CIFF on Thursday morning, Feb. 13, announced that Polk is this year’s choice for the DReam Catcher program and award. The program was established in 2019 to honor the life and memory of David K. Ream, a longtime CIFF trustee who died in 2017. Last year’s inaugural DReam Catcher recipient was director Jamie Babbit, a Cleveland native who has worked extensively in film (her comedy “But I’m a Cheerleader” has become a cult classic) and television, where her credits include “The L Word,” “Silicon Valley” and Netflix’s acclaimed “Russian Doll.”
Polk will be in Cleveland during this year’s CIFF, the 44th edition of the festival, which runs March 25-April 5. While here, CIFF said, Polk will meet with Northeast Ohio organizations that support the LGBTQ community, as well as with LGBTQ and film school student groups. The DReam Catcher Award will be presented to Polk as part of CIFF’s Closing Night ceremony on Sunday, April 5.
CIFF said in a news release that Polk is “often referred to as the ‘Father of Black Gay Cinema,’ having created the groundbreaking … gay black series ‘Noah’s Arc’ in 2005 for MTV/Logo.”
Polk’s feature directorial debut, “Punks,” premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, won the Best Independent Feature Film Award at the 24th Cleveland International Film Festival in 2000, and will have a 20th-anniversary screening at this year’s CIFF as part of the DReam Catcher program.
CIFF said this year’s festival will feature screenings of more than 600 feature films and shorts, with more than 400 guest filmmakers coming to town to take part in Q&A sessions with festivalgoers. Program details will be posted at clevelandfilm.org on Friday, Feb. 28, and printed program guides will be available starting Monday, March 2.
Tickets go on sale to CIFF members on Friday, March 6, and to the general public a week later, on Friday, March 13.