Independents' Day

Cleveland moviemakers roll with the big shots at film fest.

Sure, the 32nd annual Cleveland International Film Festival loads up on flicks about foreign rockers, teen angst, and trannies-in-transition. But among the 290 indie films from nearly 60 countries, five Cleveland moviemakers offer Ohio-centric fare on the fest's six screens.After the fest opens today at 7 p.m. with the Helen Hunt-directed Then She Found Me — about a schoolteacher hitting on her student's dad — the Buckeye vibe explodes onscreen. Take Valda Lewis' Devil's Oven, about the century-old underground fire set during the Hocking Valley Miners' Strike of 1884 (4:30 p.m. Tuesday). Then there's Thomas G. Miller's One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story, about the Cleveland artist and preacher (7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, and 4:15 p.m. Saturday, March 15).Lawrence Hott's The Return of the Cuyahoga depicts the day when the polluted river caught fire in 1969 (4:45 p.m. Saturday and 9:15 p.m. Sunday). Todd Kwait's Chasin' Gus' Ghost spotlights jug-band revivalists like the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian and the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir (11:30 a.m. tomorrow, 7:15 p.m. Saturday, and noon Monday). And Jason Zone Fisher's Swing State traces the effects of Ohio's last gubernatorial election on this year's presidential race. It doesn't hurt that Fisher is the son of Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher (7:30 p.m. Tuesday, noon Wednesday, and 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 13). The fest runs from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily through Sunday, March 16, at Tower City Cinemas, 230 West Huron Road. Tickets are $9 to $12. Call 216-623-3456 or visit
March 6-16, 9-1 a.m., 2008