The fifth annual “Road to the Red Carpet” gala raised significant funds for the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. The party was a perfect melding of the West Coast awards with local color. Guests walked down East 4th Street literally on a red carpet flanked by potted palm trees, and were photographed by enthusiastic paparazzi. Entering Pickwick & Frolic, guests had more formal photograph opportunities, and could recreate famous scenes from movies and a cinematic karaoke setup.
The hundreds of guests quickly filled the club, but multiple spaces handled them well. Food stations dispersed guests looking for Italian offerings, a sushi and shrimp bar, and even sugared nuts and cotton candy. They bid enthusiastically at a silent auction that had collections of items ultimately named after a film. A Cleveland Browns package, for example, was called “The Longest Yard.” Another package offered two guests airfare and an invitation to the LA premiere of Johnny Depp’s “Lone Ranger.”
While large screens showed the Los Angeles guests arriving, creative crews in Cleveland interspersed interviews with local guests. Ivan Schwarz, executive director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, reminded guests that there is a lot to celebrate locally, including the return of “Captain America” in May, which will bring in a cast and crew of 500 for filming – and spending – money locally.
Just before the awards began, Tom Hanks made a video presentation. A live auction was broadcast to multiple locations so all of the guests could bid. Guests watched the Academy Awards from multiple locations, checked out their purchases and enjoyed dipping into a chocolate fountain. The heavy local corporate sponsorships, combined with generous support by individuals, made this a successful fundraiser. More than $250,000 was raised to bring more of the exciting film industry to our area.