The Interstate Documentary Project
Working Title: Before the Curtain Rises- The Story of a Texas Theater Empire
Project Web Site: http://www.interstatetheatres.com
Synopsis: The Interstate Documentary Project will be a multifaceted media initiative to preserve the history of one of America ’s greatest motion picture theater dynasties and the man who founded it, Karl Hoblitzelle. The primary component of the project will be a one-hour documentary film, entitled Before the Curtain Rises. It will examine the golden era of film exhibition in Texas and the unique and colorful showmen and women of this industry. It will also illustrate how Interstate would shape the history and quality of life in Texas by its business and philanthropic activities.
Before the Curtain Rises will also incorporate a present day drama, the restoration of the last, great Interstate theater, The Plaza in El Paso , Texas . This moving story of how a community has struggled since 1986 to save a 2400 seat theater and make it the keystone of a revitalization plan for downtown El Paso is still unfolding . The film will document the city’s attempts to complete the restoration and reopen The Plaza as a community performing arts center. This aspect of the Interstate story will be vitally beneficial as an educational resource for citizens and organizations whose missions include historic preservation, restoration, and urban renewal.
The total project outreach plan includes a PBS airing, home video distribution, educational distribution with a teacher’s guide for incorporating the film into secondary history and social studies curriculum, an educational Web site, and a distribution to historical preservation and urban revitalization organizations.