Magazine article Variety

Executive Honorees

Magazine article Variety

Executive Honorees

Article excerpt

VALMIR FERNANDES

Global Achievement in Exhibition Award

"When I joined Cinemark 18 years ago, my friends said' 'You're crazy. The industry is dying. Every theater is becoming a church; 'If everything fails,' I thought, 1 could be a preacher there.' I had a backup plan but I never needed it."

At this point, it's doubtful that Valmir Fernandes, president of Cinemark (ntl., will need to consider that backup plan again. Fernandes got his start with Cinemark when he was recruited to build the company's Brazil branch from the ground up. He spent 10 years in Brazil before being promoted to prexy of the whole international division. But Fernandes was no film major; he came to Cinemark after years of working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. "I didn't have any knowledge about the business other than the fact that I always loved movies," Fernandes says. Regarding his cinematic taste, he says he is far from picky. "I'm very easy to please," Fernandes says. "I have a 4-year-old and I love to take him to the animated films. I love to be in movie theaters."

Fernandes' easygoing attitude extends to his views on the state of the industry. Unlike many executives, who are in a panic over the future of movie theaters as they compete with home-theater options such as Netflix and curved televisions, Fernandes remains confident. "I feel very comfortable with the future because I think people have been trying to kill the industry and they have been not able to. I don't necessarily share the concerns of some, because there's always the ones that are forecasting the apocalypse. I'm more of an optimist, as long as we continue working and as long as we continue to innovate."

- Marianne Zumberge

At a Glance

TITLE: President of Cinemark International

IN HIS WORDS: "The industry has done a great job of offering different formats and different concepts. We are pleasing people in a way that we were not pleasing before;

BILL CAMPBELL

NATO Marquee Award

Bill Campbell, managing director of the National Assn, of Theater Owners' Cinema Buying Group, has been in on the independent theater scene since before his contemporaries finished the fourth grade. Campbell began working in his father's small movie theater in Sheridan, Wyo., when he was just a kid. "It's the only job I've ever had," Campbell says. "When I was 8 years old, I would pop the popcorn."

Having come a long way from head popcorn boy, Campbell took over Orpheum Theater Inc. from his father, Ross, and has since become a spokesman for small-town theater owners across the country through his involvement in the Cinema Buying Group.

Campbell was driven to take a leadership role in the group by his firm belief that going to cinemas in small towns is a vital component of a community's cultural health. "The importance of a theater on every main street... it just needs to happen," he says. "In a lot of small towns, it's the only real means of community involvement. When there's a new story every week, people will just keep coming. I think it's so important to have a theater in every town."

Regarding growing competition with hometheater options, Campbell thinks the future of moviegoing can remain bright, under the right circumstances. "The biggest challenge is the window," he says, referring to the difference in theater and VOD release dates. "Everybody still loves the experience. Even the big screens at home don't compare to a darkened theater's movie experience. You get whisked away. Movies with content can touch anybody and anybody would love to see them." - Marianne Zumberge

At a Glance

TITLE: Managing director of the National Assn, of Theatre Owners' Cinema Buying Group, also owner of Orpheum Theatre

IN HIS WORDS: "I'm a sucker for any movie. 'American Sniper' was very powerful for me. I loved 'Nebraska' last year."

ADAM GOTTLIEB

Bert Nathan Memorial Award

When Adam Gottlieb started sponsoring the AI Lapidus Golf Tournament in 2004, he didn't even know how to play. …

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