Group Forms Independent Cinema Alliance

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Sun, 04/22/2018 - 21:58 -- Nick Dager

A group of independent movie theatre exhibitors have formed a new, unincorporated non-profit organization named the Independent Cinema Alliance. The ICA invites all independent cinema operators, ranging from single screen venues to multiplexes, including drive-ins, to join this organization and support its mission to advocate on behalf of independent exhibitors.

“The motion picture industry is constantly evolving,” said Randall Hester, president of Hometown Cinemas and an ICA task force member. “Premium video on demand and shrinking windows are just a couple of the major challenges we are discussing with our studio partners. While the large cinema chains often have a voice in these discussions, independent exhibitors rarely do. Our hope is to change that.”

The Independent Cinema Alliance plans to further the dialogue on behalf of independent cinema owners by promoting innovative, pro-cinema solutions to film distributors.

“Independent cinemas constitute around 20 percent of North America’s theatrical box office revenue, and we believe they are a vitally important segment of the industry,” said Bill Campbell, president and CEO of Orpheum Theatre and acting ICA chairman. “As decisions are being made that directly impact our industry, we simply want to share our unique perspectives and offer solutions that benefit both chains and independents alike.”

The ICA is currently managed by a task force of independent exhibitors who serve on a volunteer basis: Campbell, Hester, Byron Berkley, Jeff Benson, and Gina DiSanto. In addition to the task force, a steering committee of ten other independent exhibitors has been formed. The steering committee provides additional input and guidance on the high priority topics recognized as such by the ICA task force.

In an effort to build membership and provide an outlet for online donations, the group launched their website in February. Because of their unincorporated non-profit status, the ICA does not collect dues at this time. Instead, the organization encourages donations to offset any administrative and legal expenses they incur. The organization is in the process of finalizing their bylaws and other regulatory requirements to become incorporated.

Campbell added, “We’ve been fortunate to have such a dedicated team of volunteers who are willing to contribute their time and resources to this important cause. As we gain more members, our voice gets louder and the value of the ICA to the members increases exponentially. We now have 130 companies, representing 1,470 screens, who have joined the ICA and more are joining daily.”

The ICA plans to attend CinemaCon in April of 2018, and will be presenting more on how to get involved during NATO’s Independent Theatre Owners Committee program.