Niels Swinkels, executive vice president and managing director at Universal Pictures International (UPI), has been named the 2021 recipient of CineEurope’s International Distributor of the Year award. The award will be presented as part of the CineEurope Awards Ceremony on October 7 at the Centre Convencions Internacional Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain.
Swinkels, a native of The Netherlands, was promoted to his current roles at Universal Pictures International on January 1, 2021. In his position, he delivers strategic direction for all international theatrical distribution efforts and leads business development, including regional partnerships, productions, and market expansion, among other duties. Prior to his promotion, he was executive vice president of international distribution, a position that entailed a move from London to Los Angeles in 2015.
Swinkels joined the Universal Pictures International head office in 2004 as international marketing director. In 2006, he was named vice president of sales and distribution EMEA and promoted to senior vice president in 2009 before spending over four years as managing director of UPI U.K. and Ireland. He kicked off his career at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment in The Netherlands, where he served in various roles before being hired as marketing manager at Universal Pictures Benelux. From 2000-2004, he was managing director of Independent Films Netherlands.
“Universal Pictures International has been a strong supporter of CineEurope since its inception and Niels has led that effort with great professionalism,” said Andrew Sunshine, managing director of CineEurope. “We are delighted to have this opportunity to thank and honor Niels and Universal for their leadership position in maintaining the even flow of product to the industry during the past 16 months.”