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Reel Cleveland: That First Hot Lather 

And more local film news

Two years ago, Trish Sgro, owner of the business-consulting firm International by Design, and Tom Loveman, an indie film and music-video producer, formed Hot Lather Productions hoping it would turn into a locally based powerhouse development company. While that hasn't happened yet, Hot Lather will launch its first webisode at the end of this month with Julio, a sitcom about a young Puerto Rican man (Mike Goulis) who sets up a tattoo parlor in the basement of his cousin's Shaker Heights barbershop. "We started working together and coming up with various ideas for TV shows and scripts, and we just realized that they were better than the junk on TV now," says Loveman. "Julio, in particular, we felt filled a need in the Latino audience that wasn't being met." Sgro came up with the concept for the series overnight after one of her clients challenged her to write a sitcom treatment. "The show is really a prequel to a [projected] show called Tatz about a tattoo parlor in Beverly Hills," she explains. "The show will be a little more racy. We needed to create something about the character's life before he goes to L.A. to become a tattoo artist to the rich and famous." Sgro and Loveman are still writing the rest of the series. "It's a serious production," says Loveman. "It was a two-year endeavor to put this together. We even got insurance." Actor John Leguizamo's Urbano TV, an online network slated to launch this summer, has already shown interest in the series. Find out more at hotlatherproductions.com.

Ohio City's forward-thinking Franklin Church (1688 Fulton Rd., 216.781.8232, franklinchurch.org) has a film forum slated to take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 21. It will show the 1959 movie Imitation of Life and hold a discussion afterward over a light dinner. Because the film, adapted from a Fannie Hurst novel, tackles issues of gender and race — the problems of a black mother and a white mother and their daughters — the conversation will center on how the work deals with those subjects. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

The Cedar Lee Theatre HD opera series kicked off earlier this month with showings of Thaïs. It continues this week with Falstaff, which will be beamed in from Liège, Belgium, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 20, and 2 p.m. Sunday, January 24, at the Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Rd., 216.321.5411, clevelandcinemas.com). jniesel@clevescene.com

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