PHOTO | Borg vs. McEnroe / CIFF "Borg vs. McEnroe"

Cleveland International Film Festival announces its opening and closing films for CIFF42

By Michael C. Butz

For the first time since 1989, the Cleveland International Film Festival will open at Playhouse Square — and now moviegoers know which film will be screened.

PHOTO | The Drummer and the Keeper / CIFF "The Drummer and the Keeper"

PHOTO | The Drummer and the Keeper / CIFF
“The Drummer and the Keeper”

“The Drummer and the Keeper” will kick off the 12-day festival April 4 at Playhouse Square’s historic Connor Palace, CIFF announced March 1.

Directed by Nick Kelly, the film tells the story of the unlikely friendship formed between two young men: Gabriel, a reckless young drummer with bipolar disorder, and Christopher, a 17-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome who yearns to fit in. This heartwarming story shows the strength of the human bond in the face of adversity.

The film stars a collection of Irish actors, including Dermot Murphy, Jacob McCarthy and Peter Coonan. Special guests expected to be in attendance on opening night include Kelly, Murphy, McCarthy and producer Kate McColgan.

Tickets to opening night at Playhouse Square are $225 per person ($200 for CIFF members). The evening includes the 7 p.m. screening of the film followed by a reception in the KeyBank State Theatre.

The film festival will close with “Borg vs. McEnroe” April 15 at Tower City Cinemas.

Directed by Janus Metz, the film tells the story of the rivalry between two tennis champs: the calm and cool Björn Borg, played by Sverrir Gudnason, and his fiercest competitor, the brash John McEnroe, played by Shia LaBeouf. The story culminates with a legendary meeting on the court at the 1980 Wimbledon championships.

All those in attendance at any of the films showing at Tower City Cinemas on closing night are invited to the Closing Night Ceremony around the Tower City Center Grand Staircase after the screenings. Tickets to any closing night film are $14 for CIFF members and $16 for non-members.

For more information on the 214 feature films and 253 short films that will be shown during the festival, visit beginning at 11 a.m. March 9. Program guides will be available at all Dollar Bank branches, AT&T retails stores and throughout the area the week of March 12.

Tickets go on sale to CIFF members at 11 a.m. March 16 and to the general public at 11 a.m. March 23. Tickets will be available online at, by calling 1-877-304-FILM or in-person at the Film Festival Box Office in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas. cv