CHAGRIN, Ohio — Music is a newfound focus of the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, both on the screen and on the stage. The event, which runs this week, Oct. 2-6, features local musician performances around the city of Chagrin Falls in between movie showings. And in the movie mix, the festival embraces different forms of music with its new “Music Cafe” series.
Tickets to individual movie showings are on sale at the festival’s website.
“Our audience loves music,” festival directory Mary Ann Ponce said. “The pairing, the combination of our festival, is very much embedded in and around the village. To have music all over the place is just fun.”
Live music isn’t new to the Chagrin Documentary Festival; music coordinator Zach Freidhof has brought performances into the schedule for the past three years.
Friedhof said that many of the performances link back to the topics of documentaries. For example, Akron singer-songwriter Angie Haze is paired with a movie about women and entrepreneurship, and a kids’ performance by “Mr. Jeff” will pair with the festival’s family day.
Music performances will also include Ray Flanagan, Ben Gage, Charlie Mosbrook and Gretchen Pleuss.
“I work really hard to pair the music with the film offerings as well,” Friedhof said. “Whatever the themes of the films might be, I try to put musicians in place that are also passionate about that or reflect that theme in some way or another. It’s all tied together.”
This year, music will be highlighted with the “Music Cafe” series, with documentaries about David Crosby, Journey and jazz artist Cecile McLorin Salvant.
One of the “Music Cafe” documentaries, “The Show’s The Thing,” examines the promoters of rock and roll in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and shines a light on the Belkin family which founded Belkin Productions, Cleveland’s legendary concert promotion company. Ponce said Jules Belkin plans to attend the film.
The Music Cafe series has been in the works for a while, Ponce said.
“We’ve always had music documentaries splattered around,” Ponce said. “This year we did a focused concentration on a whole range of newer music documentaries and bringing back some of the best documentary festivals in the past.”
This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, which started as a way for Ponce to honor her son, David Ponce, who died of leukemia in 2006. David was an avid filmmaker — he worked on a documentary about South African children suffering from HIV/AIDS titled “The Lost Sparrows of Roodepoort.”
You can find more information about the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, including a full schedule of films, at chagrinfilmfest.org.