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Films join work of three great Kates

Three of cinema’s most acclaimed Kates are coming together for one epic series.

Films starring Katharine Hepburn, Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett will headline the “Kiss Me Kate: Three Great Actresses, Seven Classic Films” series beginning Sunday at Gateway Film Center.

The series is being presented by the newly-formed Ohio State University Theatre and Friends Film Discussion Group. The group was founded by Kelly Gingery and Clay Lowe, an associate professor emeritus in OSU’s Department of Theatre.

The “Kiss Me Kate” series is designed “to talk about great women, great female actresses, in movies that kind of could appeal to anyone,” said Gingery, the series programmer.

“Kiss Me Kate” kicks off Sunday at Gateway Film Center with its first film, “The Philadelphia Story,” starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Melissa Starker, sales and marketing manager for Gateway Film Center, and Carolyna Bradford, an actress and producer, will be guest speakers for the screening of “The Philadelphia Story.”

Hepburn, winner of a record four Academy Awards for Best Actress, was chosen because of her iconic status as one of cinema’s great actresses, Gingery said.

“We chose (Hepburn) because she was greatly popular,” she said. “She made comedies, drama. She’s kind of an icon obviously that everyone knows.”

The other two featured actresses – Winslet and Blanchett – were chosen because of their award-winning versatility.

“Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett are two current day women that are very well-regarded Oscar nominees who make comedies, drama, biopics, whatever,” Gingery said. “They can do it all so nobody has really pigeonholed them.”

Along with “The Philadelphia Story,” the series will screen “Pat and Mike,” “The African Queen,” “Heavenly Creatures,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen” and “I’m Not There.”

Each screening will feature a discussion afterward led by two guest speakers chosen by OSU Theatre and Friends Discussion Group.

“We wanted to pick people that kind of have their finger on the pulse of the arts here in Columbus, not necessarily just film,” Gingery said. “We tried to match them up and talk with them and find out maybe if there are movies that they have an affinity for more than others.”

One of the goals of the series is to strike down the notion that a female lead correlates to a “chick flick,” Gingery said.

“Women today have such a hard time being the sole lead of the film because Hollywood thinks if you have a woman in the lead, it’s not going to do great (in the) box office,” she said.

The series will run every Sunday for the next six weeks at Gateway Film Center, though a special screening will be held at 7:30 pm June 1 for a restored presentation of “The African Queen.” Each screening begins at 2 p.m. and admission is $5.

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