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Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Named To MovieMaker Magazine’s “50 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee”

MovieMaker Magazine and Chagrin Documentary Film Festival logo

CDFF has been named to MovieMaker Magazine's "50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" for the 8th consecutive year.

In the village of Chagrin Falls, cars drive by an illuminated sign that reads: Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

The Village of Chagrin Falls has welcomed the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival since 2010.

Chagrin Documentary Film Festival - Mary Ann Ponce speaks to the crowd.

Chagrin Documentary Film Festival - Mary Ann Ponce

Support for documentary storytellers secures CDFF’s 8th consecutive appearance on the coveted list.


For an eighth consecutive year, MovieMaker Magazine has named the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival to its annual list of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” CDFF is one of more than 7,000 festivals worldwide each year.

MovieMaker Magazine cited the Fest’s founding inspiration and commitment to supporting documentary storytellers as a major reason it remains on the coveted list. “This is more than just another film festival,” says attendee Dianne Fukami, director of Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story. “The people who started it and continue to sustain it believe in the power of documentary storytelling and its potential impact.”

In addition to attracting filmmakers anxious to screen their films before the festival’s discerning audiences, Chagrin’s growth has attracted major film distributors, with representatives from several film distribution organizations. Cleveland based Gravitas Ventures recently partnered with CDFF to offer guaranteed distribution to more than 100 million homes in North America to the winners in two categories at the upcoming Festival.

Planning and potential adjustments to the October 2020 Film Festival are underway to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In past years, attendees were treated to nearly a dozen companion events during the five-day run – offering audience members the opportunity to experience the cultural flavor depicted in the films; as well as the chance to meet and interact with visiting filmmakers at daily “Meet the Filmmaker” events; panels and discussion forums. Creative alternatives are being explored for the 11th annual Film Festival.

The festival generates more than $1 million annually for the local economy. The 2019 Festival welcomed a record crowd of more than 13,000 film enthusiasts from 28 states and 142 Ohio zip codes.

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival was founded in 2010 in honor of Chagrin Falls’ filmmaker David Ponce, who lost his battle with Leukemia in 2006. Ponce’s first, and only, film – “The Lost Sparrows of Roodepoort” – is screened annually. As MovieMaker Magazine noted: “The festival was founded a decade ago in memory of young filmmaker David Ponce, who grew up in this pretty small town on the edge of Cuyahoga County.”

The Festival celebrates its 11th annual festival Oct. 6-11, 2020 at venues in and around Chagrin Falls. CDFF recently launched film streaming via its “Docs on Demand” program and is currently planning for a virtual streamed festival in October in concert with screenings in area theaters, as allowed.

For more information, contact Daniel Wingenfeld at or by calling 216-254-5501

Daniel Wingenfeld
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
+1 216-254-5501
email us here

CDFF 2019 Wrap Up Video