Black Girls Prepare to Embrace Curiosity? Chauna's picks

The 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival is almost here. Last year was the first time that I attended and the film I saw completely exceeded my expectations. Tickling Giants had humor, heartache, triumphs, and hope.

It was that moment I realized movies shown at CIFF had raw emotion that tug at your heart and mind. So, I have been looking forward to CIFF this year. I have a few picks I believe will be the all-inclusive emotional experiences I crave.

  • American Animals| United Kingdom - Featured in the Sundance Film Festival, this is a true story about a group of four friends who decide to pull off the heist of a lifetime. I love a good adventure movie and this one is sure to give me all the feels.


  • Burkinabe Rising- The Art of Resistance in Burkina Faso |Burkina Faso - A documentary that highlights the group of people who are creating change through in a nonviolent resistance movement in Burkina Faso. With all of the protests and demands for change that we see here in the US, it will be nice to travel to Africa via film and see the fight continue.


  • The Carter Effect| Canada - Vince Carter forever changed the city of Toronto when he joined the Raptors. What he did on and off the court has created a lasting effect. Growing up as a sports fan, I remember Vince Carter and his slam dunks. I am looking forward to learning more about him, especially from Drake. 


  • Five Fingers For Marseilles| South Africa- A tale of a young man named Tau who together with his friends protected their town against police brutality. However, now as a grown man, he finds himself with returning to the town that he fled to help with another threat. He needs his friends and but tensions are still high. I look forward to this take on a modern western. 


  • Pick of the Litter |USA - A documentary that follows 5 puppies on their journey to becoming guide dogs. While all of them won’t make the cut, they each will fulfill their purpose in making a difference in someone’s life. Who doesn’t want to see a feel-good movie about dogs? I can’t wait!


  • Quest |USA - A story about a young adolescent artist who finds comfort with tagging and graffiti at night to avoid being home and enduring abuse. One teacher/coach helps him when everyone else is ready to give up. Their bond becomes so close that it almost seems suspicious. A teacher’s dedication to leave no student behind is almost foreign. My daughter could only name one teacher that she would feel would do anything for her. I want to see this film because it seems sad but very moving. Our kids need more love.


  • Sons of St. Clair | USA - A documentary that follows 2 members of the Grammy award-winning Bone Thugs-In-Harmony, as they decide to return to the music scene creating music for this generation. This movie is not only going to highlight our great City of Cleveland but also the changes that have taken place since the 90’s and still needs to be done. 


  • Tully |USA- A story about a mother of three (Charlize Theron) who is completely exhausted and overwhelmed. Tully is the nanny who comes and shakes up this family in unexpected ways. How many women would do anything to have a nanny? How many women can be brutally honest about how exhausting motherhood is? I’m excited to laugh and nod my head in agreement with this film.


  • Chef Flynn| USA- A documentary about a young man who is so passionate about cooking that his parents turn his room into a kitchen. Creating culinary events at their home, Flynn learns quickly what it’s like to become famous at such a young age. This story is one about a young genius who’s support from his family will help guide him. I can’t wait to see what kind of food he makes and how he handles the pressures of his life.


  •   Local Heroes Program 2 | USA- This is a group of 8 short films that all have ties here in Cleveland. Each one is different and it’s the perfect way to see the highlighted talent here in Cleveland.  I have had the pleasure of meeting the director of One Man’s Perspective, Kevin Taylor, and am great friends with one of the actors in this film as well. I’m really excited to support them both and to have the opportunity to see their work on the big screen.


I hope you take the opportunity to see at least one of these films or one the many others in the CIFF program guide. If you are on a tight schedule like me, the weekend is perfect to time take the day and just watch films or one evening during the week. And to CIFF, thank you for choosing films that leave a lasting impact on our hearts and minds. It’s a great time to be wowed!


Love and Light,