Jonathan Forman owns and operates Cleveland
Cinemas, which oversees 39 screens at six sites in Northeast
What about you would most surprise the majority of your
I have been involved in theatrical exhibition for 27 years.
the best thing about living in Ohio?
The quality of life is better than most people give it
credit for or realize, and life is a little less intense,
and housing is affordable.
Leaving aside family members, who was your first role
Bert Lefkowich, at the time, president of Community Circuit
Theatres, a company that owned some of the best and nicest
movie theatres in greater Cleveland, including the Cedar
Lee Theatre, which he sold to me. He believed in me, advised
me, and unknowingly taught me a great deal about the movie
What would you
wish for if a djinn offered to grant one wish (assuming
wish for more wishes)?
A lump sum payment to pay off all of the outstanding loans
at all of my theatres so we could operate more profitably
and feel as though we were not in business just to pay
down our debt.
What would you
be if you weren’t
a cinema operator?
The challenge of running a summer camp is something that
I have thought
about but not sure there is a future in it, and more than
likely, it is more difficult than operating movie theatres...
Who is your favorite filmmaker and why?
Charlie Chaplin is one of several “favorites”:
I admire Chaplin for his physical comedy and incredible
ability to communicate every emotion without sound through
acting and directing. And many of today’s accomplished
directors have learned and borrowed a great deal from him.
What was your favorite movie last year?
I enjoyed “About Schmidt” and “The Hours.”
Which movie or movies are you most looking forward to?
I am always looking forward to something new, different,
unusual, moving and/or original. Of course, the business
part of me hopes that people will like that film (whatever
it happens to be) and that it will be successful at the
box office (and the concession stand).
Who is the most talented actor most people have never
I need to give credit where credit is due: Joe Ruffner
(an aspiring actor most people outside of Cleveland have
never heard of who works with me) helped me with this question
by mentioning several names, including Martin Donovan.
And I agree. He also reminded me about Paul Giamatti, who
gives an outstanding performance in “American Splendor.”
Which book would you most like to see adapted into a motion
Again, my thanks to Joe (see above) for pointing out that “Catcher
in the Rye” might be a good film.
Which TV show do you hate to miss?
I try not to allow television to alter my life ... but
I do enjoy watching “West Wing” and “24.”
your favorite movie theatre in which you and/or your
partners have absolutely no
The one theatre that I have spent a considerable amount
of time watching movies in is the Varsity Theatre in Toronto,
while attending the annual Toronto Film Festival. It is
a very comfortable and pleasant place to watch movies,
particularly when you see four or five a day.
Which sacred cow would you most like to barbecue?
the best thing about running a cinema company?
I genuinely enjoy movies and like the challenge of creating
and maintaining an environment to allow others to share
Managing a business that is never closed and has to meet
the needs of all kinds of customers with all kinds of
What do you wish someone had told you earlier?
You can’t please everyone all the time.
What was the single best piece of advice you ever got?
To recognize the importance and value of good human resources
not only through compensation but with reasonable accomodations
to their personal needs.