(Click the photo above to view the gallery)
A couple of weeks ago, Jonah Crismore’s name came across my desk 4 times in 4 days. I realized that I had to meet him and find out what all the buzz was about. Jonah is the new Executive Director of the Cinema Center in downtown Fort Wayne. With his arrival comes a fresh change that can be felt not only in the building but in their outreach into the community in recent weeks. After spending a little time with him, it made sense why I kept hearing his name come up in social circles. I can tell that as Jonah has been revamping the Cinema Center experience, he is very aware of the downtown community and the new concepts we have all been working hard to bring together in recent years. His passion for film and his love for downtown Fort Wayne makes him a perfect fit for Executive Director.
Jonah was born and raised in Fort Wayne but left to pursue college in Chicago. He followed this with a period of time spent in Los Angeles where he had the opportunity to work with the writers of the AMC series “The Walking Dead.” After deciding where to channel his creativity, Jonah made the decision to return to Fort Wayne with his wife, another Fort Wayne native.
Upon their return in 2010, they found that this was not the downtown Fort Wayne they left behind in 2006. He remembers walking around downtown in 2005 with his wife and not being able to find anything to do in the evening. Many restaurants would only stay open for lunch, and you could walk blocks without running into anyone. He is amazed at how much downtown has changed in such a short period of time.
Jonah now sees downtown Fort Wayne “entering into a new chapter.” He sees excitement building around the idea of downtown in ways that he had never experienced before. He says that the “openness that grew from building Parkview Field has grown into something more. Now, people are staying downtown for drinks at Club Soda or dinner at Toscani instead of driving out to the Dupont area.”
I ask him if he loved Cinema Center before he became the Executive Director and he tells me that he has been coming to see movies at the Cinema Center since he was in high school. He said that it always was his favorite place to watch movies and that his love for the building has only grown. It is clear that Jonah plans to grow Cinema Center in ways that will allow it to reach the larger audience it is deserving of.
His plans include using the former ArtLink space to house film education and community outreach. There will be a “Meet the Filmmakers” event in December as well as a Q&A segment. He envisions a more inviting Cinema Center and a possible second screening room. He intends on promoting workshops and classes on digital film-making. In addition to these new concepts, he has been heavily promoting the Midnight Movie Series that are so common in many larger cities across the country.
If you haven’t noticed the changes that are going on at Cinema Center, now is the time to check it out. With more opportunities for movies and events than ever before, Cinema Center will continue traditions like their Oscar party, Artament Auction, Braineaters Ball, and Rock N’ Reel. Cinema Center has also revamped their website and taken a more engaging approach to their social media. Below, you will be able to find their list of online resources.
Did you know?
All Lincoln Financial Group employees receive free admission to regular screenings. On Tuesdays, high school students can gain admission for $2 with a school I.D. IPFW & SFU students can gain admission for $3 with a school I.D. each day of the week. Regular admission is $8 and the cost for students is $6.50. Cinema Center now accepts credit cards, too. If you would like to see a particular movie at the Cinema Center, let them know via their website!
By Stephen J. Bailey for the Downtown Improvement District