2021 Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival: Film Line-Up & Program

OTRIFF_2021 logo46 Films, 36 Competition Films, 9 Curated Films

Cincinnati, Ohio – The 2021 Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, returns this summer with both indoor/outdoor and virtual screenings. The festival takes place Thursday, July 8th through Sunday, July 11th in and around Over-the-Rhine. The film slate announced Monday, June 21st at 5:00 on Fountain Square includes 46 films that celebrate diversity and our shared humanity.

Over 475 films were submitted to the OTR Film Fest, of those submissions, 36 were selected as competition films and nine curated films were selected. Prizes for films selected as part of the competition slate will include, Best Narrative, Best Documentary, The Power of Voice Award and the Freedom Award, and will be announced at the Award Ceremony taking place Saturday July 10th at 8:00 at Washington Park and streamed to Ziegler Park.

“The films selected for the competition slate emerged from the largest and most diverse pool of submissions the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival has ever received,” Says tt stern-enzi, festival Artistic Director. “Nearly 500 films from over 50 countries. To narrow the field down to 36 was a herculean task that our festival screening committee embraced.”

The OTR Film Fest will debut with the opening night film Best Summer Ever, an official selection for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. Best Summer Ever is a fresh take on the summer musical with a fully integrated case of people with and without disabilities. Best Summer Ever will screen in the parking lot located at 329 East 13th Street at 8:00 immediately following the the Opening Night Party taking place at Braxton Brewery at 6:00 p.m. The film’s stars Rickey Wilson and Shannon DeVido will attend the event in person and will set the tone for the weekend.

The festival will close with a screening of the film CODA the 2021 Sundance Film standout film which won the Director Award, The Ensemble Award, and the Audience and Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic film. The film also broke Sundance Records after being sold to Apple+ Streaming for nearly $25MM. The film tells the story of Ruby, who as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) is the only hearing person in her Deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her lover of music and her fear of abandoning her parent. The film will play Saturday night, July 10 at 9:00 at both Washington and Ziegler Park.

“This year’s festival features an incredible selection of films that tell untold stories that celebrate our shared humanity. We have all lost so much in the last year and this festival gives us an opportunity to come together and connect across our differences.” Molly Lyons, Festival Director.

A list of highlighted films is below:

July 9th
13th and Republic (4:00 pm Ziegler Park)
The film 13th and Republic is a project funded as part of ArtsWave’s Truth and Reconciliation Project. 13th and Republic is an Interactive, Operatic, Radical Dance Film directed by Darnell Pierre Benjamin that addresses excessive police force against Black communities and the mental health of the country.

Swan Song (5:30 p.m Ziegler Park)
Swan Song was an official selection for the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, and tells the story of Pat Pitsenbarger, a retired hairdresser living in a nursing home in Sandusky, Ohio. Pat is content with just living his life in the home, Pat finds himself with a new mission when a former client says her dying wish is to have the hairdresser work on her final hairdo. With the need to find the right products to make this wish come true, Pat finds himself struggling on his journey through Sandusky. The post film panel will feature the film’s director, Todd Stephens who is best known for Another Gay Movie.

Sisters with Transistors (8:00 pm Ziegler Park)
The film Sisters with Transistors was an official selection film at the 2020 SXSW film festival and tells the untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today. There will be a post film panel Featuring BETTY the Band followed by a party at Braxton Brewery with a performance by BETTY.

July 10th
Not Going Quietly (10:00 a.m. Ziegler Park)
The film Not Going Quietly won an audience award at the 2021 SXSW film festival and is about Ady Barkan, a lawyer and new father whose is diagnosed with ALS and given four years to live, he finds himself directly impacted by a new legislation proposal jeopardizing essential healthcare programs critical to Ady’s and others’ survival. After a chance confrontation with Senator Jeff Flake goes viral, Ady embarks on a cross-country tour, using his final breaths to fight for healthcare justice to try and create a better world for his newborn son to inherit. There will be a panel after the film.

Determined (2:00 p.m Ziegler Park)
The film Determined was directed by Cincinnati film maker Melissa Godoy and tells the story of three women who lost their mother’s to Alzheimer’s disease and who offer their bodies to a revolutionary study that follows the lives of adult children of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The film’s Director Melissa Godoy will participate in a post film discussion.

American-ish (6:00 p.m. Ziegler Park)
The film American-ish won an audience award for the 2021 Center for Asian American Media film festival and tells the story of two marriage age sisters and their newly immigrated cousin as they navigate the sometimes inevitable tensions that arises between competing societal and cultural norms, with a story that is unconventional, funny and heartwarming. The film’s Director Iman Zawahri and other stars from the film will attend the event in person.

See You Then (2:30p.m. Esquire Theater)
The film See You Then was an official selection for the 2021 SXSW Film Festival and tells the story of Naomi and Kris as they come together a decade after Kris abruptly breaks up with Naomi, to catch up on their complicated lives, relationships and Kris’ transition. The film stars Pooya Mohseni as Kris. Pooya is an Iranian American actress, writer, filmmaker and Trans activist born and raised in Theran, Iran.

Reinventing the Wheel (4:00 p.m. Ziegler Park)
The film Reinventing the Wheel was the winner of the best documentary film award at the Chelsea Film Festival and tells the story of a unique wheelchair community in the Okanagan Valley as they guide newly injured, Dan McLean, through his first year of life as a paraplegic.

For a complete list of films on the OTR Film Fest program, please visit https://otrfilmfest.org/.

The Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, was founded by the Saul Schottenstein Foundation B and is presented by the Edwards Initiative, formerly Financial Independence Project. The festival, set to return July 8-11, 2021, showcases stories that celebrate the human spirit by providing a platform for audiences to see through another’s eyes. The festival also aims to spotlight the Queen City and its role in reframing how we see disability in the entertainment industry’s ongoing discussion of diversity. Learn more at otrfilmfest.org.

About LADD
Guided by the belief that every person has ability and value, LADD empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live, work, and connect. Founded in 1975, the Cincinnati non-profit now supports more than 600 individuals through housing, employment and meaningful community engagement programs. Learn more at laddinc.org.

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