Red carpet rolls into Cleveland

Darren D'Altorio

The countdown is underway. The flashbulbs are ready to pop.

In celebration of the 81st annual Academy Awards, the Greater Cleveland Film Commission is hosting its Road to the Red Carpet, a black tie event, Sunday, Feb. 22, at the House of Blues in Cleveland.

For the evening, Hollywood glitz will be transplanted onto Euclid Avenue, where a red carpet, paparazzi, live entertainment, Los Angeles-inspired cuisine and cocktails will greet guests.

Real quick:

What: Greater Cleveland Film Commission presents: The Road to the Red Carpet Academy Awards party

Where: House of Blues, Cleveland

When: Sunday, Feb. 22, 6:30-11:30 p.m.

Price: $75 for student pass, which includes access to open bar, food, concert and Academy Award screening.

Featuring: Paparazzi photo opportunities, open bar, food, silent auction of Hollywood prizes and getaways. Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden perform at 8 p.m.

If you want more information about the event or wish to purchase tickets, visit or call (216) 623-3910.

“The crowd will be young and cool,” said Ivan Schwarz, executive director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. “It will be a great eclectic mix. No one will not fit in.”

More than 400 people are expected to attend, representing various sects of Northeast Ohio’s film industry and everyday movie-lovers, alike.

Schwarz said the event is serving a dual purpose, operating as a fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Film Commission and as a vehicle of awareness to generate public support for filmmaking in Northeast Ohio.

“We’re trying to build the film industry,” Schwarz said. “Cleveland is an untapped gold mine of potential. We can create thousands of jobs in Northeast Ohio.”

Gov. Ted Strickland shares Schwarz’s passion for using the film industry to launch new economic development in the region.

In his 2009 State of the State address, Strickland proposed a “film tax credit” to spur growth of the film industry, create new jobs and bring a creative energy to Ohio.

If Ohio House Bill 196 is passed into law, it will authorize income tax credits for motion pictures produced in Ohio. The bill would create a 25 percent rebate for filmmakers who invest a minimum of $300,000 into production of a movie in Ohio, Schwarz said.

Schwarz, a Hollywood veteran who has worked on “Band of Brothers” and “Entourage,” said he wants to keep the youth active in the community by working to create this opportunity for them.

“This is for the kids now,” he said. “You are the future, the element you need to keep life in the city.”

Contact all correspondent Darren D’Altorio at [email protected].