Ochs, Cripps headed to RAAM

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LONDON -- Veteran industry players including Warner Bros. International Cinemas president Millard Ochs, Paramount Pictures International president Andrew Cripps and Vue exhibition topper Tim Richards are among those gathering for February's RAAM Conference dedicated to the U.K. and Irish cinema industry, organizers said Monday.

Previously held in Glasgow, organizers opted to move the upcoming conference to London to enable the event to grow. Conference organizers RAAM Management also have introduced an awards element to the event, scheduled for Feb. 6-8 at London's Mayfair Hotel, with a gala dinner and awards to take place the last night.

The 2007 RAAM Awards will honor Ochs for his outstanding contribution to the U.K. and Irish Cinema exhibition sector.

Other awards categories include Movie of the Year (U.K. & Ireland), Independent Movie of the Year, Distributor of the Year, Cinema Circuit of the Year, Cinema of the Year in Ireland, Cinema of the Year in the U.K. and Achievement in Marketing.

The event also will play host to a series of screenings with films provided by such distributors as Buena Vista International, Sony Pictures, UIP and Universal, organizers said.

The London venue has a 200-seat private cinema with full Digital, 35mm and THX-certified facilities.

RAAM organizers said the conference aims to target "all elements of the industry -- majors, independents, distributors and industry suppliers."

"This is the first time in a very long time there has been a platform where the entire industry can meet, listen and share experiences," RAAM chairman Tony Meehan said. "While exhibitors and distributors compete with each other -- at the end of the day, they face the same challenges,"

BVI U.K. senior vp and managing director Robert Mitchell described February's conference as "a really exciting opportunity to air the topics that many of us know need discussing but rarely is there the forum to make that discussion worthwhile."
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