Chagrin Documentary Film Festival to show 68 entries from 22 countries

Eclectic work showcases world-wide film entries

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio - Mary Ann Ponce scurried around Chagrin Falls' town hall on North Main Street on Wednesday. The founder and director of the Chagrin Falls Documentary Film Festival directs her excited crew handling four venues for films showcased in the village, Wednesday through Sunday, Oct.7.

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is a sign of Ponce's dedication to her son, David, who was in the process of his own documentary when he passed away from leukemia at age 20 in 2006. The film was finished with the help of a friend and his professor. It later went on to win two international awards

"We have documentaries from 22 countries. And a lot of local documentarians and their topics and ideas that you're just not going to see anywhere else," said Ponce. "We have a bunch of filmmakers that will be here through the festival to speak with their films and that's what I find just fascinating."

Alice and Lincoln Day entered their film concerning the effects of war on the environment, one of the 68 out of more than 300 entries accepted. They met decades ago at New York City's Columbia University working their post graduate PhDs in Sociology. They now live in Washington, D.C.

"Participating in the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C., we've seen a lot of very good documentary films about the environment, really very good ones. But, none of them mentioned war and preparations for war, and we thought it was time someone looked into this and we sort of just fell into it," said Lincoln Day.

"I think people who see this film are amazed at the number of different ways that the environment can be damaged by war," said Alice Day. "We talked to one man who served in the Pacific; ships that were sunk during WWII 60 years ago are coming apart and the oil is leaking from those ships. And it's destroying the cull and getting into the mangroves where the fish breed. And he said as far out as you can go in this small area in a boat, you can smell oil just as though it's a gas station."

Ponce said that films don't have a political goal or theme.

"We want them to lay the story out and let our viewers decide what they agree with or don't agree with," said Ponce.

On Wednesday, enjoying the flags of the world's countries on South and North Main Streets were Chantel Michalek and her children. She's happy that the film festival brings this type of art atmosphere to Chagrin Falls.

"I think we got the most excited when we saw the flags go up because it lets people know that, even when they are just casually driving through town, that something different is going on, something interesting, something cultural. And I love that our kids are going to be raised in that kind of environment that host these types of cultural events," said Michalek.

Tickets and festival ticket prices range from $10 for a program of films, to $25 for a festival day pass, or $65 for an all festival pass.

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