The 2021 Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, returns this summer with indoor, outdoor and virtual screenings. The festival takes place Thursday, July 8 through Sunday, July 11 in and around Over-the-Rhine. The film slate includes 46 films that celebrate diversity and our shared humanity.
More than 475 films were submitted to the OTR Film Fest. From those submissions, 36 were selected as competition films and nine curated films were selected. As part of the competition slate, prizes will include Best Narrative, Best Documentary, The Power of Voice Award and the Freedom Award. Winners will be announced at the award ceremony – Saturday, July 10, 8 p.m. – at Washington Park. The event also will be streamed for viewing in 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,” said TT Stern-Enzi, festival artistic director.
Opening night, July 8, will feature “Best Summer Ever,” an official selection for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. The film is a fresh take on the summer musical with a fully integrated cast of people – with and without disabilities. “Best Summer Ever” will screen at 8 p.m. in the parking lot located at 329 East 13th Street. The opening night party will take place just prior, starting at 6 p.m. at Braxton Brewery next door. 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,” a standout at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, winning 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 $25 million. The film tells the story of Ruby, who as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) is the only hearing person in her Deaf family. The film will screen Saturday, July 10 at 9 p.m., in both Washington Park 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.
Guided by the belief that every person has ability and value, LADD empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live, work, and connect.
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 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.
Full line-up of films: otrfilmfest.org
- “13th and Republic,” 4 p.m. Ziegler Park
This film was 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
An official selection for the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, “Swan Song” tells the story of a retired hairdresser living in a nursing home in Sandusky, Ohio, whose former client says her dying wish is to have him work on her final hairdo. The post film panel will feature the film’s director, Todd Stephens who is best known for “Another Gay Movie.”
- “Sisters with Transistors,” 8 p.m. Ziegler Park
An official selection at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, “Sisters with Transistors” tells the untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers – composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to transform how we produce and listen to music today. A post film panel will take place after the movie, featuring BETTY the Band, followed by a party at Braxton Brewery with a performance by BETTY.
- “Not Going Quietly,” 10 a.m. Ziegler Park
This film won an audience award at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival and is about Ady Barkan, a lawyer and new father who 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 his and others’ survival. A panel discussion will take place after the film.
- “Determined,” 2 p.m. Ziegler Park
Directed by Cincinnati film maker Melissa Godoy, “Determined” tells the story of three women who lost their mothers 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. Godoy will participate in a post-film discussion.
- “See You Then,” 2:30 p.m. Esquire Theater, Clifton
An official selection for the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, “See You Then” 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.
- “American-ish,” 6 p.m. Ziegler Park
Winner of an audience award for the 2021 Center for Asian American Media film festival, “American-ish” 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. The film’s Director Iman Zawahri and other stars from the film will attend the event.
- “Reinventing the Wheel,” 4 p.m. Ziegler Park
This film won the best documentary 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 as a paraplegic.