Midway, Utah, January 16, 2018 – Legendary art house film exhibitor and film festival director Gary Meyer received the second annual Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was bestowed to him tonight at the Art House Convergence’s Annual Dinner at the Zermatt Resort where his wide-ranging contributions to independent film over the course of more than five decades were formally recognized.
The Provisional Board of the Art House Convergence, an organization devoted to increasing the quantity and quality of art house cinemas in North America, selected Meyer after receiving nominations from exhibitors, distributors and vendors. The award was created last year by Spotlight Cinema Networks in partnership with the Art House Convergence.
The Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has made major contributions to the advancement of art house cinema. The first award was given last year to Ira Deutchman.
“Gary Meyer is a well-known figure in the world of independent film distribution and exhibition,” said Jerry Rakfeldt, Chief Executive Officer, Spotlight Cinema Networks. “He’s a co-founder of Landmark Theatres and a veteran of the film festival circuit. Furthermore, his creativity, passion and business acumen have helped shape, nurture and expand the independent film industry. He’s had a remarkable career with an outstanding record of achievement and we’re thrilled he’s been chosen as the recipient of the Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“It is a great pleasure to honor Gary Meyer,” said Russ Collins, Founding Director, Art House Convergence. “Gary is not only instrumental to the AHC but also to artists and passionate cinema professionals. He understands and celebrates the vital role of the independent film and local Art House theatre as a place to nurture film loving audiences.”
“It’s a great honor to receive such an important award that recognizes the importance and value of independent film exhibition,” said Meyer. “I fell in love with the movies when I was seven and that love remains strong to this day. My dream and passion has always been to provide movies that are thought-provoking, entertaining and memorable. Our challenge is to find ways to expose these films to audiences, hoping they get so excited that they tell their friends ‘Don’t miss it.’
“I’m not only glad that I have been able to realize that ambition throughout my career, but that my efforts have been recognized by Spotlight Cinema Networks and the Art House Convergence who work with independent exhibitors year-round to make this dream a reality throughout the country.”
Meyer also announced that he is directing the $2500 prize that comes with the award to be donated to IndieCollect, a non-profit organization that collects, documents, restores and makes accessible American independent films.
Gary Meyer bio
Gary Meyer started his first theater in the family barn when he was 12 and it eventually became The Above-the-Ground Theatre where over 250 films were screened along with live productions, workshops and the publication of the film newsletter, Ciné. After film school at San Francisco State University, he landed his first job as a booker for United Artists Theatres which prepared him to co-found Landmark Theatres in 1975. He and his partners grew it into a national art house chain focused on high quality independent, foreign and classic movies. They quickly attracted loyal audiences for non-Hollywood fare. Meyer led his team to create a variety of film festivals and special events to counter-program the increasing competition from home video and cable. After the partners sold Landmark, Meyer consulted on many projects including developing concepts for Sundance Cinemas and the business and programming plan for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Rose Cinemas. He also created several film festivals including the Dockers Classically Independent Film Festival, the Solstice Festival and the Tube Film Festival for the X Games. Meyer resurrected the 1926 Balboa Theatre in San Francisco and joined the Telluride Film Festival in 1998, becoming a Festival Co-Director from 2007 to 2014. Today, Meyer consults with Michigan’s Cinetopia Film Festival and Devour! The Food Film Fest in Nova Scotia. He founded the online magazine, EatDrinkFilms.com in April 2014.