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Published: Thursday, 10/20/2005

'Faith' spurs theater guidelines

The Maumee Indoor Theater yesterday established operating policies and guidelines for the facility after being open for more than a year.

The nonprofit theater's advisory board, which includes city officials and members of the community, approved the policies for auditorium rentals and movie screenings.

City Council also must approve them.

A board committee developed the policies and guidelines from the theater's mission statement, which it revised.

It started reviewing the policies after some complaints that it would not show the documentary Twist of Faith, which chronicles the lawsuit of Toledo firefighter Tony Comes against the Toledo Catholic Diocese for years of alleged rape and molestation by a local priest.

Mr. Comes says he was abused at St. Joseph's Church in Maumee, located near the theater.

The film premiered at the Maumee theater June 27 for an invitation-only crowd of nearly 500 people, but local officials decided not to pick it up for a regular screening.

"[Creating guidelines] was always on the agenda. Twist of Faith spurred us on," said Jim Walter, of the Great Eastern Theatre Co., who helps manage the theater.

According to the revised mission statement, the theater will emphasize "films of a family oriented nature."

The guidelines prohibit films rated NC-17 or equivalent.

Twist of Faith is unrated.

The guidelines also give the management the right to reject any proposal, which Mr. Walter said was standard language. The committee studied policies from nonprofit organizations across the country, he said.

So far this year, the theater has brought in about twice as much money from rentals and live shows as the board expected. Revenue from movie admissions is down, but that is true for theaters across the country, Mr. Walter said.

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