NATO Shines Spotlight on Unsung Exhibition Heroes in New Video Series, “Behind the Screens”

Behind the Screens - National Association of Theatre Owners
Washington D.C. ( April 18, 2024 ) -

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has launched online its first-ever digital video series, Behind the Screens: The Faces of Exhibition, shining a spotlight on the people who work at movie theatres across the country, on NATO’s new website at

Behind the Screens’ six individual shorts debuted last week at CinemaCon, the world’s largest gathering of movie theater owners from around the world. The six short subjects follow the stories of dedicated exhibition leaders, representing people from major chains to the smaller independents representing only one or two screens.

Behind the Screens was produced by NATO in association with FilmFrog.

“We are excited to premiere Behind the Screens to showcase the talented and passionate people who make exhibition special,” said Michael O’Leary, NATO’s President & CEO.

“The theatrical experience would not be what it is without their dedication and creativity. We look forward to sharing more member stories in the years ahead.”

The enterprising exhibition leaders featured in the first six videos are:

  • Mayte Alquicira, Loyalty Manager, Cinépolis USA, based in Dallas: devoted to creating great experiences for a wide variety of moviegoers with unique loyalty offerings.
  • David Haywood, SVP Food & Beverage, Cinemark, headquartered in Plano, Texas: pairing concessions with film to create new moviegoing memories.
  • J.D. Loeks, CEO, Studio C/Celebration Cinema, Grand Rapids, Michigan: building a multipex and piazza as the anchor of a revitalized downtown entertainment hub.
  • Lauren McChesney & Matt McClanahan, Co-owners, Shankweiler’s Drive-In, Lehigh, PA: pioneering couple reviving America’s oldest continually operating community drive-in theater.
  • Francisco Schlotterbeck, CEO, Maya Cinemas: a California/Nevada chain bringing a premium movie experience to family-oriented underserved communities.
  • Emelyn Stuart, Stuart Cinema and Café, Brooklyn: founder of an innovative neighborhood cornerstone serving under-represented communities and the first Black Latina to own a movie theatre in New York City.

NATO also launched a special program celebrating the longevity of its membership at CinemaCon this year. Through its Legacy Program, NATO is honoring movie theatre companies that have been in business for 50, 75, and 100 years. The numbers are impressive: 69 companies have been in business for 50 years, 89 companies for 75 years, and 56 companies for over a century.

“The future of the exhibition industry is bright,” added O’Leary. “A huge reason why: it’s the people in this industry who never stop innovating and creating the experiences that movie fans around the world love. We are excited to share the stories of just a few of these amazing individuals this year.”

About NATO
The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 32,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and more than 34,000 additional screens in 89 countries worldwide. For more info, visit