Friday, February 04, 2011

CIFF Announces Opening and Closing Films


Cleveland International Film Festival announces opening, closing night films: real-life Ohio wrestler and Carrie Underwood

Published: Friday, February 04, 2011, 11:24 AM     Updated: Friday, February 04, 2011, 12:00 PM
russell-harvard-hamill.jpgRussell Harvard is wrestler Matt Hamill in "Hamill," opening night film at the CIFF.
The inspiring story of a deaf Ohio wrestler and Carrie Underwood's film debut are coming to the Cleveland International Film Festival.
"Hamill," a drama based on the life ofMatt "The Hammer" Hamill, from Loveland, will open the 35th festival atTower City Cinemas on Thursday, March 24. Directed by Oren Kaplan, it stars deaf actor Russell Harvard ("There Will be Blood") and Shoshannah Stern. The opening night gala kicks off at 7 p.m. with a party following at 9. Tickets are $125 ($100 for CIFF members).
"Soul Surfer," directed by Sean McNamara, recounts the true story of the shark attack on teen surfer Bethany Hamilton. It features AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, and Underwood, the American Idol turned country-singing megastar. "Soul Surfer" will be the closing night film on Sunday, April 3.
"I guess it's serendipity because our tag line this year is 'Be part of the story,' " Marcie Goodman, executive director of the festival, said Friday. "Our image campaign will have three posters, the hero, the lover and the rebel. To be opening and closing the festival with real-life heroes is meaningful."
The CIFF will announce the remaining slate of more than 280 films the week of Feb. 21. Tickets go on sale to CIFF members on Friday, March 4, and to the general public on Friday, March 11. For more information, click here.