By Art Thomas
Well over 650 guests filled Pickwick & Frolic for the third annual fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. The black-tie gala was themed to the Academy Awards and held on the night of the awards.
It was called “Road to the Red Carpet.” In fact, guests walked down a red carpet on East 4th Street from the valet parking to the entrance of the popular club. There was appropriate greenery along the way, and the paparazzi took photos of the guests. The photographers were more than “atmosphere” hired for the fundraiser. They gave guests photo opportunities in a variety of locations through the night.
Guests looked sensational, with women especially wearing a variety of Hollywood-inspired gowns.
Inside, every square foot of Pickwick & Frolic was filled. A variety of food stations were kept open for noshing through the night, and several bars placed an emphasis on Champagne, emulating the West Coast parties for “the industry.”
Lisa Mullin, chair of the gala committee, made rounds of the club, celebrating the success of her committee. “We’re hoping to raise more than $150,000 tonight” she said. The committee made sure that there was not a dull moment. Banks of flat screens were everywhere, and in the larger areas of the club, the awards were projected on huge screens. In other corners of the venue, guests could act out scenes from their favorite movie, be photographed with “the stars” and bid on silent-auction items.
The silent-auction items were meticulously chosen for the party. Each was a gem and completely themed to live entertainment. They included trips to Los Angeles tapings, sometimes including airfare, a New York shopping spree and the role of “extra” in a George Clooney film shot in Cincinnati. What a fabulous collection!
As the Academy Awards program began, guests chose to watch from a variety of large or intimate venues. Some remained at barstools with a clear view of a TV screen. Film Commissio Executive Director, Ivan Schwarz, the staff and the committee had a winner of a party.
The Greater Cleveland Film Commission works through a variety of government and private sources to bring film production to the state. Through its film tax credit, many millions of dollars have flowed through the state in wages, hotel nights, vendors and other resources used in film. The funds raised at Road to the Red Carpet, support their efforts.