October 24, 2014

Elyria
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Elyrians make way for film visit

Don’t look for George Clooney or Martin Scorsese to pop up on Ely Square next week when the cast and crew of an independent comedy come to town to shoot scenes in and around Ely Square.

WANT A ROLE?
Anyone who would like to be an extra in the film is asked to contact the production company by phone at
(440) 871-2811 or e-mail makemepopular@hotmail.com.

Filming is scheduled to occur Sept. 13 to 16 for a comedy titled “Make Me Popular.”

Producer Christina Grozik, a Lorain native, hopes the filming will serve to convince larger film companies to bring jobs and revenue into Lorain County by using the area’s many scenic locations.

“I love this area and have always tried to promote it as a film destination,” Grozik said. “I’ve photographed Elyria, Lorain, Oberlin and sent photos to bigger production companies to let them know this area has a lot of beautiful locations.
“I’m one of the biggest advocates for making it work here. I’d love to see more film work done in Elyria and Lorain County.”

Having learned her craft at Kent State University, Grozik has been working in film production since 1999. Her credits include “Spider-Man 3,” scenes for which were shot in downtown Cleveland a year ago, and the 2002 drama “Antoine Fisher,” which starred Denzel Washington and Derek Luke as Fisher, a Cleveland native who wrote the book on which the film was based. 

Principal photography for “Make Me Popular” will not begin until Oct. 5 in the greater Cleveland area. It is expected to last a month or so.

Some of the film’s secondary scenes will be shot in Elyria.

“We talked with people in other places, but Elyria was always our first choice,” Grozik said.

She described the film as a comedy in which a number of adults in a small community try to undermine each other and “one-up each other in a comedic way.”

“One character, a hard-working guy who is the hero, tries to be nice and work with everyone. At the end, the message is that if everyone works together, things get accomplished. If they work against each other, nothing gets done,” she said.

The film is designed to appeal to family audiences. “We’ve been very conscientious about it,” Grozik said. “There’s no sexual content or violence or strong language.”

Essentially a student-run venture, the low-budget feature will use a cast of 40 that includes some professional actors alongside veterans of community theater.

“It’s a pretty eclectic group,” Grozik said.

The biggest name tied to the project is Michelle Gritzer, the film’s assistant director, who will oversee the Elyria scenes. Her credits include the Hilary Swank horror film “The Reaping” and TV series such as “Ghost Whisperer” and “House.”

In agreeing to allow filming on and near the square, city officials felt that any inconvenience posed by temporary street closings would be outweighed by the positive effects of having a feature film crew in town and potential benefit to businesses.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun and a great opportunity for downtown Elyria,” Main Street Elyria Director Tamela Grubb said.

Onlookers will be welcome to watch the filming “as long as they respect what the production team is doing and give them the quiet they need,” Grubb said.

Filming will result in traffic being re-routed during shooting hours. Plans call for vehicular traffic and parking to be prohibited on Middle Street, Second Street and Court Street immediately bordering the square. Specific hours during which traffic will be barred have not yet been solidified, according to Bill Ogle, assistant safety service director.

No permits were required for the filming, he said.

“We basically sat down and worked it out. The city wants to cooperate as much as possible. It was felt this was a good way of promoting the community,” Ogle said.

Chronicle reporter Shawn Foucher contributed to this story.