February 7, 2020 – The Cleveland International Film Festival (yeah, I have volunteered for them too) held its Get Shorty film festival, where film fans have the opportunity to see short film entries and vote for the best ones they think should screen at this year’s Festival. Shorts with the most votes are guaranteed a spot at the festival. The screenings were held on our wonderful Playhouse Square, which I will remind my readers is the largest theater district in the United States after Broadway. As a volunteer, I got first crack at a ticket, which I jumped on!
We have had a very mild winter so far, but on this day, there was a slow and constant snow falling, making driving a bit tricky. If this were not a special event, I would simply have cancelled, not worth the hassle. I did make a concession in my wardrobe, principally going with what looks like an outfit for the ski slopes.
My outing started at one of my alma maters, Cleveland State University, to meet with the head of the Queer Student Alliance there, in an effort to work together to develop a volunteer relationship with North Coast Men’s Chorus, in my role as their Volunteer Coordinator. The meeting wasn’t long, but worthwhile.
I then headed to my very favorite Italian restaurant directly across from the theaters. Time after time, I have been there and come away with a great story. This day was no different. The bar was packed, except for one seat, which was all I needed. I sat between two lovely ladies. To my left were three ladies, obviously there after and talking very much about, work. To my right, was a couple. As I sat down, the lady to my right was kind enough to let me know that appetizers and drinks were 50% off until 5:30. It was 5:20. I quickly ordered my two Manhattans and arancini, saving me a bunch of money. The lady to my left was trying to beat the clock, so I flagged down the bartender for her and her co-workers. She was funny in thanking me. I told her I had a big mouth and wasn’t afraid to use it.
My dinner and drinks were wonderful and then Diane and Steve, seated to my right, and I got into a lengthy discussion. We talked about everything, kids, schools, the shows we were seeing, and much more. This has happened to me frequently here. Me talking with a couple, my attire an absolute nonissue. What sweet and wonderful people!
I have talked here about moments, experiences. What I was out to do, watch the films, I hadn’t yet done and I already had plenty of moments. Pretty cool!
I headed over to the theater and enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres and then camped out in my seat on the aisle, front row in the balcony. I really had little interaction with anyone at the theater, except for a fellow co-volunteer at the art museum who loved my hair (😊).
What I learned there was that our film festival is an Oscar qualifier. Many short films featured at the CIFF (Cleveland International Film Festival) have gone on to win Oscars. I was one of about a thousand folks there to vote on which short films would be featured at the festival. We saw nine films, animated films, documentaries, comedies, dramas. It was spectacular! The winner was titled “Sixth of June” and was a tear-jerker about DDay in Normandy. Finishing second was another touching film, animated, about a beautiful young girl who was brutally murdered, called “Girl in the Hallway”. Every film was unbelievable. I was blessed to have been there. Not going to lie, many a tearful moment this evening. I laughed, I cried, I was touched and amazed.
One evening on a wintery day. One moment after another. Time so very well spent.