Outdoor movie theater begins today
The nonprofit organization will show movies Friday or Saturday nights until the end of summer.
By JOSH ECHT
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- A random conversation in April between two members of a community beautification group is paying off for Poland's moviegoers.
Town One Streetscapes will show short films on the bridge abutment under U.S. Route 224 behind the Poland Library at 8:30 tonight in Poland Village, with plans for more film showings on weekends.
Ron Eiselstein, a Youngstown real estate investor, and Ted Heineman, a retired engineer, came up with the idea for the Yellow Creek Theater as trustees of Streetscapes, a Poland-based beautification committee.
"Heineman read an article from a magazine in March," Eiselstein said. "We talked and presented the idea to Streetscapes members."
He said outdoor movie theaters are a growing trend in the United States.
What the group does
Streetscapes, operating since 1997, is a volunteer committee dedicated to beautifying Poland's village and township, said president Larry Warren.
Warren stressed the importance of such activities to cities, towns and villages.
"You need to develop quality public spaces," Warren said. "We are starting to develop such spaces in Poland."
Warren said outdoor events such as movies bring people together and restore a city's identity.
"We are expecting 3,000 to 7,000 to show this weekend for the Fourth of July events, including the movies," Eiselstein said. Also planned in the village is a parade at 7 p.m. today, with fireworks at dusk.
How it works
The organization turned to Canfield-based Multimedia Farms, a video production company, to supply the projector and necessary equipment, Warren said.
Movies are shot onto a white concrete abutment under U.S. Route 224 behind the Poland branch library.
The projector, located 75 feet away, shoots movies onto the 30-foot-tall by 90-foot-wide abutment. The viewing area is 20 feet tall by 28 feet wide, estimated Bruce Neff, Multimedia Farms vice president.
Multimedia Farms rents the projector to Streetscapes for the night, which is set up on a lower landing of the Reed Memorial steps.
"Most of the time, we shoot indoor but now we have outdoor venues to do, like these movies," Neff said.
"We did a test run June 18 in front of 30 people," Streetscapes trustee Tom Antonishak said. "The demonstration was for supportive local business owners."
Antonishak, a local artist, contributes sculptures and artwork to Streetscapes to place in various locations around the village. Antonishak said the 19-member nonprofit organization lobbies for financial support, sponsorships and donations from local businesses so it can show the movies for free to the public.
After today's short-film showing, Streetscapes will show full-length movies Friday or Saturday nights until the end of summer, depending on weather, Eiselstein said.
"We want to show short films so people can experience other events this weekend," he said. "Last year, people mingled even after the Fourth of July fireworks were over.
"These movies give people options: They can see a movie, do something else, and come back," he said.