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City native takes Cinema Center helm

Envisions region as film epicenter


The Cinema Center board of directors announced Wednesday that Fort Wayne native Jonah Crismore has been hired as the new executive director of the non-profit movie theater.

Crismore, 30, replaces Catherine Lee, who resigned in late May after two decades in that post.

Board president Kim Grathwohl said the board received about 75 résumés for the position, of which about 20 percent came from outside the northeast Indiana region that Cinema Center directly serves.

In the end, the organization chose someone with strong local ties.

“His passion came through immediately,” she said, “his sincere way of delivering answers to questions. His résumé was extremely strong…”

“He seemed almost destined for the job,” board vice president Denise Douville said. “Everyone looked at each other the first time we met him and went ‘Wow.’ ”

According to a written statement from the Cinema Center, Crismore graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts in film and video from Columbia College in Chicago and served an internship with the AMC series “The Walking Dead.”

He was until recently a variable annuities underwriting specialist for Lincoln Financial Group.

Grathwohl said Crismore will help the Cinema Center carry on its legacy, fulfill its mission and vision statements, and grow its brand in the community.

“In a very general sense, I want Cinema Center to broaden its reach to the film lovers of northeast Indiana,” Crismore wrote in an email. “This is an exciting time in Fort Wayne and I really see Cinema Center’s potential growth to be in line with the revitalization of the downtown area.”

“There is no reason why Fort Wayne cannot be a big film epicenter in the Midwest,” he wrote.

Crismore’s first day in the job will be Aug. 15, Grathwohl said.