Paolo Davanzo was looking for a place to teach affordable film and media arts classes to youth when he came across an Echo Park storefront on Alvarado near Sunset Boulevard. Here, a decade ago, Davanzo co-founded the Echo Park Film Center, where students are taught how to tell stories using film and video, and a microcinema hosts the work of professionals and amateurs alike. The same storefront also served as the place where Davanzo met Lisa Marr, who eventually partnered with Davanzo at the center and in life. This weekend, the pair and the staff celebrate the Echo Park Film Center’s 10th anniversary with a series of events. Now that Davanzo and Marr have helped others tell their tales using film and video, the couple share their stories:
I moved to Echo Park in 1998 when I was looking for a place to plant new roots. My Father had passed away the year before and I spent that time looking to create a media arts center that would provide free film and videos resources for youth. Then my Mother passed away in 2000. It was the time to act. I knew I needed to honor their legacy and create a place of hope, creativity and activism; thus the Echo Park Film Center was born in December of 2001. Now 10 years later, the dream of creating equal and affordable access to media arts education has truly become a reality. Lisa Marr and I fell in love along that journey. She is my partner and my true love.
I‘m originally from Vancouver, Canada. Through a rather circuitous series of circumstances, I moved into a little pink house in Echo Park in the summer of 2000. Los Angeles was the last place on earth I would have chosen to live, but Echo Park won me over with its sweet spirit of possibility. In December 2001, I was walking down Alvarado Street, noticed some boisterous activity going on in a little storefront and went inside to check it out. I was greeted by an ebullient, bearded man named Paolo: “Welcome to the Echo Park Film Center! It’s our opening day party!” Ten years later, the party continues at Echo Park Film Center and I’m delighted to be part of it.
Click here for details on the film center’s 10th anniversary celebration.