Independent exhibitors honour Dendy/Icon’s Nick Hayes

Adrianne Pecotic with Nick Hayes and Scott Seddon.

Nick Hayes began his career in the cinema industry on the lowest rung on the ladder: behind the candy bar at Hoyts Cinemas in George Street Sydney.

After rising through the ranks at Hoyts and serving as operations manager at the Sydney Film Festival, he joined Dendy Cinemas as national operations manager in 2008 and was promoted to head of cinemas in 2013.

Fittingly Hayes was honoured at Independent Cinemas Australia’s (ICA) 23rd annual convention at Dendy Cinema Opera Quays and the Intercontinental Hotel last week.

The head of sales and acquisitions at Icon Film Distribution, he received the Mark Sarfaty CEO award for outstanding service to independent cinema, named after ICA’s inaugural CEO and former Sydney Film Festival and Dendy Cinemas executive who died in 2011.

Presenting the award, ICA CEO Adrianne Pecotic acknowledged his dedication and contribution to the independent sector, observing: “Nick’s generosity, perception, inclusiveness and statistical genius has been invaluable support to me and to independent cinemas.”

The lifetime achievement award went to veteran exhibitor Chris Mitchell, who was 15 when he was hired as an assistant projectionist at Hoyts 16th Street Drive-in and the Ozone Theatre in Mildura.

With partners he built the Deakin Cinema in Mildura in 1985, which later became a quad. He part-owned and managed the cinema, now part of Wallis Cinemas, until he retired last year.

Christie’s Mike Bosworth said: “Chris’s dedication to providing excellence in independent cinema and tackling the joys and challenges of doing business in the country over a lifetime of achievement well qualifies him for tonight’s award.”

At the gala dinner ICA president Scott Seddon paid tribute to Denis Parkes, who is retiring after selling the Picture Show Man twin cinema in Merimbula to local cinema manager Jesse Tankard.

The 2019 ICA conference will be held in Melbourne from Monday April 29 to Thursday May 2.