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Enjoy stories about the themes, guests and activities that make the Screenland 5K the premier event in the Heart of Screenland.
The Screenland 5K celebrates local centennials, 100 years of motion picture magic, Black and Women's History months, the Olympics and its charities.
The Screenland 5K will be dedicated to the memory of two women who personified the spirit of providing extraordinary experiences for guests of the annual event.
She was the antithesis of the Wicked Witch of the West, but like a consummate actress, Jozelle Smith played the part to the hilt on Oscar Sunday 2017 at the inaugural Screenland 5K during the Culver City Centennial Celebration. Smith died, Aug. 17, 2023 of a lengthy illness. She was 84. Smith, the second female to serve as Culver City Mayor, and a long-standing volunteer in numerous civic groups, said she would reprise her role as the wicked witch in the 2024 Screenland 5K which celebrates the centennials of the Culver Hotel, MGM and Meralta Theater.
Born and raised in Culver City, Jozelle Smith served on the City Council from 1986 to 1994, including a year as Mayor in 1989. She was one of the very few women to run for municipal office, and combined a feminist sensibility with a conservative political outlook. She penned a column for the local newspapers called “In One Ear” and later “Local Motion,” celebrating the people and occasions of the Heart of Screenland
Smith served as a director for the Chamber of Commerce and Culver-Palms YMCA. She was also involved with the Culver City Historical Society, Culver City Woman’s Club and Sister City Committee. In recent years, she worked as a ‘background actor’ in commercials, films and television, a job she relished.
"Her warmth, her wit, and her enthusiastic persistence had a wide range and a deep impact on Culver City," said Judith Martin-Straw of Culver City Crossroads.
She is survived by her husband Ken, sons Paul and Gerry and many other family members.
Active on the Culver City Sister City Committee, Fiesta La Ballona Board, Screenland 5K and other groups, Colleen Jones was the perfect social director, dressing up the environment and herself for special events. The Culver City High School alumnus was the Heart of Screenland’s party queen. She was the Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy at the inaugural Screenland 5K in 2017 and motivated many citizens to participate. Jones posed with hundreds of guests at the race for photo opps. She was excited about coming up with another outfit for the 2024 version that would dazzle the guests. Jones died, Aug. 11, 2023, of cancer-related symptoms. She was 60.
The first female of color to serve on the Culver City Council will assume a leading role in the Screenland 5K as Glinda the Good Witch and her daughter will be Dorothy of the Academy Award winning Wizard of Oz, filmed in the Heart of Screenland. The formidable team of Vice Mayor Yasmine Imani-McMorrin and Madison and other celebs will raise funds for their favorite Screenland 5K charities in race weekend events. The Screenland 5K happens on the cusp of National Black and Women’s History months. Several of the former set locations that guests will retrace in their journey through movie magic will recognize marginalized and under-represented actors and directors who made important contributions to cinematic storytelling and the film industry, but rarely were acknowledged. "We will shine a light on some of the movies that are on the wrong side of history and some that are on the right side of history," said Screenland 5K Creative Director and Cinematic Showrunner Lori Escalera. "It’s important to include the under-represented people, who made great contributions the past century in cinematic storytelling in Culver City, such as Arabians, Jews, Asians, African Americans, Hispanic and Culver City’s indigenous peoples,” said Escalera. “I also will include iconic Culver City-based films that designate an interesting chain of culture. For example, the Green Lantern is the one-thousand-year-old story of the Arabian Nights with spinoffs like Aladdin and Jeannie. A Star is Born with its many reiterations over the past 100 years recognizes a historic struggle for women to reconcile conflicts of career and spouse. Forty Acres celebrates Gone with the Wind, but instead of highlighting White actors we will cite Butterfly McQueen, a celebrated Black actress. And this will open the door to Black women identity recognition. And on it will go with our goal to equity, diversity and inclusion to the 100 scenes of Culver City filmdom,” Escalera said.