Canton Film

Canton Film strives to recognize and support the often-overlooked creative community of Northeast Ohio by providing educational resources, networking, and opportunities to showcase the work of independent artists and filmmakers.

Canton Film Fest 6 - April 27-29, 2017

2017 Films & Artists

Safety Net

Jerry Harris is about to lose his house. He’s a hard workin’ American, out of work for a year. He’s been trying everything but there’s only days left until the foreclosure process starts. His wife is pregnant with their first baby and they love this little house in this working class neighborhood.

How far would you go to save your house? To make things right for your family?

Jerry chases his last hope into an upscale neighborhood. He ends up somewhere he never dreamed, doing something he doesn’t want to.

Is there a safety net for Jerry? For any of us these days? Is there any way to recover the fading American Dream of homeownership?

Our team of filmmakers, actors, social activists and community agencies are working to make this short film about a part of the American Dream that has become increasingly difficult for many Americans to imagine -- holding onto a home. 

Official Site

Andrew Rudd

Andrew Rudd completed his Ph.D. in Communication at Bowling Green State University. His academic training focused upon the intersection of culture, media and rhetoric. His current research and scholarly writing focuses upon the rhetoric of popular film. He is interested in community-based storytelling and has a passion for local film.

Romeo is Bleeding

A fatal turf war between neighborhoods haunts the city of Richmond, CA. Donté Clark transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he and the like-minded youth of the city mount an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with the hope of starting a real dialogue about violence in the city. Will Richmond force Donté to compromise his idealistic ambitions? Or will Donté end Richmond’s cycle of trauma?

Donté Clark’s poetry captures the violence and heartbreak that haunt certain neighborhoods of Richmond, CA. The turf war between North and Central Richmond has raged for decades, with each generation having their own folkloric stories of how the war began. Donté was born in the heart of North Richmond, but found self-empowerment by writing about his experiences there. Now as a young man, Donté offers that same opportunity to Richmond’s youth, through an arts organization called RAW Talent. “Romeo is Bleeding” is structured around one year in the RAW Talent classroom, as Donté leads a cast of high school students in an effort to mount an urban adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet”. As Montague vs. Capulet transforms into North vs. Central, the students of RAW Talent delve deeper into the socio- economic issues that drive the violence in their city. As the play comes together on the stage, real life begins to parallel the Shakespearean tragedy. Pushed to his limits, Donté must decide if he is capable of being the leader that Richmond’s youth wants and needs him to be. The film is set in Richmond, CA, but it captures the complexities of systematic injustices which play out in inner cities across the country. As the nation wrestles with proper policing methods and curbing the gun violence epidemic, Donté reminds us that a major piece of the puzzle is the arts, and creating safe spaces for healthy expression in every community.

Official Site

Donté Clark

Donté Clark is a poet, emcee, educator and activist from Richmond, California. As a founding member and artistic director of the RAW Talent Creative Arts Program, Donté wears many hats- coordinating shows and field trips, teaching poetry and theater workshops to low-income youth in his community and coaching his students to find their voices through performance and publication. Donté is a well-known spoken word poet and emcee in the Bay Area- he is asked to perform at schools, conferences, poetry readings and hip hop shows on a regular basis. He was accepted to the VONA program, a prestigious week-long conference for writers of color. Donté’s primary focus is ending the violence that has plagued his community and impacted him deeply- he uses his art and curriculum as a call to action. In the last few years, Donté hosted a town hall on violence in Richmond and took the lead with planning and writing the majority of the script for “Té’s Harmony”. This year he wrote and directed a new play, “Po’Boys Kitchen”, which premiered in March 2014.  He continues to spark such critical dialogue and encourages his students to do the same. 

Jason Zeldes

Jason is a documentary director and editor, best known for editing the 2013 Academy Award ® winning film,  “Twenty Feet From Stardom”.  The film earned Zeldes an ACE Award for Best Edited Documentary Feature, and led to other exciting collaborations, including work with the Oceanic Preservation Society on “Racing Extinction” which premiered at Sundance 2015.  Prior to his editing career, Jason worked as an assistant to acclaimed filmmakers such as Doug Blush, Kirby Dick, and Patrick Creadon.  “Romeo is Bleeding” is Jason’s directorial debut.

Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown

Jim Traficant was a legendary quarterback turned mob busting Walking Tall Sheriff who rose to power on a platform of “honesty in politics”. He quickly ascended to the hallowed halls of Congress, becoming its most outspoken member. "Jimbo" as his die-hard supporters called him, was known for his polyester thrift store suits, shock top wigs, vulgar humor and profanity laced rhetoric against the FBI, IRS, and every president since Reagan. His one minute speeches made C-SPAN must see programming, as he signed off with his patented “Beam Me Up!”

In his post-industrial hometown of Youngstown, Ohio -- dubbed Crimetown, USA for being the most mobbed up city in America -- "Jimbo" was a living legend, once garnering more than 90% of the vote. However, the eccentric maverick also had a dark side, becoming only the second Member of Congress expelled since the Civil War, eventually spending over seven years in federal prison on bribery and tax evasion charges.

After serving seven years in federal prison, Traficant re-emerged in the public eye trumpeting his innocence – like a king returning from exile. In 2010, he ran against Congressman Tim Ryan and finished last, but did garner 30,000 votes!

From the Rust Belt to the Tech Belt -- Youngstown is enjoying a comeback that’s earned worldwide media recognition and global investment. In fact, President Obama stated “A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize everything.”

Official Site

Eric Murphy

Eric Murphy is a filmmaker, and television writer/producer - with credits including History, CBS Sports, and Travel. His previous editing work includes docs for Warner Bros., and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Murphy developed his fascination with politics during his tenure on Congressman Tim Ryan’s State Senate campaign.

Born and raised in Warren, Ohio, Murphy grew up listening to local legends about mobsters and crooked politicians. A proud alumnus of Youngstown State University, Murphy earned a MFA from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. Murphy's acclaimed debut feature documentary is based on notorious Ohio Congressman Jim Traficant, released theatrically in 2016.

 

Contract Redemption 

When the World’s deadliest hitman is outmaneuvered by his younger clone, he finds himself unable to protect the only two people he has ever cared for.  The Agency, deeming the hitman as a threat, sends a never-ending barrage of assassins led by his younger, more agile self to eliminate him.  Faced with this threat, the hitman must undertake the most serious mission of his career: to rescue a young girl from the Agency and from a life as an assassin.

The young, teenage girl is a victim of the agency’s genetic experimentation program designed to create perfect assassins.  Now back in agency hands thanks to his clone, the innocent girl is forced into a brutal assassin-indoctrination program.  If the hitman cannot find her in time, she risks being primed to become the agency’s new premiere contract killer.

Though our hitman has lost hope for his own redemption, he has found a sense of purpose in the rescue of the young girl.  Along his journey he realizes his clone is also a victim of the agency’s sins. He knows that he must save the girl from the life of a hitman and that to find redemption for himself, he must save his clone’s soul.

Jeremy Andrew Davis

Jeremy Andrew Davis writes, directs, and produces films that serve to be a force of positive change in the world by blending contemporary issues into immersive, entertaining stories.

Jeremy’s films examine the human condition, exploring themes such as equality, disability, education, and faith, while critically portraying injustice. While this might imply that his films are heavy, these themes are instead subtle undercurrents running below the entertaining surface.

With a mission to be a force of positive change, Jeremy also is proud to serves as co-Vice President of the Canton Film Fest and as Producer of Flite Test.

Official Site

The Long Road to the Hall of Fame

"The Long Road to the Hall of Fame" takes us on an entertaining journey with "The King" Brothers (Malik Farrakhan and Charles King) who are featured in the NFL Hall of Fame.  "The Long Road" documents the life and Evolution of Tony King (Malik Farrakhan) from the NFL to starring in  Major Hollywood Films (The Godfather, Sparkle, Sharky's Machine, Shaft) to currently traveling worldwide as Head of Security for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Group "Public Enemy".  (Film Features Tony King/Malik Farrakhan , Chuck D, Flavor Flav and Charles King. Directed by Reda Zine)tists

Official Site

Reda Zine

Reda Zine is pluridisciplinary artist (filmmaker, musician & professor) born in 1977 in Casablanca who now lives in Italy. In 1998, he was one of the founders of the biggest independent music festival in Africa called “L’Boulevard” of Casablanca and its magazine, L’Kounache (urban music and street culture), and in June 2012 he also became the first open source community co-builder in Morocco (Creative Commons Morocco and www.opentaqafa.cc) and he’s also artistic director for Creative Commons MENA.He studied Arab Media at the Sorbonne in Paris, France and scriptwriting & directing at Cineteca di Bologna, Italy.In 2012 he directed “This is My Story. Or Ours?”: four documentaries produced for the EU on Awareness on Migration, development and human rights through local authorities in Bologna, Seville, Bucharest, and Riga.One of his main interests is censorship in the art of North Africa, Middle East, and beyond.

Sink or Swim

70,000 people worldwide have Cystic Fibrosis. Over 100 people die each year from the disease. While most choose to live life in solitude, there are some who choose to live every day like it's their last regardless of the circumstances. This is Devin's inspiring story of hope and survival. 

Michael Cameneti

Michael Cameneti is a Director/Editor from the Cleveland Ohio area. He has been making videos since he was 11 years old on his father's Super8mm camera, and producing films professionally for the last 15 years. Michael has a knack for telling stories that resonate with an audience. From initial concept & story, to the final touches of sound & color...each and every frame bleeds with emotion. Michael started as a musician at a very young age, and also quickly perfected his skill as a cinematographer. Through the years he has found his true voice as a director, with an understanding & feel for all aspects of making movies. Whether it is a brand film, commercial, short film or feature film, Michael's work stands out with a specific look and style that is sure to catch the audiences attention.

Official Site

 

The Seeker

A daughter's idyllic life is turned upside-down by immense tragedy. As she grows older, her cynicism and apathy towards her new reality is challenged by a reminder from the past that sets her on a pilgrimage that will define her.

Official Site

Jeff Johnson

Jeff is a director, editor, cinematographer, entrepreneur, and founder of his young production company, Motion 117 Productions.  Jeff graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Bachelor’s in Marketing in 2004.  During and after his undergrad, he continued his adoration for the arts into music and photography while working in creative hot-spots like the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN.   In 2007 he became production manager of the orchestral chamber rock band “Cloud Cult” and quickly was swept up in their creative expression.  Since then, he has been collaborating with the group to regularly challenge the format of how the band interacts and engages their audience.

The last two years have been busy: directing, editing, and shooting 2 feature films, and over 65 short films for various commercial, non-profit, and music clients in the region.  In addition, Motion 117 produced a 4-part documentary series called "Stories from the Road” which tells stories of Cloud Cult fans who have overcome immense adversity and come out the other side. 2016 brings with it his first Narrative Feature that he wrote, directed, shot and edited titled, “The Seeker” which stars Josh Radnor of (How I Met Your Mother) and Alex McKenna (What Women Want). “The Seeker" has already won accolades and awards and is set to appear at various national and international film festivals. 

 

A More Civil War

For four days in July 2016 the Republican National Convention convened in Cleveland, Ohio, bringing with it an estimated 50,000+ people including delegates, politicians, journalists, protestors and police. Amid growing security concerns, the secret service along with local authorities created an area dubbed “The Event Zone”– a city within the City of Cleveland inside which limited martial law applied.  Geoff Yaw, a Director at Cleveland’s Think Media Studios using multiple crews trains his lens on characters emblematic of America’s deepest divisions. The compressed time of the four days of the convention and the compressed place of the Event Zone were used as a space in which to create an intimate and authentic snapshot of this turbulent moment in American history.  The Trump phenomenon and America's current and most controversial divides are explored as they attempt to make sense of this complicated moment in American history. But rather than providing answers to the problems of our nation, A More Civil War, instead paints a picture for the audience to confront on its own. The message of the film is borrowed from the words of a popular activist chant: This Is What Democracy Looks Like.

Official Site

Geoff Yaw

Geoff Yaw is a Senior Producer/ Director at Cleveland’s Think Media Studios. His first feature length documentary, KING ME, premiered at the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival. The success of KING ME was followed up by the PBS documentary, STAGING SUCCESS: The Playhouse Square Story, which garnered 2 Emmy Awards.


2016 Films and Artists

Robert Kurtzman

For three decades Robert Kurtzman has been an icon in the world of special make-up, creature effects, and genre filmmaking. His award-winning, photo-realistic effects work can be seen in hundreds of movies including Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, franchises and television series. As the director of such genre hits and fan favorites as Wishmaster, The Rage, and Buried Alive, and as the creator of the modern horror classic From Dusk Till Dawn, his films and amazing special effects have won him legions of fans around the globe.

IMDb

Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps

Beast of Whitehall

Following on the heels of their successful first project, Minerva Monster, the Small Town Monsters’ crew headed to New York this past autumn, in search of the elusive Bigfoot. The second film in the Small Town Monsters series has been filmed and is currently in post-production.  Titled “Beast of Whitehall”, the film tells the true story of the Abair Road creature sightings of 1976 that helped make Whitehall synonymous with Sasquatch. 

Seth Breedlove is a film director, journalist and radio show host from Ohio. He directed the independent documentary hit, Minerva Monster. Brandon Dalo acted as film composer on Minerva Monster and is now taking a producer role for Beast of Whitehall. The two spent over a week shooting in and around the town of Whitehall, along with their crew. 

IMDb

Small Town Monsters

Forced Perspective

“Forced Perspective” is an intimate portrait of iconic artist Derek Hess by filmmaker Nick Cavalier. Since he was a young boy, Clevelander Derek Hess has had a “knack” for drawing. As the son of a WWII veteran and professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Hess also has had a deep appreciation for the discipline and training necessary for creative growth. Nick Cavalier’s FORCED PERSPECTIVE – evokes Hess’s favored artistic technique of manipulating an object’s size in order to create the illusion of distance. It also traces how these values transformed Hess from an unknown concert poster illustrator at Euclid Tavern into an internationally renowned t-shirt designer, post-hardcore concert organizer, and fine artist. In extensive interviews, Hess opens up about his artistic process as well as his ongoing trials with alcoholism and bipolar disorder. Through his intensely expressive mixed media art, Hess not only works through his demons, but also inspires his fans from around the world to do the same. An impressive tribute to Hess’s oeuvre, Cavalier’s documentary highlights the unique perspective this artist brings to the art world.

IMDb

Forced Perspective

Sweet Micky for President

SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT follows Pras Michel, Grammy award-winning rapper and founder of the hip-hop group, The Fugees, as he returns to his homeland of Haiti post-earthquake and finds a corrupt government in paralysis. With no experience or money, Pras passionately mobilizes a presidential campaign for the unlikeliest of candidates: Michel Martelly, aka “Sweet Micky”, Haiti’s most popular and most outlandish pop star.

The idealistic and politically inexperienced pair set out against a corrupt government, civil unrest, and a fixed election system to change the course of Haitian history. When Pras’s former bandmate – superstar Wyclef Jean – also enters the presidential race, their chances seem further doomed and the story takes on the wild twists of celebrity drama.

Pras Michel acts as a masterful storyteller in SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT and Director Ben Patterson brilliantly captures an important part of Haiti’s history as a fledgling democracy struggling to produce a government worthy of the world’s first black republic.

IMDb

Sweet Micky for President


2014 Films & Artists

Brannon Braga

Brannon Braga was born on August 14, 1965 in Bozeman, Montana, and spent some of his youth in Canton, Ohio, graduating from McKinley High School and attending Kent State University's Stark Campus. After transferring to (and graduating from) UC Santa Cruz, he got an internship through the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as a screenwriter on Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

This internship became a seventeen-year stint as one of the most talked-about writers for the Star Trek franchise, and it defined his career. He is a producer and writer, known not only for such films as for Star Trek: First Contact,  and Star Trek: Generations, but for television series such as 24 (seasons 7 & 8), Terra Nova , and FlashForward, as well as Salem. This year, he produced and directed the critically-acclaimed Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.


Bruno Gunn

Bruno Gunn was born on November 8, 1968 in Canton, Ohio, as Bruno Gioiello. The son of Italian immigrants, he initially went to school to be a journalist. After he began his career after college,  the acting bug bit him, and he left a job in advertising to act professionally. Recently, he began using the name Bruno Gunn in his acting endeavors, though he was known by his birth name throughout most of his acting work. Despite his name-change, he steel stays true to his Italian roots, making frequent visits to Italy, where he holds dual citizenship.

Gunn is known for his work on Guiding Light, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire  and Bad Teacher. He has also lent his intimidating presence to such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Sons of AnarchyLater this year, he'll appear in Barely Lethal alongside Jessica Alba and Samuel L. Jackson. At the Canton Film Festival 2014, he will be screening the film After, directed by Pieter Gaspersz.


 

Matthew D. Patron

Matthew D. Patron has possessed a drive to create since he was a young boy, often making movies in his backyard with his younger brother, Dan. After earning his Bachelor's Degree in Education Studies at Kent State University and a degree in video production from Stark State College,  Matthew was able to use his newfound skill set to create numerous education-based short films for his company. Because of the success of these productions, Matthew was eventually asked to shift positions from solely advising students to teaching them the art of making videos--a role which he embraced fully through completely developing his own curriculum and assessments. 

In August of 2011, an unexpected tragedy struck in Matthew's life. His beloved brother, Sgt. Daniel James Patron (a Marine EOD tech who was deployed in Sangin, Afghanistan at the time) was killed while disarming an IED. Faced with the challenge of coping with a loss of this magnitude, Matthew used his love for making movies as a way to heal. He created his first feature-length documentary, Collecting Sgt. Dan in an effort to ensure his brother would never be forgotten. He has also written two books,  I Love You, Dan, and Goodnight and Of Brothers, in tribute to his brother.


Alex Sheen

When Alex Sheen’s father died of small cell lung cancer on September 4th, 2012. Alex titled the eulogy he gave  “because I said I would” because his father was defined by his promises. His father inspired him to encourage people to write promises they meant to keep on note cards in order to make these promises concrete. He started a Facebook page, hoping the idea would catch on and a few people might follow his lead. This idea became the because I said I would. movement, inspiring over a million promises in 105 countries.

He eventually left his job as a Corporate Strategy Lead at a Cleveland IT firm to devote more time to the movement. His own promises include getting 100 tickets to Disneyland for children with cancer and walking 245 miles across the entire state of Ohio in 10 days to raise awareness for the victims of sexual violence (a promise he made to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight). Alex now gives speeches on behalf of because I said I would in order to fund the work of this nonprofit organization.


Erin Brown

Erin Brown is a director/producer/editor who has worked in one of several capacities on projects with Selena Gomez, Eminem, Topher Grace, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, The Olsen Twins, Casey Wilson, Tony Hale, Andy Richter, and Reggie Watts, tamongst others. Her work in film and television has taken her across the United States and around the globe.  Erin is currently helming the feature Honeychild with executive producers Martha Cotton and Kat Landsberg.

In addition to the recently-released short Hotwire, Erin has directed two other shorts currently in the festival circuit: Chasing Hayes, a small town love story starring Kent Boyd; and Wildman Athletica, showcasing the aerial silks talents of Christa B. Allen (Revenge) and Troian Bellisario. Other notable directing credits include “Courage Is” which was picked up by ABC Family for broadcast nationwide. Her work in music videos has won awards in several international festivals and has been featured on MTVu and vh1.com, shooting indie artists to the front of public attention.


Elec Simon

Elec Simon has been influencing both aspiring and established musicians of every age for most of his life. From early childhood on, this self-taught musician and tap dancer has viewed everything around him as an instrument for sharing his passion for music and percussion. In 2005 Elec first joined the professional realm as a cast member of the critically acclaimed Broadway production of STOMP where he still performs occasionally on tour. In 2005, Elec also performed in Tap Extravaganza in NYC, along with Savion Glover, whose performance in Bring in Da Noise Bring in Da Funk inspired Elec to embark on a life of dance and percussion.

In 2004 he co-founded Heartbeat Afrika with Olu Manns. Hearbeat Afrika is an arts education company, fusing traditional African music with American swing. He also regularly hosts drum circles at many Ohio State Prisons where inmates connect in positive ways through music, at times including rival gang members in the same circle. Elec also shares his message twice a month at Indian River Juvenile Facility, hoping to inspire the youth there toward choices for a more positive future. As a teaching artist with ArtsinStark’s SmArts program, Elec brings his talents to many Stark County schools, teaching percussion as well as hosting anti-bullying assemblies.


Jeremy Andrew Davis

Jeremy Davis brings over a decade of film and television production experience to the table.  As a multiple award-winning writer/director of both narrative and documentary films and as a key crew member of two Emmy award winning shows and a third Emmy nominee, Jeremy shows that he is a talented media professional. 

Jeremy’s experience has developed into an impressive portfolio ranging from live news, game shows, cooking programs, sports, documentaries, to short and feature films with such clients as 20th Century Fox's “Unstoppable,” the Cleveland Indians - MLB, Cleveland Cavaliers - NBA, Fox Sports Net, D24Sports (trainers of pro athletes), ABC, PBS, NPR, Nationwide Insurance, the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western University, Kent State University and many more. 

His credits include producing, writing, directing, editing, and cinematography.  With a keen eye and an artistic view, he brings stories to life with stunning imagery. Today, Jeremy is the Founder/Director of Wildfire Media Studios LTD. 


Joe Siebert

Joe Siebert graduated from Malone University in 2008 and went straight into directing commercial video productions for a local company, where he gained much experience working with professionals and learning how video production could interface with business. In 2010, Joe directed his first documentary called "The Real Bold Badman," which was featured in the Akron Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival. From there, he sought another opportunity to take on an even bigger project, which, unknowingly at first, would end up materializing with his pursuit of "The Sax Man."


Collecting Sgt. Dan

Collecting Sgt. Dan is about Sgt. Daniel James Patron, USMC EOD tech. Sgt. Patron was killed in action on August 6, 2011 while disarming an IED. The film was created so that brother and filmmaker, Matt Patron, could share the memory of Sgt. Dan with his young children. The film chronicles active duty Marines talking about the hero and his family trying to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. Ultimately, the film serves as Matt Patron's post blast to recover and preserve a memory so that Sgt. Dan's sacrifice is never forgotten.

http://collectingsgtdanmovie.com/


Bully

BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.

http://www.thebullyproject.com/


Contract: Redemption

While fighting to rescue a teenage girl, the world's deadliest hit-man is confronted with a new rival; a younger, genetically engineered clone of himself.

http://arcfilminitiative.com/shows/contract-redemption/


The Sax Man

The Sax Man movie is a feature-length documentary about the life and legacy of Cleveland's iconic street musician, Maurice Reedus Jr. An aging, down-and-out street musician finds renewed purpose when he gets a surprise opportunity to play the big stage for the first time in 40 years. His inspirational story is told through interviews with Reedus himself, as well as with former bandmates and Cleveland locals.

2013 Films