“Double-Stop,” an independently-produced 1968 feature film that was shot in Cleveland in 1967, will receive its first local showing in over four decades on Feb. 20 at 2:30 pm at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque.
The screening will be attended by the two ex-Shaker Heights brothers who made the movie when they were in their 20s, director and co-writer Gerald Sindell and producer and co-writer Roger Sindell. Also attending will be two of the film’s five lead actors, both of whom still live in northeast Ohio: Bill Kurtz and Patti Fairchild (mother of local TV personality Stefani Schaefer). The movie has never been released on video or DVD.
Shot in 35mm with a Hollywood crew, “Double-Stop” was filmed on locations in Shaker Heights, Bratenahl, and University Circle — including Severance Hall, where the Cleveland Orchestra (sans conductor George Szell) was hired for two days of shooting. The movie was made at the height of the city’s 1960s racial tensions, and is an earnest plea for tolerance and harmony. It tells of a cellist in the Cleveland Orchestra (the late Jeremiah Sullivan) and his wife (Mimi Torchin) who choose to let their young son (Billy Kurtz) participate in the new busing program intended to integrate Cleveland’s schools. But when the cellist sees a schoolyard reality that’s much rougher than what he had imagined, he impulsively pulls his child out of school, against the wishes of his more doctrinaire-liberal spouse.
Acclaimed by Peter Bellamy in the 2/4/68 Plain Dealer as “an art film of genuine artistic merit,” “Double-Stop” won the Atlanta Film Festival’s Silver Phoenix award for “World’s Best Feature Motion Picture.” It was also shown at the Cannes Film Festival, as part of the New Directors series. Gerald Sindell, after a Hollywood career in which he directed three other features, is now an author, publisher, and business consultant based near San Francisco. He recently created a website for the movie (www.doublestopmovie.com) containing background information, reviews, and images.
“Double-Stop” will be shown in the Aitken Auditorium of the Cleveland Institute of Art, 11141 East Boulevard in University Circle. Tickets (at the door only) are $12; Cinematheque members and CIA students & staff $8. There is free parking for film-goers in the adjacent CIA lot, located off of East Boulevard. For more information, contact John Ewing or Tim Harry at (216) 421-7450, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.cia.edu/cinematheque.
“Double-Stop” is one of a series of special films (“The Silver Anniversary Screen”) being presented by the Cinematheque this year to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
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