NATO Attends Ohio Goes to the Movies Kickoff with Governor Mike DeWine

On May 1, 2024, Governor Mike DeWine launched the Ohio Goes to the Movies (OGTTM) program at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. The Lincoln Theatre has been in operation since 1928.

The event featured a screening of the award-winning theatrical documentary Apollo 11 directed by Buckeye State native Todd Douglas Miller. Alex Rich, NATO’s Associate Director of State Government Affairs, and Jordan Hohman, Executive Director of Heartland NATO, attended the event demonstrating the exhibition industry’s support for this historic initiative. 

Ohio Goes to the Movies is a statewide program highlighting Ohio’s contribution to the motion picture industry including homegrown stars, behind-the-scenes talent, and the movie theatres that bring these stories to audiences across the state. The program runs for 100 days beginning in mid-February through May 2026 as part of the state’s America 250 celebration.

Governor DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine shared that their first date was to see 1962’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? in a movie theatre and they have remained avid moviegoers since.

Exhibitors who would like to participate in OGTTM should contact Program Director Molly Kreuzman ( for more information.

NATO is looking to enact similar state-based programs inspired by Ohio Goes to the Movies across the country. More details to follow.

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