Patrick Stickney Wins CinemaCon® 2024 Art Contest for his work “Grand Exterior”

WASHINGTON D.C. (March 18, 2024) – CinemaCon is proud to recognize Patrick Stickney as the winner of the CinemaCon 2024 Art Contest for his work titled “Grand Exterior,” 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.

“Stickney’s ‘Grand Exterior’ captures the essence, anticipation, and excitement of not just CinemaCon 2024, but that of moviegoing as a whole,” noted Neuhauser. “Patrick Stickney, via this initiative, represents the dedication and commitment of the global theater workforce in making the experience of going to the movies extra special. Our heartfelt congratulations to Patrick for his exceptional contribution to CinemaCon.”

Patrick Stickney, a General Manager at Classic Cinemas Elk Grove XQ in Elk Grove Village, IL, will receive a free trip to this year’s CinemaCon. His winning artwork will be prominently featured throughout the convention and showcased on t-shirts provided to all attendees. In describing his work, Stickney stated, “The Grand Marquee is what we, as guests, notice first; the warm inviting exterior will welcome anyone to your establishment.”
Sponsored by Mobile Moviegoing, the CinemaCon 2024 Art Contest was open to all creative, artistic and talented motion picture theater employees of companies represented on NATO’s advisory board. Stickney’s entry stood out for its creativity, originality, and thematic alignment with the contest’s goals.

Approved press image of “Grand Exterior” can be downloaded here.

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

NATO Celebrates Oscar Nomination for Ninety-Five Senses Produced By Tori A. Baker


WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 23, 2024 – The National Association of Theatre Owners congratulates independent film exhibitor Tori A. Baker on being nominated for an Oscar this morning in Los Angeles.  Baker was among the nominated producers for Best Animated Short Film for her production of “Ninety-Five Senses,”directed by Utah’s own Jerusha and Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Nacho Libre,” the upcoming “Minecraft”).
Baker is the Vice Chair of The Cinema Foundation and the CEO and President of the non-profit Salt Lake Film Society, with a mission to exhibit, create and preserve cinematic experiences at the Broadway Center Cinemas and the historic 1928 Tower Theatre. Baker is also the founder of the MAST program, a media accelerator studio dedicated to finding and developing up-and-coming animators and filmmakers.
“You will not find anyone more passionate about cinema than Tori,” says National Association of Theatre Owners President and CEO Michael O’Leary. “Her excitement for the cinema as a community gathering place is contagious, and it’s an honor to work with her. To see her commitment to filmed entertainment result in an Oscar nomination is truly special and well-deserved. She is a champion of the arts and tireless supporter of the theatrical experience and I know that everyone in exhibition will be cheering her on at the 96th Academy Awards in March.”  
“Tori is one of our strongest voices in the independent cinema world,” says Bryan Braunlich, Executive Director of The Cinema Foundation. “Her dedication to the big screen is legendary. We are grateful to Tori for her hard work in helping The Cinema Foundation meet its mission to strengthen the cinema industry and engage moviegoing audiences around the country.”
“Congratulations to every single individual involved with ‘Ninety-Five Senses’, including the talented directing team Jerusha and Jared Hess, the incomparable Tim Blake Nelson, fellow producer Miles David Romney and undoubtedly the amazing animators,” says Baker. “When a true community collaboration comes together, brilliant things can happen. We’re thrilled that the Academy continues to recognize the importance of short film in discovering and promoting new and diverse talent to embolden the future of our industry. We will ensure that the theatrical release of ‘Ninety-Five Senses’ garners even more attention for our artists and talents.”

More information on the “Ninety-Five Senses” animators can be found here.

Learn more about the film:

Classic Cinemas’ Chris Johnson to Receive 2024 NATO Marquee Award at CinemaCon 2024

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) will honor Chris Johnson, the chief executive officer of Classic Cinemas, with the 2024 NATO Marquee Award during next year’s CinemaCon. The announcement came today from Mitch Neuhauser, the managing director of CinemaCon.

CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO, will be held April 8th-11th, 2024 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Johnson is being recognized by NATO for his unequaled dedication, commitment, and service to the motion picture theater industry. He will receive the industry’s highest tribute as part of CinemaCon’s State of the Industry program on Tuesday, April 9th.

Johnson currently serves as the chief executive officer of the family-run Classic Cinemas, where he began his career at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, IL. While earning his BA from the University of Illinois and his MBA from the University of Chicago, Johnson took on various roles in the company, from usher to assistant manager, manager, concessions manager, and operations manager, before ultimately being named vice president in 1992 and CEO in 2014.

Founded in 1978 by the Johnson family, Classic Cinemas is the largest Illinois-based theater chain with 137 screens in 16 locations. Many of Classic Cinemas’ locations are historic downtown theaters, having undergone renovations that honor the buildings’ character while seamlessly integrating the latest technology.

In addition to serving as the President of NATO Illinois, Johnson also currently serves on NATO’s executive board, technology committee, regional restructuring task force, bylaws committee and is the former chair of the strategic planning committee. Most recently, in honor of the history of Classic Cinemas, Johnson was inducted into The Erik Lomis ShowEast Hall of Fame Class of 2023 along with his mother Shirley and his late father Willis, who passed away this past August.

“Chris Johnson embodies everything that is great about the exhibition industry,” said NATO’s chief executive officer Michael O’Leary. “Proudly carrying on the tradition of his family, Chris is a leader in our industry.  Always focused on what the movie going public wants, Chris is smart, innovative, and passionate about movies on the big screen. His voice is respected by his colleagues in exhibition and the motion picture industry overall. I always value his perspective and can think of no one more deserving of this honor. Congratulations to Chris and his family.”

When told he would be receiving this honor, Johnson remarked, “I love this industry, and I’m humbled to be selected for this prestigious award.” Johnson has dedicated the past 40+ years to exhibition, from his first movie as a teenage usher (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) to CEO. His hands-on approach includes a willingness to listen, ask questions, and respectfully share his opinion for the betterment of the industry. “My goal is to elevate moviegoing and the cinema business for everyone.”