The CLEVELAND CINEMATHEQUE provides a local venue for the showing of non-mainstream foreign and American films, as well as film series, retrospectives, and classics. Incorporated in Dec. 1984, it was founded by film buffs John Ewing, George Gund, and Ron Holloway. Under the direction of Ewing and the co-sponsorship of the CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIV. Film Society, it premiered on 14 July 1985 with a screening of Bertrand Tavernier's A Week's Vacation in CWRU's Strosacker Auditorium. In 1986, with the aid of a $116,000 start-up grant from the GUND FOUNDATION, the Cinematheque moved into its permanent home in Aitken Auditorium of the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART. Operating as a program of the institute, it shows (1995) approx. 250 feature films from Thurs.-Sun. for 50 weeks a year, to an average annual audience of 30,000. Filmmakers such as Krzysztof Zanussi and Alan Pakula appear on occasion to discuss their work with filmgoers. There are 2 full-time and several part-time employees and an annual budget of $160,000. A single-night attendance record of 600 viewers was set in 1990 by the Japanese animated film Akira. The audience endurance record was achieved during the 25-hr. German epic Heimat II in 1993.

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