ShoWest 2007 honorees

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J. Wayne Anderson
Mary Ann Anderson

ShoWesters of the Year

For almost everyone in the entertainment business, awards season culminated with the Oscar ceremony late last month. But for J. Wayne Anderson and Mary Ann Anderson, 2007's ShoWesters of the Year, the festivities are only just beginning. "ShoWest is the industry's biggest show," R/C Theatres chairman J. Wayne Anderson says. "In our sector, it's the most prestigious award to receive. It's our Oscars."

Adds Mary Ann Anderson, J. Wayne's wife and vp and executive director of the National Association of Theatre Owners: "I feel as if ShoWest and I have grown up together in this business. So, when I hear someone mention ShoWest, I get warm, fuzzy feelings. To me, it's a celebration of family and friends getting together."

Although the pair is all business at the office -- they're being honored for their careerlong dedication to the exhibition industry -- they say that they take care not to allow work life to create problems at home.

"We have to do that," J. Wayne Anderson says. "It would be too easy to talk nonstop about what went on at the office, but both Mary Ann and I have come to realize that while work is wonderful and we both are grateful for our careers, having a personal life is important."

Mary Ann Anderson's day starts particularly early, due to her five-hour round-trip commute to work from their home in Westminster, MD., to her office in Washington, D.C. Her alarm goes off at 3:50 a.m. in the morning, and that's when J. Wayne Anderson gets out of bed and starts the coffee percolating.

"We lead this beautiful, bucolic life in western Maryland, but the commute can be challenging," Mary Ann Anderson says. "Wayne does everything to make my morning as easy as possible."

Both have stories about how the confusion about NATO and that other NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) have benefited them. "We get confused with that other NATO all the time," Mary Ann Anderson says, laughing. "But if I'm ever in a situation where I need a senator to return my call right away, I leave a message asking him to call Mary Ann from NATO. They always call immediately. I'm not sure they'd do that if I said I was from the National Association of Theatre Owners."

J. Wayne Anderson -- who was instrumental in organizing demonstrations of digital cinema for both ShoWest and NATO -- recalls running into former Secretary of State Colin Powell at the airport while he was wearing a NATO jacket. "I saw him looking at me, and then he said, 'I'm not familiar with you,'" he says. "I said, 'Oh, general, this is the other NATO,' and I explained to him what the organization was about. He smiled and said, 'Well, heck, that would be better for me to belong to.'"

While J. Wayne Anderson plans to retire next year, he says 2007 will always be special. "It's been quite a year," he says. "Mary Ann and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day, I turned 60 a few days later and now, we're being honored as the ShoWesters of the Year. We're thrilled at how things are going."

-- profile by Jae-Ha Kim


John Pytlak
Ken Mason InterSociety Award

Considering that John Pytlak has been an integral part of the Ken Mason InterSociety practically since its inception in 1978, it's somewhat surprising that he hasn't yet received the ShoWest award named for the organization.

In fact, it was Mason himself who asked Pytlak to lead a study of print film damage back in 1979. "Ken really was kind of a visionary," Pytlak says.

The same could be said of Pytlak. During his 37-year career at Eastman Kodak, the executive has worked on an array of projects, including the Theatre Quality Evaluation Program -- which he presented side-by-side with Mason in 1983. He also helped develop the Laboratory Aim Density system that improves the quality and consistency of the film print duplicating system most laboratories use.

In 2001, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented a Technical Achievement Award to Pytlak for his work in developing LAD.

Over the past decade, the InterSociety has focused a great deal of its collective energy toward promoting the digital cinema movement, and Pytlak has, for years, played a leading role on that front as well. In 1999, he made three standing-room only presentations at ShoWest describing key elements and differences in film and digital presentation.

"I think it was the first time people realized that digital cinema could become a reality," he says. "It was the first time people saw on a big screen a digitally projected image that didn't just look like television."

Unfortunately, Pytlak, who served as the InterSociety's secretary-treasurer in 2000 and president in 2002, won't be able to attend the convention this year to receive his honor because of his recent battles with cancer. But he says he will make a six-minute videotaped acceptance speech.

The worst part, Pytlak jokes, is that he hasn't been able to make it out to his local multiplex to enjoy any movies of late. "There's nothing like going to a theater to see a big-screen image with the digital sound," he says. "But I'm (making) due with my LCD-HD television at home now."

-- profile by Dion Rabouin


Mike Kosher
Bert Nathan Memorial Award

Although calling Mike Mosher the candy man is appropriate, he sees his job as so much more. As the director of specialty markets for Nestle USA, Mosher is responsible for driving sales and promotional opportunities for Nestle products at movie theater concession stands domestically. If you buy a box of Buncha Crunch, Raisinettes, Goobers, Snow Caps, Wonka bars or Butterfinger bars at the movies, Mosher has had a hand in satisfying that chocolate craving.

But it isn't simply stocking shelves that earned Mosher ShoWest's 2007 Bert Nathan Memorial Award. It stems from his commitment during 27 years with Nestle to working as a partner with the National Association of Concessionaires in boosting the clout of the concessions industry.

"This job remains an exciting challenge every day of my life," Mosher says. "I don't have to be involved with making movies to feel like I have an active role in promoting the film business. It's gratifying to be part of a company that has a hand in maximizing the moviegoing experience. And, of course, being given this award is a huge honor."

The Bert Nathan Award is named for the late Nathan, a past president of the NAC and a leader in the theatrical concessions business. It honors an individual for "leadership and significant accomplishment" in the industry. Mosher, for his part, has been an active member of the NAC since 1997, having served on its board of directors from 1998-2003.

Mosher works in tandem with theater chains to drive concession sales of the various Nestle candy products and achieve profitability targets "by providing brands that consumers recognize and are inclined to buy," he notes. He has been in his present post since January 1997, having previously worked in every retail sales channel representing Nestle's grocery and confection products as well as holding multiple sales management positions.

Born in Wisconsin, Mosher grew up in Southern California, living in the Orange County community of Fullerton for many years. He now resides in La Verne, Calif., with his wife and two daughters and is the second Nathan Award honoree representing Nestle. The late Bill Chaplain also earned the honor in 1993.

-- profile by Ray Richmond


Simon Barsky
Superior Achievement Award

When Simon Barsky left the Motion Picture Association of America in late 2006, it brought an end to a 28-year run in which he had gone from being a lawyer in the MPAA's state legislative department to being its executive vp and general counsel.

As such, Barsky, who remains a consultant to the organization, was involved in some of the MPAA's most important battles against piracy and censorship. It is for these endeavors that he is now being recognized with NATO/ShoWest's Superior Achievement Award, given to those whose work has made an important contribution to the exhibition industry.

On the piracy side, Barsky says his proudest achievement came in 2005 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling stating that the activities of the file-sharing service Grokster were illegal, a verdict that resulted in a multimillion-dollar settlement. But he acknowledges that the battle against piracy has become more difficult in recent years thanks to continued technological advancements.

"In the electronic era today, the theft of a single print or the illegal camcordering of a screening can cause untold damage in the millions of copies," Barsky says. "The scale of the problem has escalated markedly from when I found my way into the industry.

"The government has greatly increased its understanding and appreciation of the importance of (filmed entertainment) and the need to protect this most valuable trade asset," he continues. "There has been tremendous cooperation at virtually all levels of government, but I would like to see that enhanced. It is a global problem; it is not just something that exists inside the Beltway."

In the censorship arena, Barsky is especially proud of helping to close down the last remaining city censorship board -- the Dallas Motion Picture Classification Board -- in 1993.

"The freedom of the screen is very important," he says, "and so is trying to avoid the restrictions (placed on it) by those who feel they know best what may be communicated, rather than those who are trying to express an idea."

Barsky remains a strong defender of the MPAA's ratings system, despite much recent criticism.

"This system is now in its 39th year," he notes. "It is a marvelous way to communicate to parents background information, so that they can make their choice of what films they deem suitable for their children. It doesn't censor the films; it simply provides advance cautionary information and allows parents to do their jobs and guide their children's moviegoing."

-- profile by Stephen Galloway

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