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Cleveland International Film Festival names new executive director

Hermione Malone CIFF director
Cleveland International Film Festival
Since its founding in 1977, the Cleveland International Film Festival has had just three executive directors. The fourth, Hermione Malone, starts June 10. The Detroit native previously spent 13 years in Northeast Ohio in leadership positions at the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

The Cleveland International Film Festival has named Hermione Malone as its new executive director. The Detroit native takes over in June when Marcie Goodman retires after 23 years.

Malone, a Detroit native, has worked in nonprofit management in New Orleans and, most recently, with the American Journalism Project in Washington, D.C.

“We are confident that Hermione will use her skills in strategic development, fundraising, program design and collaboration to help CIFF continue to prosper," said Chris Blake, president of CIFF’s board of trustees, in a statement. “I am excited to welcome Hermione back to Cleveland.”

Earlier in her career, Malone spent 13 years in Northeast Ohio, holding leadership positions at Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. During that time, she also served two years as president of the Junior League of Cleveland.

“I have always said that the Cleveland International Film Festival was one of the best things about living in Cleveland,” Malone said in a statement. “I am thrilled to return to the city to lead CIFF at this transformative time.”

Malone will start June 10, working briefly alongside Goodman, who retires at the end of June. By leaving now, Goodman said it ensures that her successor will have time to plan amid the 50th film fest in 2026.

“Part of an anniversary is looking back,” she said. “But even more of an anniversary is to look forward and to have a vision for what the future of this organization is going to be like. So, to have that person in place two years out, I think makes sense.”

The Cleveland International Film Festival was founded in 1977 by Jon Forman. His Cleveland Cinemas still owns the festival’s first home, the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights. He was succeeded by David Wittkowsky in 1992, just after the festival moved to Tower City. Goodman announced a move to Playhouse Square in 2020, which was delayed until 2022 due to the COVID pandemic.

CIFF49 will take place March 26-April 5, 2025, at Playhouse Square.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.