New Castle News

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April 22, 2006

Cass Warner praises film festival, Riverplex progress



When Cass Warner entered the lobby of the Scottish Rite Cathedral, she became the center of attention.

And she didn't disappoint.

As each person asked to have her book, "Hollywood Be Thy Name: The Warner Brothers Story," or programs signed at the second annual Harry M. Warner Film Festival, she was gracious, giving everyone her full attention.

When Paul and Kathy Bobilin of New Castle approached, she broke out in a wide smile and said, "I remember you guys."

For Cass Warner, the granddaughter of Harry M. Warner, this was her eighth visit to New Castle and her second in as many years.

She said she had been in New Castle since Sunday and had eaten several times at the Mill Street Grille, located in Cascade at the Riverplex. The complex includes the restored building that housed the first permanent movie theater operated by Harry, Sam and Albert Warner.

"It's close to being done, which is great," Warner said. "I'm helping to make the last stage of it happening."

She wouldn't reveal what her contribution would be toward the building.

Warner said she is making two documentaries of the Warner family, including the places where they lived in Youngstown and where they worked.

"I'm looking for anything I can find to trace their steps."

Warner said people who may have something can write to her at 12343 Cantura St., Studio City, Calif. 91604.

She expects to have the one documentary released in April 2008 and the other sometime before that.

Concerning the film festival, she said, "What I like about it is, it's supporting young filmmakers."

At last night's screening attended by more than 100 people, 11 short films ranging in length from one minute, 36 seconds to 23 minutes, were shown.

One of the judges for the event, director and producer Ken Heusey, who grew up in Fombell, Beaver County, is looking to create his own niche in the film industry. Now living in Los Angeles, he said he is working on producing a film exploring the mystery of Edgar Allan Poe's death. He plans to start shooting this fall in western Pennsylvania. He hasn't decided on the exact location.

He said the Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency has been very helpful.

On this year's festival films, Heusey said, "I thought there was a wonderful variety of films."

The festivities concluded with "Evening with the Stars" at the Mill Street Grille, featuring food and music.

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