CLEVELAND — After 46 years, the team behind the Cleveland International Film Festival knows what needs to be done to put on the major cinematic event, but with their new home came new challenges.
Now, they say both the festival and its neighbors are ready for year two.
The Connor Palace shined with the type of opulence only 100 years of history can produce, and it, along with other Playhouse Square locations, were noticed by people with an eye for cinema.
"One of the great elements of the last 10 days is we have filmmakers coming in from around the world and they're coming in seeing these theatres for the first time and they can not believe their eyes," Associate Director of CIFF Patrick Shepherd told 3News.
While the theatres shined as bright as the square's larger-than-life chandelier, the spotlight has also been on local businesses welcoming in new customers.
"It's been awesome," Lacee Napier with restaurant group Driftwood said. "Usually for Broadway shows and things like that, we have people coming from out of town; concerts, we have people coming from out of town, but everyone's been so nice and so in awe because, for some people, it's their first time being here."
There were enough people in town hungry for eye-catching movies and food that adjustments had to be made.
"Typically, many of the restaurants around here are closed on Mondays, because that's when all the theatres are typically dark," Shepherd explained. "But they all opened because they saw so much business coming in from last Wednesday."
For Driftwood -- which runs several area restaurants as well as all the Playhouse Square concessions -- this festival has taken quite a bit of preparation, and likely will again next year.
"We have so many theatres, so many openings for people to come, so it's been a process." Napier said. "For us, it started many months ago -- instead of these past two or three weeks -- with planning and staffing."
The festival is not over yet: Winners were announced Saturday night and the streaming portion starts Sunday, meaning people attending virtually have a chance to watch knowing what films took home top awards.