2022 Schedule

Keynote Event: The Writer’s Voice: A Conversation with Angela Russo-Otstot

Screenwriter and producer Angela Russo-Otstot joins Bill Garvey, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, for a compelling conversation about the power of storytelling and the creative process.

Panelist: Angela Russo-Otstot

As President of Creative of AGBO, Angela Russo-Otstot leads development on a wide variety of television, film, audio, and gaming media. She is the co-writer and executive producer of Cherry, directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Tom Holland. She also executive-produced The Gray Man, one of Netflix’s most-viewed films. Angela previously taught screenwriting at Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Institute of Art.

Moderator: Bill Garvey

Bill Garvey has spent the last 14 years attracting some of the biggest films to Northeast Ohio, from Captain America: The Winter Soldier to The Fate of the Furious. For 13 years Bill served as a location manager, building relationships with studios and professionals. Since becoming President of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission last year, Bill has continued his work with attracting the wider film industry to the local area.

Event followed by reception

Screening: Finding Kendrick Johnson

In this heartbreaking documentary, director Jason Pollock investigates the brutal murder of high school student, Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead in his school gym and the cover up that followed.

The feature will be preceded by Hello Sunshine (2021), a 22-minute documentary directed by Joe Quint. This uplifting documentary follows the efforts of Roz Pichardo, who is able to channel her past trauma into service by helping the often-forgotten people of North Philadelphia.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on race and equity in the criminal justice system.

1 Hour Free CLE Credit

Finding Kendrick Johnson (2021) – 1 h 42 min
Directed by Jason Pollock
Panelist: Tiffany Alexander

Visiting Assistant Professor, CSU School of Film & Media Arts

Panelist: Aqueelah Jordan

Chief Prosecutor, City of Cleveland

Moderator: Robert Triozzi

Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Screening: A Few Good Men

In this dramatic courtroom thriller, a Navy lawyer who has never seen the inside of the courtroom, defends two stubborn Marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on cinematic narratives based on legal process. Legal experts will weigh in on representation of court room dramas in American cinema.

A Few Good Men will be preceded by Alive Day (2020), a 9-minute documentary directed by Laurel School student, Lindsay O’Keefe. This heartfelt documentary tells the inspiring story of a young swimmer against incredible odds.

1 Hour Free CLE Credit

A Few Good Men (1992) – 2 h 18 min
Directed by Rob Reiner
Panelist: Matt Rager


Panelist: Carmen Mann

Lt in Air Force and ’22 CSU Law Grad

Moderator: Pamela Daiker-Middaugh

Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Screening: The First Step

The latest documentary from the Kramer Brothers (City of Trees, PBS, Netflix, 2016) follows political pundit and progressive activist Van Jones as he pushes for landmark criminal justice reform in an extremely polarized American political landscape.

The feature will be preceded by Huntsville Station (2020), a 14-minute documentary directed by Chris Filippone and Jamie Meltzer. This enlightening documentary follows inmates as they are released from Huntsville State Penitentiary and take in their first moments of freedom at the Greyhound station.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Brandon Kramer.

1 Hour Free CLE Credit

The First Step (2021) – 1 h 30 min
Directed by Brandon Kramer
Panelist: Brandon Kramer

Director, The First Step

Panelist: Debra Winston

Director of Community Corrections Services, Salvation Army Harbor Light Complex

Moderator: Jonathan Witmer-Rich

Associate Dean & Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Event followed by reception

Screening: The Pez Outlaw

This captivating documentary details one of the greatest capers you’ve never heard of: after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an ordinary midwestern man sets out to smuggle Eastern Europe’s rarest Pez dispensers into the United States.

This feature will be preceded by Nickel & Diming (2021), a 9-minute short film directed by Cleveland filmmaker, Fernando Lopez. This is the first episode in a short series about a man who sells his belongings on the internet in hopes of meeting new people through awkward transactions.

The screening will be followed by a panel Q&A session.

The Pez Outlaw (2022) – 1 h 27 min
Directed by Amy Bandlien Storkel & Bryan Storkel
Panelist: Bill Guentzler

Senior Director of Acquisitions, Gravitas Ventures

Panelist: Brendan Gallagher

Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Gravitas Ventures

Moderator: Maria Gigante

Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Film & Media Arts

Screening: Dark Waters

Based on a true story, Mark Ruffalo stars in this gripping drama as Cincinnati lawyer Robert Bilott, who risks his career, health, and family to take on one of the world’s largest chemical companies and bring justice to a small town slowly being poisoned.

Dark Waters will be preceded by Paper or Plastic (2019), a 12-minute documentary directed by Cleveland State Film & Media Arts student, Karly Smith. This engaging documentary raises the question, at what cost are we making major changes to become more sustainable in Cuyahoga county?

The screening will be followed by a conversation with Robert Bilott about law, environmental justice, and his decades-long legal battle with DuPont. Lee Fisher, Dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, will lead the discussion.

1 Hour Free CLE Credit

Dark Waters (2019) – 2 h 6 min
Directed by Todd Haynes
Panelist: Robert Bilott

Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Moderator: Lee Fisher

Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Event followed by reception