Cleveland Cinemas, the home of all that is righteous and worthwhile in Cleveland film, was founded by Jon Forman, a graduate of the Case Western Reserve University English Department. He had been a student of Louis Giannetti and he ran the student film society. “Forman was a natural businessman,” said Giannetti. “He took that organization and made it better. A couple of times, he took risks that didn’t pay off. He was too embarrassed to tell me, but when the film society was in financial trouble, he put his own money into it a few times to bring it out of the hole.”
Foreman started the Cleveland International Film Festival in 1977. Then at age 24 he borrowed money the buy the fading Cedar-Lee Theater in Cleveland Heights. One of his next purchases was Shaker Square, where he has preserved many of the art deco details, including this opalescent drinking fountain. Downstairs in the men’s bathroom you can ogle the tile-work in contrasting yellow, purple, and green. It’s astonishing but not the best locale in which to be hanging out taking pictures.
Today he operates 75 screens at nine theaters in two states. The 37th film festival will be opening soon, featuring more than 250 films from 50-some countries and drawing about 75,000 people. Thank you Jon.