Courtesy of Praq Rado
Producers, directors and film professionals from around the world are joining together this week in Columbus to celebrate the 59th annual Columbus International Film+Video Festival.
The CIF+VF is a five-day string of festivities designed to include screenings of the best films submitted to the Columbus Film Council as well as an awards presentation for the top films chosen by a panel of 80 judges from around the globe. Screenings will take place at Gateway Film Center, Studio 35 and the Canzani Center at Columbus College of Art and Design.
Susan Halpern, executive director for the Columbus Film Council, said that it’s an opportunity to come see work you can’t find anywhere else.
“I am humbled by the creations that we receive,” Halpern said. “You can’t find these works on Netflix. Ohio isn’t known for movies like Hollywood and New York, but these talented professionals are still willing to come to the festival. I love being able to give the public access to these profound filmmakers.”
The festival kicks off Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Studio 35 with the screening of director Lee Percy’s film, “Dreaming American.”
Based on a true story, it’s about a handsome young illegal immigrant in pursuit of happiness who starts working as a go-go dancer in a gay bar while he chases legal status and a career as an actor in New York City.
Praq Rado, starring in the lead role of “Dreaming American,” said the film is based on the real life challenges he has faced as an immigrant.
“It’s always exciting to see ‘Dreaming American’ in front of an audience and I’m looking forward to sharing it with the filmgoers in Columbus,” Rado said. “I hope that by sharing the personal details of my experience viewers will see that while unique, the story represents the experience of millions of others in the same situation.”
Founded by the Film Council of Greater Columbus in 1954, the CIF+VF is the longest continuously running film festival in North America.
Kaveh Nabatian, an award-winning filmmaker and musician from Montreal, will attend as a judge and for the screening of his recent short film, “Vapor.”
“It’s flattering and validating,” Nabatian said. “It’s the first time that I’ve been chosen to be a judge and have my filmed screen at this film festival. I feel like I’ll be introduced to ideas in Ohio that I have never experienced before.”
Details about the festival and a complete schedule of events can be found at www.chrisawards.org.