ShowEast to honor Mark Borde with 'Al Shapiro Distinguished Service Award'

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Mark Borde, president of theatrical distribution at Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, will receive this year’s “Al Shapiro Distinguished Service Award” during ShowEast’s Final Night Awards Ceremony hosted by The Coca-Cola Company on Oct. 25 at the Loews Miami Beach.

Each year, the Al Shapiro Distinguished Service Award honors a person who represents the ideals and standards that the late Al Shapiro set during his distinguished career. The award epitomizes his dedication and concern for the betterment of people within the motion picture industry.

“We could not have chosen a more deserving individual to recognize with this year’s Al Shapiro Award,” said Andrew Sunshine, president of the Film Expo Group, which manages ShowEast. “Mark Borde is a well-respected leader and his dedication to and hard work for the film industry are to be commended and celebrated.”

Borde’s reputation as a leading independent motion picture distributor began with his family business over 44 years ago. His father, the late Seymour Borde, started their distribution company in 1962 as Seymour Borde and Associates. It quickly became the number-one independent feature film theatrical distribution company on the West Coast, representing MGM, Rank and hundreds of well-known titles. Those distribution years, during an era when our industry really came of age with iconic films and new and innovative marketing ideas, helped to hone Borde’s keen instincts. After his father retired, Borde kept Borde Films and soon created Legacy Releasing. He sold Legacy to Independent Artists, and thereafter became president of theatrical distribution for Keystone Entertainment. Borde then created Innovation Film Group and after meeting his soon-to-be partner for decades (the late Susan Jackson), they created Freestyle Releasing in 2004 and broke new ground with the creation of “service deals.” Freestyle Digital Media and a rare indie output partnership with Netflix.

One of the top service theatrical distributors with unique capabilities in distribution, sales service, marketing and varied national and international output deals, Freestyle Releasing handled both wide and limited release patterns that ranged from 2,500 screens to exclusive engagements. Freestyle Digital Media was begun in 2010 and it became one of the premier multi-platform distributors in the North American territory.  

In 2015, Freestyle Releasing was acquired by Entertainment Studios, Byron Allen’s multi-platform, global media company based in Century City, California. It was then that all of Borde’s experience and expertise aligned with the opportunities that Allen’s Entertainment Studios added. Now as president of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Borde and his team have direct partnerships across all major cable, digital and streaming platforms. The motion picture group and FDM is positioned to bring films to market in wide releases and to over 80 million cable TV households across the United States and Canada. Its releases range from 3,000-screen traditional releases, service VOD and aggregation to limited “day-and-date” theatricals.

In additional to his distribution accolades, Borde has also produced nine successful feature films under his own banner. Through Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, he is an executive producer of Love Stinks, 47 Meters Down, Hostiles, Chappaquiddick, The Hurricane Heist and the upcoming Keanu Reeves sci-fi thriller Replicas. Since 1990, Borde has been an active member of the Producers Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.