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Reel Cleveland: Capitol Theatre Reopens

And more local film news



Shuttered since 1985, the Capitol Theatre (1390 W. 65th St., 216.651.3010, is set to reopen next week after a multi-million dollar facelift. Originally opened in 1921 as a vaudeville and silent-film house, the theater became the property of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, which has been applying for grants and working with Cleveland Cinemas owner Jonathan Forman to restore it to its former glory. The venue was in such bad shape that plaster from the ceiling covered the seats, requiring that they all be replaced. Much of the original woodwork and plaster pilasters were retained, though the theater was reconfigured so that it will now feature a main auditorium and two smaller rooms upstairs. "You can see all the original moldings and where the original doors were — they've done as much as they can to keep what was here and not just strip it down and replace it," says Cleveland Cinemas marketing director Dave Huffman while providing a brief tour of the still-under-construction facility. The main auditorium will feature a digital 3D screen; the other two screens will use digital technology too.

Coinciding with the completion of a Detroit Shoreway streetscaping project that's part of developing the Gordon Square Arts District, the theater opens with a private gala event on Thursday, October 1. A free ribbon-cutting event with Mayor Frank Jackson takes place at 9 a..m. Friday, October 2, and there's a $35-a-ticket opening-night party from 9-11 that night. Assuming the theater is a success, there are tentative plans to add three more screens and a 250-car parking structure, but that's going to require another $12 million dollars. And though DSCDO has applied for stimulus money, executive director Jeff Ramsey is doubtful their request will be approved.

Slated to take place at the Beachland Ballroom in late November, the first annual Cleveland Grindhouse Film Festival is now taking submissions. Films must be shot in Cleveland or with Cleveland-based crew and talent. "We're looking for anything from exploitation to sexploitation," says organizer Brenna Lee Roth, a Northeast Ohio actress now living in Venice Beach. Winning entries will be screened at the festival, which will also feature appearances by Playboy model from the Youngstown area Lisa Neeld and Another World's Robyn Griggs (Zombiegeddon). Roth will also be in attendance. For submission info, contact

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