Change comes to the Gateway

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There's more fresh blood on the way for South Campus Gateway.

Following September's announcement of the "Arts in the Alley" initiative, which turned over empty retail space adjacent to the Gateway parking garage to the Ohio Art League and a trio of other local arts groups, came word last week of a change in management at the Gateway Theater, a new name for the eight-screen multiplex and a new partnership with the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Landmark Theatres, the national art-house chain that's run the Gateway since March 2008, will depart Dec. 17. After that, the theater will be rechristened the Gateway Film Center and run for Campus Partners by Chris Hamel, a longtime cinema veteran with previous stints at CAPA, Cinemark and Drexel Theatres.

And starting in early January, the Wexner Center for the Arts will offer programming on two screens at the Gateway. According to film/video curator David Filipi, they'll mostly be devoted to the sort of first-run films that wouldn't have opened in Columbus previously.

Filipi said he's looking forward to not just the room to present more movies, but more flexibility with the new arrangement. "We're used to having to program so far in advance [due to institutional deadlines]. This'll allow us to book with a shorter window.

"Also, if something proves to be popular, we can move it to the Gateway," Filipi added. "The best example is Darwin's Nightmare. When we booked it no one knew anything about it, and in the meantime it was nominated for a [Best Documentary Feature] Oscar. It completely sold out."

He expects the relationship to be close and cooperative as it begins to evolve, but it sounds like Columbus moviegoers could benefit the most.

"Being a little more involved so that no films fall through the cracks, that's one of the things that's really appealing in this relationship," Filipi said. "It's so disappointing when a movie just doesn't show here."