Dinner in downtown Hollywood is about to become dinner and a movie. When Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood opens in September in a renovated pottery studio, it will provide another draw for the shopping, dining, arts and entertainment district.
“I’m just so excited. It’s a perfect fit,” says Jorge Camejo, executive director of Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency, which has been working on the cinema idea for several years.
“Downtown Hollywood has a unique charm. It’s a historic downtown,” he says. Indeed, the city was envisioned by developer Joseph W. Young in the 1920s as a “Dream city in Florida,” with wide, tree-lined boulevards punctuated by park circles and a walkway along the beach.
“You don’t feel like you’re at another strip mall here,” Camejo says. “The cinema will accentuate the unique quality of downtown Hollywood.”
Gregory von Hausch says the opening of the theater will lengthen the reach of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. (The original Cinema Paradiso is in downtown Fort Lauderdale.)
“Hollywood will help greatly to expand our base, increase memberships, attract new sponsors and provide easier access for patrons to attend,” says von Hausch, president and CEO of FLIFF. In addition to showing films, the theater will feature music performances and comedy nights, he says.
Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood will have just under 100 seats with a concession stand, a bar and a $35,000 digital projector – but that’s just a beginning, according to supporters.
Hollywood attorney Alan Koslow, the chair of the Broward County Film Society (FLIFF), has grand plans for the theater.
“We’re going to start out intimate, and when we see that it’s a success, we’re going to expand,” he says.
Interest in the theater has been overwhelming, Koslow says, with fundraising efforts generating more than half the $125,000 goal in only the first six weeks. The Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency has been instrumental, pledging $30,000, among other funds, for the purchase of tickets to supply to area hotels for guests.
Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, opening this summer, fliff.org.