Congratulations to Festival Cinemas' Leonard Schein!
Schein joins a long list of Canadians recognized by the Canadian Picture Pioneers with an Ancillary Award. Since 1953, the organization, which is devoted to the welfare of Canadian motion pictures industry members, has presented a pioneer of the year award, along with a number of Ancillary Awards.
Schein's extensive contributions to the industry includes founding the Vancouver International Film Festival, holding the positions of executive director of the Toronto International Film Festival and director of the Montreal World Film Festival, and founding Festival Cinemas, which operates the Park, the Ridge, and Fifth Avenue Cinemas.
The awards will be given out on November 17 in Toronto.
Earlier this year, Schein also won an achievement award from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle.
In a previous interview with the Straight about the Vancouver French Film Festival, Schein explained what inspired him to get his start in Vancouver's film exhibition scene. “When I first came here in 1973, I taught psychology at the local colleges,” he recalled long distance from Toronto. “When I was a university student in the 1960s, you could see foreign films on campus every night for 25 cents. In Vancouver in the late 1970s, there was the Varsity Film Festival, but they only showed 14 different films once a year. Then I thought that if I opened my own movie theatre, I could see the films that I wanted to see. That’s pretty much how things happened.”
The Vancouver-based Festival Cinemas chain includes the Park and Ridge theatres, which are two of Vancouver's few remaining single-screen theatres in an era dominated by the multiplex. “In North America, they haven’t built a single screen cinema in something like 40 years, and people aren’t used to them anymore because they’re so large,” he said.
With files from Mark Harris.