Hollywood and the heartland met again at the annual Geneva Convention September 9-11, 2014, at the beautiful Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
“Once again attendance was strong for our annual gathering,” said Co-chairman John Scaletta. “We are very pleased with the ongoing support we receive from exhibition, distribution, and industry vendors through their attendance, participation, and sponsorships of Geneva Convention. This year the tradeshow was sold out again with nearly 100 booth spaces.”
Attendees were treated to a diverse event schedule that included convention standards such as screenings/studio presentations, panels on topics such as tax credits, hospitality, and the general state of our industry, the NATO issues briefing, and plenty of opportunities for networking. Then there was something more unconventional: a speech from Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, former commander, USS Benfold, about management techniques.
“Although we saw many familiar faces, it is exciting to see the momentum build as new attendees took advantage of the unique programming developed for Geneva Convention,” said George Rouman, co-chairman.
Several industry leaders-both on the national level and the local level-received recognition at the event. On the studio side, Lionsgate received the BoxOffice Blue Ribbon Award for having the highest-grossing domestic release of 2013 with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and 20th Century Fox received Studio of the Year. The Ben Marcus Award went to Screenvision’s Travis Reid, Cinema Buying Group’s Bill Campbell received the Larry Hansen Award, and Sonic Equipment’s Eric Olsen accepted the Vendor of the Year Award on behalf of his employer. Joe Delgado of Moving Image Technologies accepted the Friend of Exhibition Award on behalf of industry vet and former-NEC employee Peter Nicholas, who was unable to attend due to sickness. On the local side, three members of the local film community were added to the Midwest Exhibition Hall of Fame: Gene Grengs, Grengs Theatres, Wisconsin; Paul Ayotte, National Screen Service/MTS (posthumously), Minnesota; and Frederick E. Heise, Melody Drive-In, Indiana. Ayotte’s son accepted the award on his behalf.
This year’s event also raised money for two charities that are highly valued by the film industry. “Since its inception, proceeds of Geneva Convention have benefited two very important industry charities, Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and Variety Club. To date contributions have exceeded $500,000 to Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and $100,000 to Variety Club,” said co-chairmen Rouman and Scaletta.
Next year’s Geneva Convention is scheduled for September 29-October 1, 2015.