Last week we published our seventh annual Top Women In Global Cinema list, and as always, it was a strenuous group effort. However, the challenges we faced this year in compiling the list where somewhat different than the obstacles we have faced in the past.
The list first began in 2016 somewhat by accident. Patrick von Sychowski, who usually writes and edits this very newsletter, set out to answer the question of why there were so few women CEOs in the cinema business. Soon enough he was singlehandedly compiling a list of those women who were senior managers working in exhibition all over the world. He came up with 25 names and Amy Miles, then CEO of Regal Entertainment Group, topped that first list. She’s no longer in the business, having left when Cineworld acquired the circuit. In fact, as much as the cinema business gets faulted for not changing very much over time, at least half the women on the 2016 list are either no longer working in exhibition, having moved on to senior roles in other fields, or have retired.
In those early years our biggest hurdle was getting people to nominate viable candidates from all over the world. We had suitable entries from Western Europe and North America, but certain Asian, Latin American and African territories were difficult. We still don’t have anyone from Japan or Brazil despite reaching out to professionals from these territories seeking nominations.
The second year, when we increased the list to 50 entrants, finding that many nominees was not easy. The good news is that this year we have the exact opposite problem. Sure, our attempts to showcase the valuable contributions being made by women in our industry is a bit more well known, but more importantly, the industry itself is slowly moving toward being more gender balanced. That’s a good thing.
This is why you’ll see lots of combined entrants on this year’s list. Though a bit of a cheat, it’s also a way of highlighting those working in specific areas of the industry such as film programming or concessions.
Personally, I always approach each year’s list with trepidation for a number of reasons. Putting the list together eats up a good portion of the first three months of the year. Going through the hundreds of nominations is time consuming, and worse, I find it impossible to choose between one deserving candidate and another. Especially now that there are so many. My suggestion to include just about everyone is now routinely ignored. As well, it is always hard to leave out deserving professionals from a particular geographic region because there are already too many entries from that part of the world.
It should be noted that there are executives who have been on the list in the past and want others to be recognized or, understandably, they don’t want to be singled out solely because of their gender.
Yet when all the bios are written, the photos perfectly cropped and the list is finally published each year it is always satisfying to complete such a big task. Even more so when we hear how being nominated by their peers and included in the last has affected the lives of some entrants. If you weren’t able to attend last week’s CJ Cinema Summit I highly suggest catching up on demand to hear from four of this year’s nominees.
On next week’s CJ Cinema Summit we’ll be speaking with seating manufacturers about what we can expect to see from them at CinemaCon later this month.
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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