GCFC FanExpo Cleveland Panel, April 13th

GCFC will present a special movie location-themed panel at FanExpo Cleveland on Saturday, April 13th.

Panel Name: Movies: Cleveland Take the Leading Role

1:00 – 1:45 pm
**MUST have a FanExpo Cleveland ticket to attend**

Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland
300 Lakeside Ave. E., Cleveland, OH 44113
Programming Theater 3 (Room 21)

Panel Summary: Why does Hollywood love to film in Northeast Ohio? Locations, locations, locations! From skyscrapers to small towns, beachfront to backwoods, Cleveland has the unique ability to transform itself into almost any location filmmakers need it to be. Join the Greater Cleveland Film Commission as they take you behind the scenes of some of your favorite movie locations that are right in your own backyard.


GCFC Partnering with CIFF48 for film ‘UNSPOKEN’

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is honored to be a Community Partner with the CIFF48 film UNSPOKEN.

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is a proud Community Partner of the film UNSPOKEN, featured as part of the 48th annual Cleveland International Fim Festival.


Playhouse Square – Upper Allen
Sunday, April 7th, 2024
12:15 pm

Use Promo Code GCFC to save $1 on tickets


Streams Access: United States and US Territories
April 14 – 21, 2024


Closeted Orthodox high school senior Noam (Charlie Korman) is reeling after his grandfather’s death. But when he comes upon a decades-old love letter that could prove he and his grandfather had more in common than he originally thought, he discovers a history that could change his life.

After the death of his beloved grandfather, Noam discovers a mysterious note in his belongings, suggesting Noam may have had more in common with his grandfather than either of them ever knew. While growing up, Noam has heard from everyone that he looks and acts just like his grandfather did when he was young. This has always been comforting to Noam because, as a closeted gay teenager in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family, he has often felt alone and out of place… that is, until he discovers his grandfather’s letter. With his new friend, and potential love interest, by his side, Noam embarks on a forbidden journey to learn more about his grandfather’s hidden past. A touching coming-of-age story, UNSPOKEN embraces discovery of all kinds—most importantly, the discovery of oneself. —G.S.

Directed by Jeremy Borison



Local Heroes Competition

Liminal Space VFX Mixer with Pixel Planet | April 11th

Liminal Space Productions will hosting a VFX mixer on April 11th.

Do you want to learn more about visual effects?!

Liminal Space Productions will host their next mixer April 11th and whether you’re just starting out, an industry professional, or somewhere in the middle you are invited! Their mixers are always free with plenty to learn, plenty to play with, and plenty of free food and drinks!

The April mixer will be a VFX workshop with Brandon Dohner VFX and Pixel Planet Studios! Brandon will be going deep on VFX best practices from pre to post, demonstrating how the magic in post is actually done, and sharing tons of tips on how to set up a VFX shot for success.

Following the workshop with Brandon, Liminal will be screening “211”. 211 is the bank-robber action short that they shot live during their Expo in the fall directed by Ryan Forte with cinematographer Juanmi Azpiroz, AEC . Executive producer and Liminal Owner Andrew Santin will be hosting the screening with tons of fun news about what to expect from the community next!

Event Details:

Thursday, April 11th

Liminal Space Productions
6235 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland, OH 44103
Cost: FREE, registration requested

3:00 pm VFX Workshop, hosted by Brandon Donner, Pixel Planet Studios

4:30 pm “211” Screening, hosted by Andrew Santin, Executive Producer. Followed by Q&A and Social Hour


Cleveland Media Social at Houde School of Acting | Apr 26


Friday, April 26th • 6 – 8 pm
Houde School of Acting
2310 Superior Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114
(Down the stairs and first door on the left, Suite 015)
Cost: FREE, RSVP at the link below


You’re invited to our Cleveland Media Social!

Join Jessica Houde-Morris, founder of Houde School of Acting, and Shannon Ahlstrand, Ohio’s premier Headshot Photographer, on Friday, April 26 from 6-8 pm for some light refreshments to meet or catch up with other creatives.

Free parking can usually be found on the side streets on either side of the building and paid meter parking can be found in front of the building.

Meet some of your fellow Cleveland creatives, play some games, and enjoy light snacks!

CIFF48 Festival Happenings

The Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) is will host Festival events leading up to, and during CIFF48.


CIFF is hosting three Cinemas Preview events, giving film enthusiasts a sneak peek at some of the films that will be on screen at CIFF48. Each event will feature previews of select trailers of films in this year’s lineup, as well as complimentary film vouchers, Film Guides, and light snacks. All events are free and open to the public.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024
5:30 – 7:00 pm
LatinUs Theater Company | 2937 W 25th St., Cleveland, OH 44113
Sponsored by IFF
In partnership with LatinUs Theater Company and Metro West Community Development Corporation
No reservations required


Tuesday, March 19, 2024
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Karamu House | 2355 E 89th St., Cleveland, OH 44106
Sponsored by Equius
In partnership with Karamu House, Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival, and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation
Reservations required – click here


Saturday, March 23, 2024
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Li Wah | 2999 Payne Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114
In partnership with OCA Greater Cleveland Chapter, Li Wah, Cleveland Asian Festival, and MidTown Cleveland.
No reservations required.


On April 8th a total solar eclipse will cross North America with the Cleveland area in the direct path of totality. In celebration, CIFF48 has partnered with Great Lakes Science Center to host special event film screenings and panel discussions as part of their Total Eclipse Fest, taking place April 6-8, 2024. These special events are free and open to the public, and available on a first-come, first served basis at the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater at Great Lakes Science Center.

Great Lakes Science Center will host special screenings and panels of the films “MAESTRA” and “Small Town Universe” during the Total Eclipse Fest in the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater. For more details please visit ClevelandFilm.org


  • Runtime: 88 minutes
  • Description: Women make up only about three percent of all symphony conductors. Luckily, the La Maestra competition at the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall hopes to boost this statistic. Meet five female conductors from all corners of the globe as they train and compete for fame, individuality, and recognition in a male-dominated world. After the film, there will be a Q&A with the film’s director, Maggie Contreras.

“Small Town Universe”

  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Description: Green Bank, West Virginia is the only place in the United States where cell phones and WiFi are not allowed, as they would interfere with the world-famous radio telescope with its sights set on the stars. Meet the residents and scientists who live side by side. After the film, there will be a Q&A with the film’s director Katie Dellamaggiore, and featured subject, Ellie White.



The Festival is thrilled to introduce its newest program designed to celebrate retrospective films – CIFF Retro. The program features screenings of some of CIFF’s most talked about films, as well as eclipse-inspired blockbuster hits, giving film enthusiasts the opportunity to revisit or see these audience favorites for the first time. Tickets for films in CIFF Retro are at a discounted price of $5.


  • MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE: Sunday, April 7 at 4:50 pm | Connor Palace. Guests in attendance: Director Michele Josue, Featured Subjects Judy and Dennis Shepard
  • 9TO5: STORY OF A MOVEMENT: Wednesday, April 10 at 5:10pm | KeyBank State Theatre. Guests in attendance: Director Steven Bognar, Featured Subject Anne Hill and more


  • TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE: Monday, April 8 at 6:00 pm | KeyBank State Theatre
  • Comedy Shorts Retro Program: Monday, April 8 at 6:15 pm | Upper Allen
  • COHERENCE: Monday, April 8 at 8:30 pm | Mimi Ohio Theatre


The Cleveland International Film Festival is honored to present a special tribute to the late and remarkable documentary filmmaker Julia Reichert. Taking place Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 4:55 pm in the Connor Palace, the event will consist of three new documentary short films from Julia’s long-time partner Steven Bognar. Through never-before-seen footage of her life and work, the program will celebrate the legacy and spirit of Julia. Special guests will be invited to share remarks alongside Steven throughout the program.

Picturehouse 411 Virtual Q&A Series with Filmmakers

Virtual talks and personal stories from iconic movies every month!

Picturehouse 441 is a series dedicated to connecting film lovers across the country with some of the greatest movies of all time on a more personal level. Join top filmmakers in live virtual Q&As as they answer your burning questions about the films you love. Whether you’re a cinephile, casual moviegoer, or somewhere in between, we’re excited for you to join us!

The series is programmed by Joshua Handler and evolved from his previous series, Corona Classics Cinema Club, which hosted more than 200 top filmmakers.

Virtual talk tickets are just $6.00 per event.

Upcoming Discussions

  • April 4th at 3 pm ET (12 pm PT)
    • A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE Q&A with actor Viggo Mortensen
  • April 15th at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)
    • FIRST REFORMED Q&A with writer/director Paul Schrader & editor Benjamin Rodriguez Jr.
  • May 1st at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)
    • ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE Q&A with actor Ellen Burstyn
  • May 13th at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)
    • ARRIVAL Q&A with cinematographer Bradford Young, ASC
  • May 21st at 4 pm ET (1 pm PT)
    • BRAZIL Q&A with actor Sir Jonathan Pryce
  • May 30th at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)
    • SHOWGIRLS Q&A with editor Mark Helfrich, ACE


Grog Shop Midnight Rental’s Secret Movie | Apr 10

Midnight Rental LIVE at Grog Shop with your host Lenora!

Hosted by Lenora from the internet hit series Midnight Rental which streams exclusively on The Found Footage Festival YouTube channel, Midnight Rental movie nights bring you the best in VHS horror, thriller, and campy classics… never meant for the big screen! Come enjoy a movie night, mixed with equal parts variety show and bad made-for-TV commercials from the era. Audience members will be surprised with the movie picked for the evening from Lenora’s vault (aka video store rental shelf).

Get to Grog Shop at 7 p.m. for a special lightning round of movie trivia with prizes from local businesses awarded to the winners of each round. At 8 p.m. we’ll screen thirty minutes of the best of bad commercials. Our special movie presentation will start at 8:30 p.m. A movie night menu featuring popcorn, candy, chips, and PIZZA ROLLS will be for purchase throughout the evening.


Wednesday, April 10th
Pre-show retro commercials & fun start at 7:00 pm
Movie starts at 8:00 pm

$7 Advance Tickets | $10 Day of the Event
+$3 at the door if under 21

Grog Shop
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106


Wednesday, May 15th
Pre-show retro commercials & fun start at 7:00 pm
Movie starts at 8:00 pm

$7 Advance Tickets | $10 Day of the Event
+$3 at the door if under 21

Grog Shop
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106



Hosted by late-night horror hostess Lenora, co-host of ‘The Big Bad B-Movie Show’ on The CW in Cleveland, ‘Midnight Rental’ takes viewers on a tour of tapes that are of lesser known and lesser loved movies who never quite found their footing, but still deserve their 5 (15 would still be too generous) minutes of fame. Set in a video store, ‘Midnight Rental’ even has a back room. But, it’s not THAT kind of back room. Designed with late night b-movie level love and campiness in mind, you’re bound to learn something while you’re at ‘Midnight Rental’, whether it’s a bunch of facts about Tom Savini, or the correct pronunciation of Miguel Ferrer’s name (honestly, the jury’s still out on that one.) Just remember, we close at midnight. Join Lenora once a month at ‘Midnight Rental’, exclusively on The Found Footage Festival’s YouTube channel.

Film Forward Documentary Spotlight, Featuring “Reverse RideAlong” (02/10/2024)

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) Film Forward Documentary Spotlight showcased the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion through film during its third annual documentary spotlight on Saturday, February 10th at Tri-C Metropolitan Campus. The event featured the locally produced film, “Reverse RideAlong”. Presented by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, and David & Kristen St. Pierre.


The Making Of…Documentary Workshop encouraged attendees to explore the art of documentary filmmaking in a FREE workshop that went behind the scenes of the film. This workshop provided an overview of the documentary filmmaking process, and offered valuable insights into the creative process, respectful storytelling, and navigating sensitive issues. Participants received guidance on equipment recommendations in addition to a demonstration of how to set up an interview shot.

Featured panelists included Ryan Koppelman, Co-Director of “Reverse RideAlong” and Founder of Beyond the Moving Picture Studios, and Mike Wendt, Production Coordinator at the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. 

Guests also enjoyed a free reception and screening, followed by a filmmaker Q&A. This documentary follows grassroots leaders Jan Thrope and Joe Black as they pioneer the “Reverse RideAlong” initiative in Cleveland, aiming to reshape policing amid escalating community-police tensions. With determination, they navigate the tumultuous history of policing, emphasizing the crucial need for trust and empathy. Jan and Joe orchestrate conversations and activities to foster mutual respect and understanding, creating a foundation rooted in harmony – one relationship at a time. Join them on a transformative journey, a call to action for forging connections in Cleveland’s pursuit of justice and unity.

Following the screening, the filmmakers joined Lowell Perry Jr, GCFC’s Chief Diversity Officer, VP Corporate & Community Engagement, for an engaging Q&A session.


In a city yearning for reconciliation, “Reverse RideAlong” invites viewers to join Jan Thrope and Joe Black on a journey that transcends the conventional narrative of policing. More than a mere exploration, this locally produced documentary serves as a call to action, a testament to the transformative power inherent in forging connections amid adversity. Brace yourself for a riveting journey – a ride worth taking to witness the dawn of a new era in Cleveland’s pursuit of justice and unity.


The GCFC is a workforce and economic development organization driving job creation and economic impact via the growing film and media production industry in Northeast Ohio.

GCFC’s Film Forward initiative focuses not just on what we do, but what we achieve. Central to that focus is ensuring Northeast Ohioans from underrepresented and underserved communities have every opportunity to pursue, participate, and thrive in the local motion picture production industry ecosystem.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and partners, all Film Forward Documentary Spotlight events were FREE.



Jan Thrope is a social worker, a community activist. and founder of Inner Visions of Cleveland dedicated to creating social change by forging relationships across lines of difference. She is the author of two books on the topic: Inner Visions: grassroot stories of truth and hope; and Healing the Space Between Us. After walking the Ohio portion of the Underground Railroad, she and Fran Stewart, and Leanne Moses developed a walking App for the trail called the Ohio Freedom Path.





Joseph Black is a dynamic force for change, boasting over a decade of expertise in community organizing and philanthropy. Since February 2023, he has led transformative strategies as the Manager of Racial Equity and Racial Justice (RERJ) Initiatives at the Cleveland Foundation, with a focus on overseeing the impactful Cleveland Black Futures Fund.

Joseph’s commitment extends beyond his professional role; he actively shapes community narratives as the Vice Chair of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and serves on the Boards of Directors for Refresh Collective, the HealthComp Foundation, and the Men and Women of Central.

A visionary leader, Joseph is also the driving force behind the “Reverse Ride Along,” an innovative community engagement training program. Under his visionary leadership, the program has successfully empowered and educated over 500 law enforcement and medical professionals, aiming to redefine community/police relations and elevate public safety standards.

While his commitment to community is evident, Joseph acknowledges that his purpose and value are deeply rooted in his profound love for his wife Amber and two sons, Jordan and Isaac.

Ryan Koppelman is the founder of Beyond the Moving Picture Studios, an organization he founded in 2018. Fueled by Ryan’s passion for storytelling and his commitment to making a positive impact, Beyond the Moving Picture Studios has emerged as a creative force with a strong focus on humanitarian-based projects.

Ryan’s work transcends traditional filmmaking boundaries and uses the power of personal authenticity to capture compelling visual stories that amplify individual voices. In a world saturated with content, Ryan believes that being a storyteller carries with it a responsibility to use the organization’s creative prowess not just for entertainment, but as a force for good. Indeed, Ryan and his professional associates believe in the narrative approach employed by Beyond the Moving Picture Studio, recognizing that the productions have the potential to shape individuals’ perspectives, challenge societal norms, and contribute to the betterment of our local and global communities.

As the co-director and main filmmaker of the Reverse Ride Along (RRA) Documentary, Ryan got to see, firsthand, how the RRA program works to connect community members and police officers through real and candid conversations, paving a way forward for positive change in the future. Ultimately, the RRA program aspires to make a big city feel more like a small town—a place where community members and police officers know one another, free from mutual fear.

While the post-production process for RRA took longer than originally conceptualized, the final product reflects the great care taken to showcase the program’s process and progress. It is expected that viewers will be encouraged to rethink and reconsider how meaningful person-to-person connections can address this societal challenge.


Year-End Media Mixer (12/14/2023)

Thank you to everyone who attended the GCFC Year-End Media Mixer on Thursday, December 14th  at Music Box Supper Club!

Media Mixers are FREE networking events that allow current and aspiring film professionals to learn about the latest local film industry news, job and training opportunities, and get to know the GCFC and the resources we offer.

Attendees were encouraged to meet new people and talk about upcoming projects and potential opportunities. These events are part of the GCFC’s Workforce Development efforts, always working to make sure our local professionals can network and share ideas about growing the media industry in Northeast Ohio.

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Behind the Camera: “A Christmas Story” Official 40th Anniversary (11/10/2023 – 11/12/2023)

For the first time ever since making “A Christmas Story”…RALPHIE COMES HOME!

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) was proud to host the BIGGEST cast reunion ever of “A Christmas Story” at Behind the Camera: “A Christmas Story” Official 40th Anniversary November 10th – 12th, 2023 at Cleveland Public Auditorium.

Attendees heard behind-the-scenes stories from the production during the Behind the Camera panel on Friday night in the Public Music Hall, moderated by TODAY’s Al Roker, and visited Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) and the rest of the cast at the Cast Expo in the Public Auditorium all weekend for autographs, photo opportunities, and more!

Photos By Gabe Wasylko


“Pink Nightmare” Sponsor


“Bumpuses” Sponsors


VIP Sponsor

“Black Bart” Sponsor



(Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Weather and Feature Anchor, TODAY and Co-Host, 3rd Hour of TODAY
Al Roker is the weather and feature anchor of NBC News’ TODAY, co-host of the 3rd Hour of TODAY and a best-selling author. He joined in January 1996.

Roker came to WNBC-TV as a weekend weathercaster in December 1983 from WKYC-TV, the NBC television station in Cleveland. Roker began his broadcasting career while still in college by landing a job as a weekend weatherman at WTVH-TV in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1974. After graduation he moved on to weathercasting jobs in Washington, D.C. (1976-1978) and Cleveland (1978-1983).

Roker has been named Best Weatherman twice by New York Magazine. He is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Seal of Approval and has been a pioneer in the use of computer graphics for weathercasting. Roker has won three Daytime Emmy Awards as part of TODAY’s recognition as the best morning newscast (2007, 2009, 2010).

Among many highlights of his career as an interviewer, Roker conducted an exclusive interview with Peanuts creator Charles Shultz shortly before his death from colon cancer. Additional interview highlights include Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds, James Earl Jones and B. Smith.

Since 1985, Roker has co-hosted the annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. He also co-hosts the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade. For ten years, from 2001 to 2010, and in 2017, Roker’s “Lend a Hand Today” initiative took him across the country and raised millions to help small charities work towards improving conditions in their communities.

In 1994, Roker founded Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. (ARE), a thriving multimedia company involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video, and public television projects.  ARE produces programming for a diverse clientele including NBC News, Lifetime Television, A&E, The History Channel, E!, Discovery Networks, PBS, TV ONE, Oxygen, The Cartoon Network and NBC Television Stations Group.

Raised in Queens, New York, Roker received his B.A. in Communications from the State University at Oswego in 1976, and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the school in 1998. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts. Roker has two daughters and one son.


Peter Billingsley starred as Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story”. Peter has had a non-stop 45-year-long career. Not only has he acted in over 30 films including “Elf” and “Spiderman: Far From Home”, but Peter has also produced incredible projects including “Iron Man”, “The Break Up”, “Undeniable”, “F Is For Family”, he also directed “Couples Retreat” and most recently produced and starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.


Zack Ward co-starred as Scut Farkus in “A Christmas Story”. Zack has worked consistently over the past 40 years appearing in such films and TV Shows as “Titus”, “Boogies Diner”, “Freddy vs. Jason”, “Transformers” and many other projects. Zack has produced, directed, and written films as well. He also co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”. He just opened his own movie/TV production filming studio near Los Angeles.



Scott Schwartz co-starred as “Flick” in “A Christmas Story”. Scott has also starred with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason in “The Toy” as well as starring in the film “Kidco”. Scott has worked for over 46 years doing Broadway, films, TV shows such as “21 Jump Street” and more. Scott has done several independent films over the past few years and of course, co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.





R.D. Robb co-starred as “Schwartz” in “A Christmas Story Christmas”. R.D. has acted in films such as “The Brady Bunch Movie”, TV shows such as “The Goldbergs” and has produced such shows as “Sirens” on USA. R.D. recently co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.






Yano Anaya co-starred as Grover Dill in “A Christmas Story”. Yano also appeared as the young Eddie Van Halen in the world-famous music video “Hot For Teacher”. Yano has become a well-respected body shaper, personal trainer, and businessman. Yano recently appeared in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.




Ian Petrella was the youngest cast member when he co-starred as “Randy Parker” in “A Christmas Story”. Ian has appeared in TV shows such as “Who’s The Boss”, “Highway to Heaven”, and “Beverly Hills 90210”. Ian has become a puppeteer, web content designer, and producer of animated shorts. Ian recently co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.





Patty Johnson co-starred as “Head Elf” in “A Christmas Story”. A native Clevelander, Patty told the producers she had professional elf experience. Patty still resides near Cleveland and is a drama teacher and aerobics instructor.





Drew Hocevar co-starred as “The Male Elf” in “A Christmas Story”. A native Clevelander, after the film, Drew found his love as a teacher for the past 40 years in Ohio.




Dwayne McLean co-starred as “Black Bart” in “A Christmas Story”. Dwayne has acted in over 50 TV shows and movie productions, but his passion was as a stuntman, for over 45 years! He performed stunts for films including “Saw 3D”, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”, “Rollerball” and over 200 other projects.


Monica Harvey appeared in “A Christmas Story” as one of the classroom kids. She was right behind “poor Flick” when he got his tongue stuck to the pole. Monica’s mom volunteered her to act in the film for a sum total of $1 dollar Canadian. Monica has raised a family where she still lives outside of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada. Monica and Jill are pals to this day.


Jill Young appeared in “A Christmas Story” as one of the funny classroom kids wearing the “false” teeth. Jill’s mom also volunteered her to act in the film, also only getting paid $1 dollar Canadian to do the film. Jill has made a life with her family and has remained near St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada where the 1983 film was made. Jill and Monica have remained friends.