The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 73
THE GRANDIN THEATER | NAV HERE
4. Students came from five public high
schools (Patrick Henry, William Fleming,
Hidden Valley, Cave Spring, and Salem)
and two private schools (Bent Mountain
Christian Academy and North Cross).
Thirty-five percent of the students were
"We had a goal of creating a fully collaborative model, encouraging all of our
students to find their voices," Fortier says.
"We had the vision this could be successful, and we learned by doing."
"The Grandin is far more than "just a movie theatre."
at the Jefferson Center. We developed curriculum and a schedule. And
then we set out to find our students."
Film Lab students met across the street from the Grandin at the
CoLab and were required to put in 200 hours over the school year.
With the assistance of consulting film professionals, the curriculum
was taught and the students wrote original scripts. The films were
shot throughout the Grandin Village and the Valley, then edited for
On May 23rd, the resulting four films from the inaugural class were
premiered at the Grandin to a standing room only house of 350. The
emcee for the evening was Paolo de Guzeman from DreamWorks, a
native of Salem.
No small achievement for high school filmmakers, to be viewed by
"Why should where we are located be any restriction to what we
are doing? This medium transcends location. These films are going off
to Sundance, Austria, Cannes...anywhere that takes student films,"
The overview of the Film Lab's first year is impressive:
1. The program was fully funded by three local grants.
2. Sixteen participants began the year, and all 16 completed the year.
3. There were more girls than boys in the program, and three of the
four original films produced by the students were by girls-a strong
starting point in overturning the gender bias in the film industry.
WHAT LIES AHEAD for the Grandin
Theatre? To wrap up and celebrate the
Grandin's 85th anniversary, patrons will
be treated to a permanent lobby exhibit
featuring the Mill Mountain Playhouse
productions from 1976-1983 (which included classics
like "South Pacific "and "Guys and Dolls") and the 198485 concert series, "The Year of Remarkable Music."
And in 2018, patrons can expect to be able to purchase beer and wine in a newly revamped concessions
area, and enjoy a craft beverage with their film.
Fortier has no shortage of ideas for the future: rooftop development, mixed-used programming, elevator
installation, greater educational outreach. Grandin patrons may one day see Fortier's wildest dream come true
-"a hopping jazz club in the old boiler room of our
With the leadership of a strong board and Ian Fortier, the Grandin Theatre seems to have found its way
forward to stability and possibility. Diversified, community-serving programming coupled with a longstanding
reputation as an art-house cinema may well safeguard
the future of Roanoke's last historic theatre.
The Grandin Theatre has stood the test of time. But
for Ian Fortier, that's not enough.
"I won't be content until we all stop saying that the
Grandin is 'surviving,' and start saying it's 'thriving.'"
Under Fortier's skilled and creative leadership, that
seems pretty much a given. I
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