Best Of 2019

Best New Filmmaker-Focused Film Festival: Cindependent Film Festival

In August 2018, local filmmaker and actress Allyson West launched the Cindependent Film Festival, with screenings in various Over-the-Rhine locations. It was a great success, drawing an overall attendance of 2,104. The event arrived with an impressive degree of planning and organization and also debuted with a scoop — the premiere of Elizabeth Littlejohn’s 24-minute documentary Leelah’s Highway, about Leelah Alcorn,  a Kings Mills transgender teen, who died by suicide in 2014. West — who CityBeat readers named 2018’s Best Local Filmmaker in the Best Of Cincinnati issue — says “Cincinnati needs a home for independent filmmakers.” At a press conference in February this year, she noted that 2019’s fest is already shaping up to be bigger than last year’s with promises of expanded programing, including a film competition presented by Drive Media House, a local commercial production company. (DMH will partner with the selected winning team to make their idea into reality, culminating in an opening night premiere.) Over-the-Rhine’s Woodward Theater will become their main hub, which will allow them to accommodate 220 people per screening and provide concert-quality sound. Just a short walk away on Main Street, The Mini Microcinema will become a filmmakers’ lounge, where attendees can connect over coffee, drinks and snacks. And OTR’s Know Theatre — located on Jackson Street — will be home to screenplay readings. Cindependent Film Festival, cindependentfilmfest.org.