NATO Names Todd Halstead Director of Independent Exhibitor Engagement

Todd Halstead - Director of Independent Exhibitor Engagement, NATO
Washington, DC ( October 10, 2023 ) -

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) today announced Todd Halstead will serve the nation’s independent movie theaters in the newly-created position of Director of Independent Exhibitor Engagement. In his expanded role, Halstead will collaborate with NATO’s Independent Theatre Owners Coalition (ITOC) to help independent exhibitors thrive in the marketplace. At the same time, Halstead will continue to serve as NATO’s Director of Government Relations and Strategy Development, a role he took on in 2021.

“NATO is committed to the independent theatre owners across this country, and Todd is the perfect emissary for that commitment. He knows what is most important to independent exhibitors and he is very passionate about their success,” said Michael O’Leary, NATO’s President & CEO. “His breadth of experience, long-term industry and government connections, and his dedication to independent cinemas make him the perfect person for this critical new role, and I’m excited to work with him as we lead NATO to a more inclusive future.”

Halstead has had a diverse career as a trade association executive in the cinema industry. He previously spearheaded NATO’s government advocacy from 2007 to 2014. Subsequently, he held leadership roles as the Executive Director of Theatre Owners of Mid-America (TOMA) and its convention, CinéShow, from 2014 to 2021. He also played a role in the development of the Independent Cinema Alliance (ICA), serving as its Executive Director from 2019 to 2021.

Halstead will work closely with the NATO leadership and the ITOC, which is chaired by Colleen Barstow of Omaha-based ACX Cinemas. “Both Colleen and Todd are dedicated to the independent cinema owners and together they will accomplish great things on behalf of this critical aspect of the American theatrical exhibition industry,” said O’Leary.

“Independent theaters are the economic and cultural heartbeat of communities throughout the country,” said Barstow. “NATO’s renewed commitment to ITOC promises to launch initiatives that will empower our members, and I look forward to working with Todd in his new strategic role.”

Halstead is based in Kansas City, MO, but works regularly in Washington, D.C. and is often on the road meeting with NATO members across the country.

About NATO
The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 34,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and more than 28,000 additional screens in 88 countries worldwide.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a second office in Hollywood, California, NATO represents its members in the heart of the nation’s capital as well as the center of the entertainment industry. From these vantage points, NATO helps exhibition influence federal policymaking and work with movie distributors on all areas of mutual concern, from new technologies to legislation, marketing, and First Amendment issues. For more info, visit