Southern Comfort: NATO of Georgia’s ShowSouth Provides a Warm Welcome for Exhibitors

One of the most popular of NATO’s regional trade shows is ShowSouth—and no wonder, since this annual summer event is held at Château Élan, a luxury winery and resort in Braselton, Georgia, a short drive from Atlanta. The resort offers a spa, wine tastings, and biking trails for those who aren’t too caught up in the convention’s two days of activities, August 20–21.

Executive director Robin Miller reports that “we have two seminars planned for this year. First is Ask the Audience, presented by NCM, where they use their research panel of 5,000 avid moviegoers to provide exhibitors with data-based answers to questions that impact their business. That will be followed by a session on ADA captioning and audio description presented by Esther Baruh of NATO. She will be describing the proper use of ADA devices and their upkeep, so that everyone has them in good working order at all times.” Another ShowSouth session will focus on the work of the Independent Cinema Alliance, presented by its chairman, Bill Campbell.

Miller also emphasizes that “the trade show is a wonderful part of our show, an opportunity for theater owners and managers to see the latest and greatest that is available for their theaters. We have projector, seat, and candy vendors—anything that has to do with theaters. So the attendees can speak directly with the vendors and find out what best fits their needs.”

Following Tuesday afternoon’s NATO of Georgia meeting, the socializing kicks into high gear with a cocktail party at the winery, the Statesman of the Year dinner honoring Coca-Cola’s Bruce McDonald, and the annual Casino Night. Wednesday night culminates with the Variety “Big Heart” Awards dinner and after-party; this year’s honoree is Craig Chapin, former president and CEO of Allure Global Solutions.

Miller notes that ShowSouth is one of the largest regional shows for exhibitors in the United States. “We have independent theater owners as well as large-chain theaters represented at ShowSouth.”

As for studio support, “We have representation from all of the major studios, as well the independent distributors participating in our exhibitor-relations forum and dessert party on Wednesday afternoon. We encourage all our attendees to attend this event, so they can have that one-on-one time to discuss their theaters’ needs with their exhibitor-relations representatives.”

Miller concludes, “Our goal at ShowSouth is to give people that comfortable, relaxed atmosphere that the larger shows just can’t offer. You get to spend quality time with the vendors and the exhibitor-relations people. We also encourage theater chains to hold their managers’ meeting at our show because of the seminars, the trade show, and exhibitor relations, so they can have all the information they need in one spot.”

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