Taking a something-for-everyone approach, the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival launches on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, April 15.

More than 200 features and 250 short films from 72 countries will screen at Cleveland’s Tower City Cinemas. There are oodles of documentaries, dramas and comedies. You’ll find family films, art films, animated films, food films, gay films, Israeli films, Arab films, sports-related films and just plain weird films.

A few will feature names you know: Charlize Theron, Nick Offerman, Alec Baldwin, Mr. Rogers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Most, you will have never heard of.

The opening night gala, featuring the Irish drama The Drummer and the Keeper, will be held Wednesday at Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace Theatre.

On Thursday, the screenings start in earnest at Tower City with about 50 films per day beginning around 9 a.m. For a complete schedule, go to www.clevelandfilm.org.

For several years, the festival put on a weekend in Akron, but that is not happening this year because of a lack of funding. The non-Tower City locations include the Cedar Lee and Capitol theatres and the Beachland Ballroom.

There is also a screening Friday night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of the new Joan Jett documentary Bad Reputation, to tie in with the events leading up to the rock hall inductions on April 14.

Ohio films

In addition to scores of films from around the globe, there are also a number of movies with Ohio connections.

• A Murder in Mansfield (screens at 7:10 p.m. April 12; 12:20 p.m. April 13; 2:10 p.m. April 14).

This documentary from Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple (Harlan County U.S.A., American Dream) looks at the 1989 murder of Noreen Boyle. Killed by her husband, Dr. John Boyle, Noreen’s body was later found buried beneath the basement floor of their new house in Erie, Pa.

The sensational case drew national attention. The film is told from the perspective of Collier Boyle (now Collier Landry) who was 12 years old when his mother was killed and who testified at his father’s murder trial in 1990.

Collier returns to Ohio in 2016 to retrace the story and confronts his father at the Marion Correctional Institution.

• Kusama - Infinity (screens at 1:50 p.m. April 11; 7:40 p.m. April 13).

Akron-area native Heather Lenz directed this exhaustive look at Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Kusama, who draws and paints in a trippy, avant-garde style that favors elaborate nets and polka dots, struggled mightily against sexism and racism when she first arrived in New York in the 1960s, and was only appreciated much later in life. For the past 30 years, she has lived in a mental institution in Tokyo, painting and creating art in a nearby studio every day.

Lenz, who is an alum of Archbishop Hoban High School and Kent State University, will be at the CIFF April 11-13. Look for our interview with her next week in Sunday Life.

• Assassin’s Code (screens at 8:30 p.m. April 12, at Cleveland’s Capitol Theatre; 2:50 p.m. April 14 at Tower City).

Filmed in Cleveland by director David A. Armstrong (Pawn), this crime thriller stars Justin Chatwin and Peter Stormare.

It follows the trail of rookie detective Michael Connelly as he tries to solve a murder and unearth the truth about his father, a former Cleveland cop, who got caught up in a drug scandal.

• Sons of St. Clair (screens at 9:15 p.m. April 7; 4:20 p.m. April 8)

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are the focus of this documentary from director Tim Newfang.

The hip-hop sensation that started in Cleveland in the early 1990s gets a fresh look as the film follows Bizzy Bone and Krayzie Bone during the making of their New Waves album last year. They also return to Cleveland to visit the old neighborhoods and contemplate the city’s revitalization.

Other Ohio-related films include Coby, which documents a Chagrin Falls resident named Suzanne who transitions to Coby and then to Jake; Manry at Sea: In the Wake of a Dream about Willowick’s Robert Manry, who crossed the Atlantic in a small boat in the 1960s; and To Err is Human from Marietta College alum Mike Eisenberg, a former baseball pitcher who spent a few years in the Cleveland Indians’ minor league system. His documentary looks at the third leading cause of death in the United States: human error.

A number of the short films, shown in blocks of seven or eight, also come from Ohio filmmakers, or were shot in the state.

Safety Net, about battling home foreclosures, was directed by Canton native Andrew E. Rudd; Zion looks at Zion Clark, a wrestler from Massillon who was born without legs and grew up in foster care; Alter Ego, with a running time of 60 seconds, is the shortest of the short films. It was directed by James Paul Koorey Jr. from Parma. He’s 12.

Safety Net and Zion screen as part of Local Heroes Program 1, at 9:15 p.m. on April 10. Alter Ego is part of Family Program 1, which screens at 11:10 a.m. on April 7.

‘Tripped Up’

Yes, you can take that much-dreamed-about trip to Europe and see the sights. Or…

You can take that trip to Europe and compete with other tourists for money and acclaim.

Laura Watilo Blake turned her love of travel into the documentary Tripped Up (it screens at 7:20 p.m. April 10 and 2 p.m. April 11).

In 2015, she followed a group of 18 (nine two-person teams) around Europe on a trip organized by Competitours, which is run by Clevelander Steve Belkin, who serves as guide-judge-instigator. Think of it as an Amazing Race type adventure, minus all of the running.

In addition to scavenger hunts, teams competed in everything from cooking, fencing and rock-climbing to face-painting your partner with chocolate. They spent nine days moving across Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Switzerland, with the top team winning $3,000.

“The festival has such a great lineup of moving documentaries that can help change the world,” Blake said. “If you’re going to my movie hoping to get that, you’re in for a shock. It’s not going to change the world. But you do get to see the world and travel vicariously.”

Blake, who lives in Bay Village with her husband Chris (a CIFF board member) and their daughter, is a photojournalist, travel writer and director. Tripped Up is her first feature film. She also has a new book coming out on April 11 — Ohio: A Photographic Journey.

Blake has a master’s degree in media management from Kent State University. She loved KSU, but also had an eerie feeling whenever she showed up for classes because she was born on a date that lives in infamy: May 4, 1970.

“It felt kind of strange parking there every night where those students were shot and killed. It was a surreal thing to end up going to school there.”

Blake benefited from years spent working in the CIFF’s media hub, where she would interview and film visiting directors.

“That’s when I really learned how to capture good video and audio because I was working behind the scenes,” she said. “I was lucky. I was able to talk with all of these really talented filmmakers. They gave me lots of good advice, and I thought, ‘Maybe I can actually make a movie some day.’ ”

Clint O’Connor covers pop culture. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or coconnor@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClintOMovies.