20 November 2022
Each year, as we put together our annual Top Women In Global Cinema list, we do so with a great deal of trepidation. While we seek nominations from throughout the industry, we always fear overlooking an important or deserving industry professional that should have made the list.
Maybe the best example of this came in 2018 when we didn’t include Anne Fitzgerald, then the Chief Legal Officer at Cineplex. This was the same year she was instrumental in helping with the formulation of the Global Cinema Federation. When we investigated how this may have happened we discovered Fitzgerald hadn’t been nominated by anyone in the industry, because everyone thought someone else would surely be nominating her. Thus they submitted names which might not be as obvious.
You can only imagine, when we finally decided to follow the suggestions we’ve received over the years to create a similar list of theatrical distribution executives, we were exceedingly nervous of committing similar errors. This is why we spent a great deal of time over the past several months researching our very first Top Women In Global Distribution list, which as published on Thursday, 17 November.
We sought nominations from across the industry and were heartened to hear many of the same names mentioned on numerous occasions. We were also dismayed to see a couple of disturbing trends; nobody could name any female distribution executives in places such as China, and very few in places such as Africa and India. So, while we await the verdict on the accuracy of this year’s Top Women In Global Distribution list, we are happy to have at least started the initiative as a means of calling attention to some deserving professionals in our industry.
We were also fascinated to learn about the background of so many of the nominees on this year’s list and their previous roles at different companies. So many have worked for both cinema operators and film distributors. And, as expected, a fair number had spent decades working their way up within their current organizations.
Indeed, some of these executives were kind enough to join us on last week’s CJ Cinema Summit, including Lia Devlin and Bryony Forde of Altitude Film Entertainment, Helen Moss of Paramount Pictures and Sarah Timlick of Elevation Pictures. You can view the session on-demand if you didn’t get a chance to attend in person.
Since 2016 Celluloid Junkie has published an annual list of women leading the cinema industry in various capacities. This list has become so popular and eagerly anticipated that we now get inquiries and nominations throughout the year. This year we are turning our attention to the distribution side of the business and are excited to be presenting our inaugural Top Women In Global Distribution list.
We consulted with key members of the cinema community and are grateful to all the input we received, from all over the world. The only criteria we had when putting the list together was that nominees had to work specifically in distribution.
In what is being called a “shocking turn of events” Bob Chapek has resigned as CEO of The Walt Disney Company and Bob Iger, the company’s former CEO will step back into the role.
The company’s Board of Director’s confirmed the news on Sunday evening with Chariman Susan Arnold stating, “We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period.”
The move comes after Disney’s most recent earnings report missed Wall Street expectations in numerous areas. The company’s stock is off over 40% this year, hitting a 52-week low on 9 November. Faced with mounting costs related to their streaming service, Disney+, the entertainment giant is facing cash flow issues and may need to cut its dividend to shareholders.
Russian State Media is reporting that legislative changes are being proposed by the Federation’s Council Committee on Economic Policy that will allow the distribution of foreign films in Russia without the consent of the copyright holders, but with payment of remuneration to them. These proposals also include changes to the criminal code so that there is no criminal liability for users of such works (in other words, cinemas would face no criminal charge for copyright infringement).
Russian cinemas have faced a huge content deficit since March 2022, when the Moscow-based branches of major US studios halted all new releases across the region as a result of the invasion in Ukraine. For an industry that relied on Hollywood-produced films for 80% of its box office top ten in 2021, the withdrawal of these movies has had a huge impact on exhibitors’ ability to get customers in the door.
Ken Brendemihl has been named the chief operating officer of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Austin, Texas based specialty theater chain known as a dine-in cinema pioneer. In his new role, Brendemihl will oversee the team expansion and infrastructure required for achieving the company’s goal of doubling Alamo Drafthouse’s theatrical footprint across the country in the coming years.
Prior to joining Alamo Drafthouse, Brendemihl held leadership roles at Texas Roadhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, Bricktown Brewery and On the Border. He most recently served as senior VP at Velvet Taco, a contemporary Mexican restaurant.
Celluloid Junkie is the leading online resource dedicated to the global film and cinema business. The Marquee is our newsletter focused on motion picture exhibition; keeping industry professionals informed of important news, the latest trends and insightful analysis