More than 600 attend 'Road to the Red Carpet' event at Pickwick and Frolic in downtown Cleveland

CLEVELAND - As the 85th Academy Awards got under way in Los Angeles, Clevelanders dazzled their own red carpet at Pickwick & Frolic. More than 600 people attended the 5th Annual Road to the Red Carpet for the Greater Cleveland Film Commission's fundraiser and Oscar viewing event.

"The 5th Annual Road to the Red Carpet provides the Greater Cleveland Film Commission the opportunity to raise awareness of Cleveland's local film industry while rallying community support for economic development of the industry," said the group's spokesperson.

Excited, the GCFC's President Ivan Schwarz said, "It's all about workforce. It's all about creating jobs in the community and the best way to do that is to train up our local people so that they can get the jobs when they come to town."

Schwarz said so far GCFC has helped bring around 1,000 jobs to and around $150 million through the city of Cleveland. The commission also works with area colleges and grade schools. There at the event Sunday was Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO, Eric Gordon among other education officials.

There were also students there like 15-year-old Geoffrey James, who already directed two documentaries and won an award for one.

"I wouldn't have been able to shoot my moves if it wasn't for the film commission because they're just really supportive of everyone who's trying to make films and they really see Cleveland as the next big place to bring films to," said James.

On the event, James said it was like his Christmas adding, "I think this was like 2nd to being in LA right now!"

The event, held at Pickwick & Frolic, included a long red carpet as soon as you walked-up to the entrance. Guests even got to take photos with a few Oscar nominees -- cardboard cut outs of them, but still very fun.

Tickets for the fundraiser were $250 each. Lisa Muller with the Greater Cleveland Films Commission told NewsChannel5 their goal this year was to raise $200,000.

Jim Gernstetter and his wife, both from Cleveland, told NewsChannel5 they planned to enjoy watching the Oscars but more importantly, they came to support the organization.

"It brings people back to Cleveland and it makes people realize how amazing Cleveland already is," said Gernstetter.

Tom Hanks even made a guest appearance, recording a special message to those who came to support the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

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