The second annual Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival starts Thursday in Shaker Heights

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio - The Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival starts Thursday April 18 and goes until Sunday April 21.

According to the festival's executive director, Donna Dabbs, film lovers can check out ten feature films and about thirty to thirty-five short films. The screenings are at Shaker Square Cinema.

Dabbs explained, "Anyone can submit, but the rules say that the principle, there should be an African American or someone of African descent as a director, producer or starring."

According to the festival's website, it was "created to expose, educate and entertain the diverse audiences of Greater Cleveland through innovative and groundbreaking films that depict the African-American experience."

It's the second year for the festival and other organizers said it's a great economic boost to the Shaker Heights community.

"Last year we had about 800 visitors. This year, we're expecting between 1,200 to 1,400 hundred. So if you're looking at everybody spending about $20 per restaurant, that's a lot of money," Alton Tinker, Chairman of the Board for the festival, said.

On Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., there will be an opening movie reception at the Cinema Lower Lounge. Then the first film screening will be held inside theaters two and three from 7:45 p.m. until 9 p.m.

The opening feature film is Elza. It's about a young Parisian woman who runs away to her native Guadeloupe searching to reconnect with the father she never knew.

The festival is also offering free film screenings for high school students and children.

Tickets are $10, but opening and closing night screenings each cost $25.

For more details, check out the festival's website at  http://gcuff.org/

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