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CLS: Documentary Film Festival

For this week’s Chautauqua Lecture Series, view award-winning documentaries and get a behind-the-scenes look at the stories which inspired them. Presented in partnership with the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. 


“The American Experience”

Monday, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
The documentaries being shown in this session will be about “The American Experience.” Films include: “Common Grounds?,” “The Flagmakers” and “Mr. Ashley Lived Here.”

  • “Common Grounds?”Directed by Raed Truett Gilliam: In an age of hyperpolarization, the University of Virginia examines the political climate on a college campus. Through interviews with students from across the political spectrum, the film asks a simple question: “Can tomorrow’s generation find common ground?” View trailer.
  • “The Flagmakers”Directed by Cynthia Wade, Sharon Liese: In the heart of Oak Creek, Wisconsin sits the largest American flag factory in the United States. These American flags – which stand at venues all around the country and fly in our parades – are stitched by refugees and immigrants from all over the world.
  • “Mr. Ashley Lived Here” Directed by Hannah Timmons: Through interviews and hand-drawn animation, this compelling film looks back at the lives of six individuals who grew up in the sharecropping community on the filmmaker’s family farm and former plantation.

“Incredible Journeys”

Monday, 7:30 p.m. | Orchestra Hall
The documentaries featured in this session will be about “Incredible Journeys.” Films include: “Everestman,” “The Last Last Hike” and “Pony Boys.”

  • “Everestman” Directed by Binod Adhikari: Kami Rita, a professional sherpa, takes on Mount Everest for the 23rd time, attempting to beat his own world record. Despite challenges, Rita approaches one the most difficult journeys on the planet earth.
  • “The Last Last Hike” Directed by Céline François: The incredible 83-year-old Nimblewill Nomad is about to become the oldest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Join him on his epic voyage.  View trailer.
  • “Pony Boys”Directed by Eric Stange: Summer, 1967. Two young Massachusetts brothers – ages 9 and 11 – set off on a cross-country journey with their family pet, a Shetland pony named King.

“Local Stories”

Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
The documentaries shown will be about “Local Stories.” Films include: “American Dinner,” “American Heartbreak,” “Creating Community Through Wine: The CLE Urban Winery Story,” “From Mopping the Floors to Making the Cakes,” “The Story of Archie’s Hough Bakeries,” “Olympic Oaks,” “Continuing Jesse Owens’ Legacy” and “The Superior Pho of Cleveland.”

  • “American Dinner”Directed by Dale E. Omori: A Japanese-American realizes the connectivity of food to other cultures but especially to our past.  View trailer.
  • “American Heartbreak” Directed by Dale Omori, Harlan Spector: Professor Glenn Frank potentially saved hundreds of lives in the aftermath of the Kent State shooting in 1970, but paid the price when his country broke his heart. View trailer.
  • “Creating Community Through Wine: The CLE Urban Winery Story” Directed by Carl Kriss: The story of how Destiny Burns started a Winery in her hometown Cleveland, bringing people together in the process.
  • “From Mopping the Floors to Making the Cakes, The Story of Archie’s Hough Bakeries” Directed by Angelo Merendino: Archie Garner started working at Hough Bakeries in 1968 and ultimately the Head Baker there. After Hough Bakeries closed in 1994, Archie acquired the rights to the name and opened his own bakery.  View trailer.
  • “Olympic Oaks, Continuing Jesse Owens’ Legacy” — Directed by Josh Lawhorn: An incredible story with local roots, following the quest to preserve the last oak tree in existence that was given to Olympic Athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics.
  • “The Superior Pho of Cleveland”Directed by Rocky Nguyen: How a refugee created a refuge for Northeast Ohio’s Vietnamese community, one bowl at a time.

“Feathered Friends”

Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
The documentaries featured will focus on “Feathered Friends.” Films include: “Pheasants of Detroit” and “Honk.”

  • “Pheasants of Detroit”Directed by Diane Cheklich, Diane Weiss: Ring-necked pheasants, typically known as a rural farmland species, are thriving in the open spaces of Detroit.
  • “Honk” — Directed by Cheryl Allison: During the 2020 lockdown, Cheryl Allison spent a lot of time walking around her local park, looking for some peace in the midst of an uncertain world. She could not have expected what came next. While sitting in the park, Allison was approached by a very chatty goose who seemed attached to her almost instantly. But after visiting “Honk” the goose daily, Allison began to realize that something wasn’t quite right. Realizing that Honk was not wild, but an abandoned domestic goose, As the budding friendship blossoms and Allison seeks Honk a new home, he becomes a viral sensation capturing the hearts and minds of millions. View trailer.

“People You Need to Meet”

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
Thursday’s documentaries will feature “People You Need to Meet.” Films include: “Daniel & Nate,” “Lizzi: Deeper than Water,” “The Prospector” and “Rocks 4 Sale!”

  • “Daniel & Nate” — Directed by Lauren Cater: Daniel is a typical  teenager, into football and video games. But for most of Daniel’s life, he’s courageously stepped in as a caregiving youth, providing essential care for his younger brother Nate.
  • “Lizzi: Deeper than Water” — Directed by Gabriel Burch: As swimmer Lizzi Smith competes in the Paralympics, she must learn to overcome her mental battles before she can rise in the rankings.
  • “The Prospector” — Directed by Michelle Aguilar: Ernie Lazlo, an eccentric contemporary gold prospector, strives to keep the history of the 49ers alive in an ever-changing world. View trailer.
  • “Rocks 4 Sale!” — Directed by David Dibble: Kids in the former mining town of Silverton, Colorado, greet tourists with a time-honored rite of passage. View trailer.

“Water is Life”

Friday, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
“Water is Life” is the documentary theme for Friday. Films include: “Dream of Clean Water,” “Fishing for Trash,” “Reviving Rivers” and “Running Home-The Run4 Water Story.”

  • “Dream of Clean Water” Directed by Nathan Kuczmarski: Captures the monumental journey to restore Cleveland’s rivers and lakes following the passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act.
  • “Fishing for Trash” Directed by Devin Cathcart: Meet Eddie Olchansky, fisherman turned trash collector, who spends his time kayaking Northeast Ohio’s waterways collecting garbage before it flows into Lake Erie.
  • “Reviving Rivers” Directed by Christopher J Carter, Raleigh E Latham: Can we revive our rivers and landscapes? Can we bring water back to regions that have been desertified? Yes we can, and this example shows us how.”  View trailer.
  • “Running Home – The Run4Water Story” Directed by Scott Leighton: Over 11 days, clean water activist Katie Spotz ran 341 miles across the state of Ohio breaking an incredible world record. Fueling her journey was the goal of funding 11 water projects in Uganda, with every step getting us closer to a world where everyone has access to safe water.   View trailer.

Full Screening of All Documentary Film Festival Movies

Saturday, 10 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
Sit back and enjoy a full screening of all the documentaries shown throughout the week.

The event is finished.


Jun 05 - 10, 2023

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Jun 05 - 10, 2023


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