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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

'Champions' stars to host Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival opening gala

Courtesy Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival

Actors Madison Tevlin, Kevin Iannucci and Casey Metcalfe from Woody Harrelson's Champions movie will attend the opening night party at Music Hall July 6.

Actors Madison Tevlin and Kevin Iannucci, who star as basketball players with intellectual disabilities coached by Woody Harrelson in Champions, will host the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival opening night gala at Music Hall July 6.

Madison Tevlin
Madison Tevlin

Also in attendance will be actor Casey Metcalfe, who is also in the film. Champions is from director Bobby Farrelly (Something About Mary; Me, Myself & Irene) and is about a minor-league basketball coach (Harrelson) sentenced by a judge to do community service coaching a team with special needs.

Entertainment that night will include performances by stars of the opening night film, OKAY! The ASD Band Film, and two recent graduates of The Juilliard School who call themselves ARKAI.

The Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, the "nation's first diversity film festival led by people from the disability community," showcases "top-notch films from some of the world's most unique storytellers," according to the OTRFilmFest website.

It is organized by LADD, Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled, which was founded in 1975. LADD currently provides services to about 270 people here.

Kevin Iannucci
Kevin Iannucci

Here's the release:


Opening Night Gala July 6 at Music Hall

CINCINNATI, OH – June 13, 2023 – Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, officially kicks off on July 6 with a star-studded Opening Night Gala at Cincinnati Music Hall.

At LADD, the goal is to provide the dignity of adulthood through housing, health and wellness, day programs, employment, and advocacy. “We envision a world where all can pursue their best life,” says Molly Lyons, film festival director.

And everyone will be living their best life at the Opening Night Gala, coordinated by celebrity event planner Julian Ford, who regularly plans events for a-list celebrities such as the Kardashians and Beyonce. The event will be hosted by stars of Woody Harrelson’s Champions, including Madison Tevlin and Kevin Iannucci. Madison and Kevin will be your MCs for the evening. They will be joined by other special guests including Champions co-star Casey Metcalfe.

The stars of the opening night film, OKAY! The ASD Band Film. will also perform live!

“I am stoked that we are doing the festival launch gala at the gorgeous Cincinnati Music Hall, planned by my colleague and party planner to the stars Julian Ford,” says Kate Siahaan-Rigg, creative chief experience director for Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival. “It is already on its way to being sold out and is going to be a rip-roaring night of music, great food, films and incredible special guests from the worlds of television and film.”

Even the performers playing the cocktail hour and intro section of the night are impressive, Siahaan-Rigg says. “They’re two recent Juilliard grads who call themselves ARKAI, one with family in Cincinnati. They play out of this world electric violin and cello,” she explains. “One of these guys will probably win an Oscar for original music. It’s exciting to share these bright young stars with our audience for the night!”

The Opening Night Gala isn’t the only star-studded party of the film festival. Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival will also host a full schedule of screenings and parties with celebrity drop-ins, food and drink, filmmaker forums and live performances with singers, musicians, poets, comedians and dancers. There’s something for everyone at one of the world’s coolest film festivals. One of the top 25 coolest to be exact, according to MovieMaker Magazine.

Tickets for the Opening Night Gala can be purchased here.

You can also purchase tickets for screenings and other festival events at

About Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival

In 2022, Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, was named one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the world (yes, WORLD) by MovieMaker Magazine. Experience the Festival for yourself this July 6–8 in the heart of the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati.

The Festival, organized by leading disability services and advocacy organization LADD, is known as the nation’s premier inclusion and diversity film festival led by the disability community. The mission of this film festival is to create a sense of shared humanity through stories, conversations, and action. The Festival is focused on giving a voice to the voiceless, empowering filmmakers who are more often than not forced into the margins of media, and telling untold stories that deserve to be heard. LADD brings the Festival to Cincinnati to continue the discussion of diversity and reframe how disability is represented in the entertainment industry.

About LADD

Guided by the belief that every person has ability and value, LADD empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live, work, and connect. Founded in 1975, the Cincinnati non-profit now supports over 650 adults experiencing disabilities through housing, employment, and meaningful community engagement programs. Over-The-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, uses cinema as a tool to build empathy and create experiences for filmmakers and audiences that expand well beyond the screen. Over-The-Rhine Film Festival, organized by LADD, held in the diverse neighborhood of Over-The-Rhine, is the first and only diversity-driven film festival led by people from the disability community.

Learn more

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.