"We are fortunate souls to work in an industry that brings joy to so many souls!"

For the 19th edition of Big Screen Feature - providing a behind-the-scenes look at the world of cinema exhibition through the eyes of professionals themselves - Anne Fitzgerald (Chief Legal Officer and EVP, Real Estate, Cineplex) discusses the job itself and the value of the Big Screen.

Describe your typical day at work

There is no such thing as a typical day in my role, which is why I love my job!  Every issue that arises in our operations can cross my desk and all of the matters that a public company has to manage definitely cross my desk. In the past year, even what used to be typical has changed with far more focus on government relations, negotiating rent abatements and employee engagement issues as we’ve all dealt with the uncertainty created by the pandemic.

The moment you fell in love with the Big Screen?

In 1970, my mother took me to see The Owl and the Pussycat as she thought it was a kids movie. My six year old introduction to the world of foul-mouthed women of the night was nothing short of shocking. I knew that movies would entertain me for life. I first worked in a theatre as a teenager at the Lakewood Cinemas in Durham, North Carolina, and loved sharing great movies with excited audiences… the years of Raiders, Star Wars, The Big Chill, Flashdance and other great titles. I never imagined at that time that 20 years later I’d spend over half of my professional legal career in this wonderful industry. It’s oddly helped that I knew how to splice film and how popcorn butter could stain clothes.

The best thing about the cinema experience?

I love the escapism! I am truly incapable of watching a movie at home and allowing myself to be fully engrossed; there are just too many distractions (or more honestly, I’m easily distracted).  Other than horror films which tend to show up in my dreams so I avoid them, I love everything from a documentary to a dramatic epic to a rom-com to a shoot ‘em up. Hands down, my favourite films are psychological thrillers – think Memento, No Way Out, Usual Suspects and the like. We are fortunate souls to work in an industry that brings joy to so many souls!

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