National Association of Theatre Owners Celebrates Dedicated Community Leaders with “Behind the Screens” Series, Legacy Program

CINEMACON/LAS VEGAS – April 9, 2024 – The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) launched its first-ever digital video series, Behind the Screens: The Faces of Exhibition, today at CinemaCon, the world’s largest exhibition convention held at Caesars Palace attracting nearly 6,000 attendees. The series tells the stories of dedicated movie theatre leaders across the country, representing major chains with thousands of screens to independents with only one screen.  

“We are excited to premiere Behind the Screens at CinemaCon to showcase the talented and passionate people that 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 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 is also launching 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 at CinemaCon this year.”

The video series can be found here at


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

George Miller to receive CinemaCon® International Career Achievement in Filmmaking Award


WASHINGTON D.C. (April 2, 2024) – Academy Award® winner George Miller will receive this year’s CinemaCon® International Career Achievement in Filmmaking Award, Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon, announced today. CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO, will be held April 8-11, 2024, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Miller will be presented with this special honor at the International Day Lunch and Awards ceremony taking place on the afternoon of Monday, April 8, at Caesars Palace.

“George Miller, an archetypal storyteller, has transformed the imaginations of moviegoers worldwide, forever altering the cinematic landscape,” noted Neuhauser. “His filmmaking serves as a testament to his enduring impact and inspiration. We are thrilled to present him with this year’s ‘CinemaCon International Career Achievement in Filmmaking Award.’”

Releasing in theaters nationwide on May 24, 2024, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga sees Miller’s much-anticipated return to the iconic dystopian world he created more than 30 years ago. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, Miller now turns the page again with an all-new original, standalone action adventure that will reveal the origins of the powerhouse character from the multiple Oscar-winning global smash Mad Max: Fury Road. As the world fell, young Furiosa is snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers and falls into the hands of the great Biker Horde led by the Warlord of Dementus. Sweeping through the Wasteland, they come across the Citadel, presided over by The Immortan Joe. While the two Tyrants war for dominance, Furiosa must withstand many trials as she puts together the means to find her way home. The film also stars Alyla Browne and Tom Burke, and is produced by Miller and his longtime partner, Doug Mitchell, under their Kennedy Miller Mitchell banner.

A native of Australia, George Miller began his professional life as a doctor and detoured into filmmaking as a writer, director and producer. Miller made his feature film directorial debut with the international success Mad Max, which he also co-wrote. The film spawned three successful sequels: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max: Fury Road, which brought his iconic post-apocalyptic title character back to the big screen and introduced the world to Furiosa. The film grossed more than $380 million worldwide and garnered six Academy Awards®.

Miller also won the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, among numerous other accolades, for the smash hit Happy Feet. A five-time Oscar® nominee, Miller garnered nominations for Best Picture and Best Directing for Mad Max: Fury Road; Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for his work as a producer and writer on the breakout hit Babe; and received his first nomination for Best Original Screenplay for the moving drama Lorenzo’s Oil. Additional film credits include Happy Feet 2, Babe: Pig in the City, The Witches of Eastwick and most recently, Three Thousand Years of Longing, starring Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, among many others.

Miller serves as a Patron of the Sydney Film Festival and the Australian Film Institute. He served as President of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in 2016. In 1996 he was awarded the Order of Australia for distinguished service to Australian cinema and, in 2009, he was honored with the French Order of Arts and Letters.

On the small screen, Miller directed and executive produced the television miniseries The Dismissal, which broke all rating records in Australia, and he also produced the television projects Bodyline, The Cowra Breakout, Vietnam, The Dirtwater Dynasty, and Bangkok Hilton.

About CinemaCon

CinemaCon attracts upwards of 6,000 motion picture professionals from all facets of the industry – from exhibition and distribution to the equipment and concession areas – all on hand to celebrate the movie-going experience and the cinema industry.

CinemaCon is delighted to have both the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA) and National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) as its tradeshow partners. CinemaCon is also thrilled to have The Coca-Cola Company – one of the industry’s most highly regarded and respected partners in the world of the movies – as its official presenting sponsor.

About NATO

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 32,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and more than 30,000 screens in 88 countries worldwide. NATO’s membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world as well as hundreds of independent theatre owners.

Additional information about CinemaCon can be found at

Media Contact

Heather Lewandoski