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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chippewa Lake Park documentary is now online

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 11:47 AM

While it’s not yet available on DVD, Elyria-based independent filmmaker Chad Dennis’ documentary about the old Chippewa Lake amusement park is now online. Dennis got the idea for making the 10-minute movie when he saw the park would be bulldozed to make room for a hotel, culinary center and spa. “I saw an ad in the paper about how they were tearing it down,” says Dennis, who holds down a factory job at Contour Tool. “Some people were upset about it because all that history would be lost. Some people were happy because it was just rotting away. I liked that balance. Plus, where else are you going to see a Ferris wheel with a tree growing in the middle of it? I tried to make a visual experience of what I was seeing in my head, using video of how the park looks today compared to the footage of when the park was still in operation.”

The documentary moves nicely between archival footage that Dennis assembled from countless old home movies to contemporary shots of the park in disarray. He enlisted a female B-movie star to act as a narrator, pretending to be a news reporter that’s happened upon the abandoned park. There’s even a clip from the horror movie Closed for Season that used the park as its set. Local Ohio musicians contributed the music on the soundtrack, and Dennis donated a copy of the film to the not-yet-opened Chippewa Lake Museum. He says at the moment, he's not sure if he'll try to release a DVD, though he admits he could easily make a much longer film from the footage he has. “I had so many people contribute things for free, I’d hate to sell a DVD for money,” he says. “I might do some kind of local, independent release, though.”

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