ShowEast makes its move


ShowEast is hitting the beach in 2009, with a move to Miami aimed at revitalizing the long-running East Coast confab for the exhibition industry.

ShowEast 2007 gets under way Monday at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando with attendance expected to approach 1,200. Featuring studio screenings, industry seminars and a trade show floor for vendors, the four-day event will return to the Orlando venue next year.

Then, on Oct. 26-29, 2009, ShowEast will set up shop at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, where organizers hope a recent spike in attendance by Latin American industryites will continue to swell.

"We don't operate in a vacuum, so we wouldn't make a move like this to Miami without discussing it with our exhibitors and other constituencies," ShowEast co-managing director Mitch Neuhauser said. "The studios really like the idea, and it will be good for the Latin American attendees. So it was time to move on, and we're moving on."

There's been some grumbling about the Orlando location ever since ShowEast -- the cousin to the larger ShoWest confab in Las Vegas each spring -- moved from a former roost in Atlantic City, N.J., in 2000. Some executives have groused that the Orlando site was lacking in amenities, though many complained that Atlantic City had become a bore.

A spiffed-up Fontainebleau should enliven the show, Neuhauser said. The storied beachside hotel is undergoing a $1 billion renovation set for completion in mid-2008.

"It really is an unbelievable facility," Neuhauser said. "It is magnificent."

Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said the prospect of a new location for ShowEast "has been discussed with a group of us for a long time, and it was decided that change would be good.

"Change is always good for a convention," Rocco added. "The hotel is undergoing a major renovation, and I'm looking forward to it."

Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder said he felt the Miami Beach ambiance might also lend a more exciting atmosphere to the gathering.

"There will be a lot more to do when evening comes, let's put it that way," Synder said with a chuckle.

ShowEast has booked the Fontainebleau for one year, with the option to renew for future installments. Organizers also asked exhibs and distribs about a possible return to Atlantic City.

"But the feedback was more con than it was pro," Neuhauser said. "Change is good, and we're excited about the move to exciting Miami Beach.

"We're going to keep one thing at the forefront," he added, "that this is a working convention. We're going to keep the programming vibrant, important and exciting. It continues to revolve around what has always been the lifeblood of ShowEast, and that is film."

Films screened at ShowEast 2009 will unspool at the Jackie Gleason Theater, a short bus ride from the hotel. Live Nation recently put almost $4 million worth of renovations into that facility.

Now in its 23rd year, ShowEast is operated by the Nielsen Film Group of Nielsen Business Media, which also publishes The Hollywood Reporter.