to see. Grab a program, we will wait. OK, ready?
Our must see doc from this year’s line has a title we can’t print because this is a family newspaper and that sets a low bar on what is considered offensive.
With that introduction, we give the scandalously titled “A_ _ _ _ _ es: A Theory,” which investigates why these people exist. Hope it tells us why there are so many of them.
A companion to this film, “The Great Toilet Paper Scare,” an 11 minute shortwhich claims to be the untold story of what happened in 1973 when Johnny Carson made a comment that set off a TP shortage. And you thought April’s barren supermarket shelves were bad.
Speaking of short subject films, the festival is home this year to more than 70 short subject films that run anywhere from 3 to 39 minutes and therefore perfect for those beset with SASS – Short Attention Span Syndrome and/or the SCS – Stir Crazy Syndrome. Why? Because these are being shown in Riverside Park where there is fresh air, other people and not your livingroom. There is social distanced polka dancing. Who knows how, so wear a mask.
We love spooky. And, really, how pre-Halloween-y of the festival to add “The House in Between” to the lineup. Be prepared to be frightened and enlightened as scientists take on “the most haunted house in America” using anecdotal information along with science and paranormal data.
As always, the festival embraces hot button, ripped from the headlines. Films that tackle racism, police killing citizens and immigration are included.
“Black Lives, Black Voices: Racial Injustice and Systematic Racism in America” features the films “Black Boys,” which looks at the spectrum of black male experience in the U.S. and “Unapologetic,” the story of activists who challenged the Chicago administration on its complicity in racial violence.
Female cops are the subject of “Women in Blue,” which looks at the Minneapolis Police Department and its female chief who added more women to the ranks because statistically they use less force on the job.
Speaking of the gentler sex, Window staffers love this statistic: Of the 101 documentaries, 43 were made by women.
Here are other fun facts:
There are 33 Chagrin Valley Jaycees who, without being asked, volunteered to direct traffic and greet guests during drive-in hours.
Rock the House Entertainment has provided equipment for CDFF for years, and the company’s Ben Alison calls the festival week his “favorite week of the year.” This year, the company will have three 16’ x 9’ super bright LED drive in screens visible even in daytime.
The filmmakers cannot be in Chagrin Falls this year to introduce or talk about their films, but 50 of them from around the globe will appear through the magic of streaming and pre-recorded videos..
Another 45 filmmakers will share a live “Virtual Happy Hour” with audience members who will be invited to meet, greet, ask questions and interact in real time.
This year’s festival requires some study to catch onto all of the changes so the festival has set up an all-volunteer help line to answer questions and help streaming newbies through the process. Call 440-247-1591 for absolutely everything you need to know.