HughE Dillon: Girard College Film Screening

Another local documentary effort by Sam and Phil Katz

Last night at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penns Landing, Girard College hosted a screening of the new documentary Stephen Girard: A Philadelphia Legacy. The film was produced by former mayoral candidate Sam Katz and his son Phil Katz (not pictured) as part of the Katz Creative Group. Introducing and commenting on the film last night were: David L. Cohen, executive vice-president at Comcast, Autumn A. Graves, Girard’s president, and Kevin Feeley (Girard College Class of 1973), president of Bellevue Communications Group.

The film talks a lot about Stephen Girard’s will, which was written to only allow white orphaned boys to attend Girard College. It was interesting how the film captures the times, and tells the story through actor portrayals and interviews with prominent Philadelphians like Ed Rendell, Autumn Graves, archivist Elizabeth Laurent, and Drexel historian Scott Knowles. Below: Girard College Jr. Cavaliers Choir, who opened the evening in song, being conducted by Paul Eaton, fine and performing arts department chair at Girard.

Below: Richard Watson and Eugene Dawkins, two of the Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters who, with Cecil B. Moore, protested against Girard College in 1965 and helped overturn the school’s racially restrictive admissions policy.

Below: David Acton, Jane Acton, Neysa Adams, Julia Haller and Arlin Adams enjoy the cocktail party before the screening of the 18-minute documentary, which will be available to view on the school’s website starting next Wednesday.

Below: I ran into Barry Gutin (left) and Larry Cohen (right), of Cuba Libre and Guest Counts Hospitality. Barry was telling me his phone was ringing off the hook yesterday afternoon after I broke the story on that Matt Levin, formerly of Adsum and Lacroix, will be chef of the restaurant that’ll be taking over the Marathon Grill space at 10th & Walnut in January. Look for an American bistro; they are looking to bring culinary delight to the neighborhood, especially those working at Jefferson Hospital. Not too far down the street is Sampan, and chef/owner Michael Schulson and girlfriend Nina Tinari were also at the cocktail party. Nina’s mom, Carol, is a Girard College board member.

Below: Ronald Donatucci, Girard College board of directors, Dan Sabatini, Girard College board of directors, Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez and Bill Mifflin, Philadelphia Hospitality. Bill tells me that Philadelphia Hospitality is going to start up “Open House” tours, which were run by AIA about a decade ago. Bill tells me that they will be up and running in the spring with tours of public buildings at first, and then later private homes.

Below: Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighter Mel Dorn with Mayor Michael Nutter. The Mayor stressed to the audience that during these difficult times, any donations they could spare would be much appreciated at Girard College; it’s for our kids’ future.

Below: I love photographing Connie Katz; she has an infectious smile. With her is son Phil Katz, and Leah Greenberg.

Below: Actor Kenneth McGregor plays Stephen Girard in the documentary. You might remember him from movies like X-Men and Prom Night IV. Look for him in Game Over, a TV series filmed here in Philadelphia, but not yet picked up by a network (it will be soon).

Below: J. Del Conner, of Dr. Physick Soda’s Pop, and Harry Kyriakodis, author of Philadelphia’s Lost Waterfront, are the founding members of the Association of Philadelphia Tour guides. Anytime a historical film or lecture is discussed, you can bet these two will be on hand soaking up knowledge or adding to the project.

Below: Peter Shoemaker, Bill and Even Walker, and Roz Shoemaker. When Autumn Graves addressed the audience she thanked Peter Shoemaker as someone who has helped her tremendously in many areas, but especially in getting the word out that Girard College is a preeminent school where intercity kids can get a good education and become successful contributors in the future. On April 13th, at the Girard College Gala, Peter will be receiving the school’s highest accolade, the Corinthian Award, which was established to honor outstanding individuals and organizations for extraordinary contributions to society, made in the same spirit as that of Girard College’s founder, Stephen Girard.