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The Gateway Film Center, located at 1550 N. High St. Lantern File Photo.

Columbus Documentary Week opens with ‘Sloopy,’ addresses political and social issues

Columbus Documentary Week at Gateway Film Center starts off with a special screening of an Ohio-made documentary on an Ohio State tradition: “Hang On Sloopy: The Movie.”

“Hang On Sloopy: The Movie” will be introduced by former OSU football coach Earle Bruce and will include a live performance by the OSU Men’s Glee Club. Following the movie, there will be a question and answer session with movie producer Dave Whinham, former OSU marching band director Paul Droste and current director Christopher Hoch.

The movie is described as a “ROCKumentary” on “Hang On Sloopy,” a song made famous by The McCoys in 1965. It looks into how it grew roots in Columbus and became a Buckeye tradition. The Ohio native Whinham described the movie in a press release from the Gateway as a “surprising and touching story that takes you through the decades at OSU and here in Columbus.”

The Columbus Documentary Week will feature other films that look into different aspects including politics with “The Brainwashing of My Dad”; touching stories with “King Georges”; and social issues with “Paper Tigers.” Johnny DiLoretto, the Gateway’s director of communications, said the growing number of good documentaries, along with growing audience interest, struck for perfect timing. In its 10th bi-yearly edition, DiLoretto applauded Chris Hamel — President of Gateway — for his work organizing this event.

“One of the amazing things about the program is Chris has such a good eye for these particular films and he picks them from so many different topics,” DiLoretto said. “Often times, almost all of the films that will eventually be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary have played here as apart of documentary week.”

DiLoretto went on to say the growth in interest in documentaries has been sparked by a larger access to filming and editing equipment plus an increase of people wanting to tell the stories that affect their lives. He said he feels an important quality of documentaries is they give an opportunity to shine a light on variety of topics. The power of documentaries has sparked organizations around Columbus to co-sponsor films in the event, including Directions for Youth & Families with “Paper Tigers.”

“Paper Tigers” centers on students at a high school in rural Washington where it examines a new movement to help youth who have had traumatic experiences. Following the screening, DFYF, a non-profit organization that works with youth and families to help them make healthier life decisions, will be holding a question and answer session.

Dr. Bobbi Beale, who specializes in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and Dr. Nancy Cunningham of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Services are some of the panelists who will be a part of the panel discussion led by DFYF after the film.

Another special event is set to take place on April 9 with a screening of “Western.” Prior to the screening of the documentary, there will be a meet and greet with Bill and Turner Ross, directors of the film.

One film DiLoretto said could spur some controversy is the political documentary “The Brainwashing of My Dad,” where director Jen Senko looks at how right-wing media has influenced her father and the nation.

The Gateway’s Columbus Documentary Week will be officially running from Thursday to Monday, with a few documentary-related events taking place the following week.

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