Elizabeth O’Neil, the executive director of Variety, The Children’s Charity of Southern California, will receive this year’s Al Shapiro Distinguished Service Award at ShowEast, it was announced today. O’Neil will be presented with the award as part of the Final Night Awards Ceremony on Thursday, November 11 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
The Al Shapiro Distinguished Service Awards is awarded each year to “a person who represents the ideals and standards that the late Al Shapiro set during his unparalleled career. The award epitomizes their dedication, care and concern for the betterment of people within the motion picture industry.” Shapiro, who died in 1999, was the president of domestic theatrical distribution at New Line Cinema.
“We are thrilled to honor Elizabeth with this award at ShowEast this year. There is no better example in our industry that truly represents what the Al Shapiro award is all about,” said Andrew Sunshine, president of the Film Expo Group. “Her dedication, service and commitment to our community is second to none.”
O’Neil started her career at USA Cinemas in Boston in 1986 as a co-op advertising coordinator. She later moved to New Jersey after USA Cinemas was acquired by Loews Theatres, which became the Sony Theatre Corporation and, later, AMC Theatres. During her tenure, O’Neil climbed the corporate ranks to eventually become director of in-theatre marketing at the company’s Fifth Avenue home office.
In 1997, O’Neil moved to Los Angeles to join Theatrical Entertainment Services (TES), which specialized in market research for the film industry. As senior vice president of sales and client relations at TES, she helped oversee the company’s European expansion after it was acquired by global market research firm TNS Media Intelligence.
O’Neil later moved to Technicolor Cinema Distribution, where she served as vice president of client relations for a year and a half before returning to TES, at which point she was asked to join the board of directors at Variety, the Children’s Charity of Southern California. She was a board member there for three years before taking on the role of executive director in 2008. In her role, O’Neil has helped elevate the organization from a two-star to a perfect four-star rating on Charity Navigator.
“Having worked with Elizabeth for almost 30 years and the privilege to work with her as President of Variety of Southern California for the last 2 years, I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of this award,” said Variety, The Children’s Charity of Southern California president Mike Polydoros. “She is the heart and soul of our charity.”
O’Neil also serves on the board of directors of STEP – Success Through Education Program and supports a number of dog rescue organizations.
ShowEast 2021 is slated for Nov. 8-11 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami, Florida.