CIFF47: PSQ March 22 – April 1, 2023 | Streams April 2 – April 9, 2023
You are currently viewing the CIFF46 lineup. Programming for CIFF47 will be announced in early March 2023.

FilmSlam® is the Cleveland International Film Festival’s (CIFF) media literacy program and mini-festival of films for students in grades 5-12. FilmSlam® provides outstanding examples of the filmmaking art, introducing students to other cultures and fostering awareness of people different from themselves.

FilmSlam® serves as an effective program that provides students with deep learning opportunities that go beyond the acquisition of basic skills. These include: evaluating and critiquing the messages they perceive while viewing films (particularly during a time when trusted information is more important than ever); encouraging thought-provoking discussion; embracing curiosity and fueling creativity; and experiencing social emotional growth with the concomitant relevant skills and habits of mind.

As we move to our new home at Playhouse Square, here are a few updates and key pieces of information that will be helpful as you schedule your FilmSlam® reservation(s):

The last day to modify student numbers for CIFF46 FilmSlam® screenings is March 25, 2022. Please note you will be invoiced for your number of reservations, even in the event some of your students do not attend.

FilmSlam payments will no longer be accepted at the door. We ask that you please send a check, PO, or credit card number in advance of your arrival. If it is easier, you can simply request an invoice be sent post-Festival. Those requests can be made directly with Beth Radisek.

Please make your best efforts to arrive 20 minutes prior to your screening start time to give students adequate time to make their way to the theatre. We are unable to delay screening start times to accommodate late arrival, as we have in the past.

Film Festival films – including FilmSlam® films – are not rated. Some films selected to screen in FilmSlam® may contain strong language, unusual humor, and/or challenging topics and themes.

Our Middle School ‘LIGHT’ program is appropriate for middle and junior high school students.

Check out the Food and Amenities guide for those interested in arranging lunch in the District following your FilmSlam® screening.

For additional resources, including parking information, film descriptions, study guides, and more, check out the FilmSlam at Playhouse Square Google folder.

We are so grateful for your continued participation, and look forward to welcoming you and your students to FilmSlam at Playhouse Square! 

Cost is $5 a student; teachers and chaperones are free.

CMSD students receive free tickets and transportation (first-come, first-serve).

For more information or to make reservations, please contact Beth Steele Radisek, FilmSlam Director, at 216.623.3456 x13 or

Support Provided By:

Abington Foundation

Akron Community Foundation

Bruening Foundation

The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation


Kiwanis Foundation

Martha Holden Jennings Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts

Ohio Arts Council

Tom Piraino & Barbara McWilliams

The Reinberger Foundation

Ted and Susan

Third Federal Foundation

Thomas White Foundation

The Absent (作東)

Directed By Hao Cheng
Running Time: 5 Minutes

Many of us have held a spot for someone special, waiting for their presence at the table. To Henri, this dinner has him prepared for a long time. {more}

Ayo Nene (Ayo Nene)

Directed By Daouda Diakhaté
Running Time: 28 Minutes

Alassane, a 30-year-old French-Senegalese, lives alone with his nine-year-old son Yanis in a shabby studio in the suburbs of Bordeaux. Unemployed, Alassane does his best to maintain a balance. The day the juvenile court judge decides to place Yanis in... {more}

Bad Seeds (Mauvaises herbes)

Directed By Claude Cloutier
Running Time: 6 Minutes

Bad Seeds takes us to a bizarre world populated by carnivorous plants that can change shapes the way a chameleon changes colors. The veteran director of "Carface" deftly connects growth with rivalry and evolution with competition, crafting an increasingly shocking... {more}


Directed By Andrew Reid
Running Time: 7 Minutes

While on a routine mission, an astronaut soon finds herself battling for command, facing forces known—and unknown—intent on destroying her. {more}

Candidato 34

Directed By Ryan Marley
Running Time: 37 Minutes

This is the story of Peruvian-Canadian Bryan Russell, the first person with Down syndrome anywhere in the world to run for public office. He is also the first person with Down syndrome to graduate from university in Peru. {more}

El Carrito

Directed By Zahida Pirani
Running Time: 15 Minutes

Nelly lives alone with her elderly father. The only way she makes ends meet is by working as a street vendor from dawn to dusk. She has learned not to trust anyone, but one day finds she must take a... {more}

The Cat Who Saved the Duckling

United States
Directed By Aaron Benitez
Running Time: 15 Minutes

Prince Michael faces his feelings of inadequacy as a parent when the Joneses move in next door. {more}

The Chemical Factory

Directed By Drew Leung
Running Time: 13 Minutes

This short animated documentary features a Chinese immigrant mother recounting her life growing up during the tumultuous 1950s communist China to her American son during the Covid-19 pandemic. Faded memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution are brilliantly rendered using groundbreaking... {more}

Child's Heart (Corazòn Del Niño)

United States
Directed By Salvador Salazar
Running Time: 4 Minutes

Enamored by the poetic game, six-year-old Martín yearns for nothing but a soccer ball. Though unable to afford one, his sister Xochitl does the next best thing and finds him one from the neighborhood as mischief ensues. {more}

Cordelia (第一幕)

Directed By Shelby Zhang
Running Time: 18 Minutes

Chinese middle schooler Liang Yu Xiao refuses her father's help of bribing the theater director to get the leading role of Cordelia in a production of King Lear. {more}

The Crow

United Kingdom
Directed By Glenn Marshall
Running Time: 3 Minutes

A mesmerising animated film using AI to infuse a dance with the ancient personality of the crow. {more}

Date (約會)

Directed By C.Y. Victor Shao
Running Time: 8 Minutes

A nervous man and reserved woman seem uneasy about their dinner rendezvous. However, they try to extend this awkward occasion by ordering dishes that will take forever to prepare. {more}

A Dead Sea (بحر ميت)

Directed By Nahd bashir
Running Time: 15 Minutes

Kamel, a Palestinian man in his 50s, suffers from autism and travels with his paralyzed sister to the Dead Sea to receive medical treatment in seawater in the hopes it will treat the psoriasis that has spread through his body.... {more}

Death and the Lady

United States
Directed By Geoff Bailey, Lucy Struever
Running Time: 8 Minutes

On a dark and stormy night, Death pays a visit to a very old lady and her dog. {more}

Les enfants de Bohème

Directed By Judith Chemla
Running Time: 22 Minutes

Idi and Rita live with their grandmother, Manie. Idi tries to keep the memories they have of their mother by drawing on his school notebook. By the force of their desire, the children keep the link they have to their... {more}

The Eye: Calanthek

United States
Directed By Aaron Sims
Running Time: 9 Minutes

An intergalactic maintenance worker travels to a distant planet to fix a fallen drone, only to discover a hostile force that won't let her leave. {more}


Directed By Joe Bluhm, Michael Joseph McDonald, Nicholas Herd (Creative Director)
Running Time: 6 Minutes

This FreeBird coming-of-age story is about a boy with Down Syndrome who learns to navigate the world with a loving mother, an absent father, a classroom bully, and a life-long crush. {more}

Freedom Swimmer

Directed By Olivia Martin McGuire
Running Time: 15 Minutes

The story of a grandfather’s perilous swim from China to Hong Kong that parallels his granddaughter’s own quest for a new freedom. {more}

Full Out: Inside Ohio Show Choir

Directed By Audrey Leach
Running Time: 88 Minutes

If the story of Glee was told by someone who had actually been to Ohio, you’d get FULL OUT: INSIDE OHIO SHOW CHOIR. Bursting with energy, humor, and sparkling personalities, the film follows the journeys of four high school show... {more}

Grace (Grace)

Directed By Brian Patto
Running Time: 11 Minutes

A father living in war-torn Iraq protects his daughter from violent fanatics using the innocent game of hide-and-seek. {more}

Grumpy Shark (Grumpy Shark)

Directed By John Maslowski
Running Time: 3 Minutes

A girl's visit to the aquarium takes a fateful turn. {more}


Directed By Lisa Maeda
Running Time: 4 Minutes

A young girl trapped within Japanese-American internment finds solace in painting flowers. Her colorful creations come to life and light up her world for a fleeting moment. {more}


United States
Directed By Rafael Jimenez, Alejandro Álvarez
Running Time: 9 Minutes

Friends Rashaun and Damon are talented basketball players from the same inner-city neighborhood. Both are NBA hopefuls, but Rashaun is the more coveted pick among college recruitment scouts. However, Rashaun’s passion isn't basketball and he instead desires to be a... {more}

The Inventor

United States of America
Directed By Philip Musey
Running Time: 15 Minutes

In July 1916, Garrett Morgan and his brother Frank risked their lives to save miners trapped in an underground inferno using an invention of Morgan's own making. But the morning newspapers left their heroic efforts out of the story entirely. {more}

J'ai le Cafard (Bint Werdan)

Directed By Maysaa Almumin
Running Time: 14 Minutes

A woman in a downhearted mood struggles to keep up appearances in front of her chirpy and driven office colleagues. An encounter with a dying cockroach in the office toilet develops into an absurd friendship, becoming the comforting companionship she... {more}


Directed By Émile V. Schlesser
Running Time: 14 Minutes

Once a wealthy family, the Kowalsky’s fortune is gradually falling apart. When the only son comes begging his widowed mother for help, an ugly row escalates between the two that forces them to bitter choices and cruel deeds. A dark... {more}

Laika & Nemo (Laika & Nemo)

Directed By Jan Gadermann (director), Sebastian Gadow (co-director)
Running Time: 15 Minutes

Nemo looks different. Nobody else wears a diving suit and such a huge helmet. But then he meets Laika, an astronaut. {more}

Lalito 10

United States
Directed By Jordan Matthew Horowitz
Running Time: 17 Minutes

When Covid-19 forced his school to close and remote learning proved impossible, a teacher in Guatemala built a classroom on wheels to bring education directly to his students. {more}

Mass Ave

Directed By Omar S. Kamara
Running Time: 21 Minutes

Over a day of landscaping work, a first generation African American and his immigrant father have their tense relationship and different outlooks on life transformed irreversibly when they are racially profiled by police. {more}


United States
Directed By Ian Kelly
Running Time: 9 Minutes

On Memorial Day 1937, police opened fire on a crowd of striking steelworkers in Southeast Chicago, killing ten. How do we remember this history? {more}


Directed By Emily Kuester, Brad Lichtenstein
Running Time: 94 Minutes

Football players were dwindling for teams at Milwaukee’s Messmer (urban and predominately Black) and Shorewood (affluent and largely white) high schools. To give boys the opportunity to play under the famous Friday night lights, the communities decided to merge their... {more}

Monkey Domino (Affendomino)

Directed By Ulf Grenzer
Running Time: 4 Minutes

An ape at the zoo is reminiscing about his life in the jungle. The encounter with a manager and his daughter changes his cage life forever. {more}

Nakam (Nakam)

Directed By Andreas Kessler
Running Time: 33 Minutes

12-year-old violin player Mitka is supposed to execute an attack on several SS officers in the name of a partisan movement. But this attempt will also put his only friend in danger. {more}

No Harm Done (De mal à personne)

Directed By Céline PRIMARD
Running Time: 21 Minutes

Zohra leads a double life—she hides the existence of her husband and their daughter from her mother. Caught between two worlds and in the grip of her older sister, Zohra maintains a lie that has become too heavy to bear.... {more}

Noctuidae (Noctuidae)

Directed By Alexandra Mauritz
Running Time: 23 Minutes

A lonely seamstress receives a strange request: to sew a cloak made only from the wings of moths. A work of delicate beauty is painstakingly crafted, and with it a fragile bond between two lost souls. But as soon as... {more}

Not Too Late

United Kingdom
Directed By Thiago Maia
Running Time: 2 Minutes

This film looks at the impacts humanity is having on the animal kingdom in the hopes of inspiring change. {more}

Painting Class (画画课)

Directed By Yifei Song
Running Time: 11 Minutes

When ten-year-old Feifei wants to enroll for a painting class but is refused by her parents, she steals the money from her brother. {more}

The Park Bench

United States
Directed By Rob Edwards
Running Time: 4 Minutes

As Bella struggles to cope with her father's Sickle Cell diagnosis, she is befriended by an unlikely ally who lends a helping hand (or wing). {more}

Project Turtle (Project Turtle)

United States
Directed By Jaren Leiken
Running Time: 23 Minutes

A student documentary about homelessness by 17-year-old Jaren Leiken (a high school senior in Cleveland, Ohio) that asks three questions: what is homelessness; what are people and organizations doing to prevent and cure homelessness; and how can young people help?... {more}


Directed By Erin Bernhardt, Din Blankenship
Running Time: 80 Minutes

In LaFayette, Georgia, where roadside farm stands of peaches are as commonplace as the Confederate flag, Chris is full of rage. After enlisting in the U.S. Army in response to 9/11, Chris spent 13 years defending his country and learning... {more}

The Rescue

United States
Directed By Michael Pawlusik
Running Time: 8 Minutes

During the conquest of a hostile controlled city, a team of soldiers are dispatched to rescue a wounded tank crew only to discover it’s an ambush. {more}

The Seine's Tears (Les Larmes de la Seine)

Directed By Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Nicolas Mayeur, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Lisa Vicente, Philippine Singer, Alice Letailleur
Running Time: 9 Minutes

Algerian workers take to the streets in October of 1961 to protest the mandatory curfew imposed by the Police prefecture. {more}

Selma, Alabama

United States
Directed By Cornell Calhoun III
Running Time: 31 Minutes

A fictional journey of women on the 1965 Selma March. {more}

So Here We Are

United States
Directed By Cornell Calhoun III
Running Time: 5 Minutes

Pre-teens find interesting ways to cool off during the hottest day of the summer. {more}

The Youth Governor

Directed By Matthew Halmy, Jaron Halmy
Running Time: 86 Minutes

Here’s a thought: Why not consider the actual future to lead us into the future? Youth & Government, a national program of the YMCA, provides the training grounds for impassioned middle and high school students to do just that. The... {more}

Zero Gravity

Directed By Thomas Verrette
Running Time: 75 Minutes

While it’s true today’s 11-year-olds will one day run the world, middle schoolers in San Jose, California are taking their summer break to get a head start. Immersed in their own space race, a group of ambitious students enter the... {more}

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