Capturing the Legendary Swingos Celebrity Inn on Film

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Local Filmmakers Kickstart Doc on Legendary Hotspot

“We’re a small, Cleveland-based production company that is telling a great Cleveland story that shows why our city is a really important city to the nation’s culture,” says Director Andrew Marquard of River Valley Films.

Marquard and his wife Catherine are a husband-and-wife-team that have a love for filmmaking and telling stories about our region. This is their first feature length film.

“We do a lot of stuff together,” says Andrew. “Catherine’s the Producer and I’m the Director. My brother is also a Producer on this Swingos Celebrity Inn Documentary film. We love Cleveland. We love being a part of this city. It’s home for us and always has been. So to tell a little piece of Cleveland history is really important to us, but also I think it’s a story that can appeal to people around the world because the stories about the people who stayed at Swingos and the effect Swingos had on the rock and roll scene are huge. With enough money from the Kickstarter, it can be something that has national and global interest as well.”

For those of you that don’t know the significant role Swingos Celebrity Inn played in the national and regional music scene, it was host to several musicians such as Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Frank Sinatra and legions of many more legends. The boutique hotel offered lodging, as well as a restaurant where sports stars, rock-n-roll legends, and politicians, including President Jimmy Carter, mingled. It was a hot spot that put Cleveland on the map. The Swingos Celebrity Inn Documentary will delve into these stories of the Inn – who stayed there, the influence it had in the region and on rock and roll during its time in the city.

“Swingos opened its doors in 1967 in the theatre district and within about 5 years, most of the theatres had shut down,” Marquard states. “It was during this time that Time Magazine profiled Cleveland for the river burning. Downtown Cleveland was falling apart, people were moving to the suburbs and yet Swingos was thriving. It was bringing people into Cleveland and making people want to come to Cleveland in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. I think it really helped the city to survive and give it the history and needs that make CLE so successful today.”

Andrew continues, “We’re in the middle of production…we’re interviewing a lot of different people right now. We’ve already got a lot of interviews with Michael Stanley, Southside Johnny, Jimmy Malone, John Lanigan and Jim and Matt Swingos. We are doing the Kickstarter because some of the people we need to interview are in LA, New York and all around the country. With funding, we can really make the film to the full extent of the story. We need money to travel, and of course, production costs for equipment and distribution with submissions to film festivals. We’re not paying ourselves with any of this money…this is all going directly to the project. We’re doing this because we want to and it’s a complete passion project and we think it’s a story that needs to be told.”

The Kickstarter fundraising campaign runs through January 7th. To support the film, learn more about the film/filmmakers or to make a contribution to the Swingos documentary project, click here.



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