ShowEast creates inaugural Bingham Ray Award


ShowEast will honor the memory of the late Bingham Ray, one of the most beloved people in the independent film world, at the 2012 convention with the first annual Bingham Ray Memorial Award.

Ray unexpectedly passed away on Jan. 23 while attending the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The Bingham Ray Memorial Award will be bestowed upon an individual who has shown exemplary leadership and foresight in the world of independent cinema.

“Bingham was a visionary and tireless champion of independent films, bringing them out of the art house and to audiences everywhere”, stated Robert Sunshine, executive director of ShowEast. “It is only fitting that we create an award in his memory to celebrate those individuals who exemplify the spirit, tenacity and leadership that would do Bingham proud.”

The inaugural Bingham Ray Memorial Award will be presented to Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures; Ben Barenholtz, co-founder of Circle Releasing; Arnie Sawyer, head of ad agency Sawyer Studios; and Tom Prassis, senior VP of sales at Sony Pictures Classics, on Nov. 8 at ShowEast’s Final Night Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

Only last November, Ray became the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society. He came there from New York City, where he’d recently served as the first-run programming consultant to The Film Society of Lincoln Center, executive consultant to the digital distribution company SnagFilms, and adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Ray co-founded October Films in 1991 and served as its co-president until its sale to USA Networks in 1999. October was one of the foremost independent film companies of the 1990s, winning two Oscars and garnering 13 Oscar nominations and top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival on three occasions. Some of October Films’ credits include the internationally acclaimed Secrets & Lies, The Apostle, The Celebration, Lost Highway, The Last Seduction, Life Is Sweet and Breaking the Waves.

In September 2001, Ray assumed the post of president of United Artists. During his tenure at UA, the company acquired and/or produced films such as No Man’s Land, winner of the 2001 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, winner of the 2002 Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary and the 2004 Academy Award-nominated Hotel Rwanda. Other United Artists films successfully released during Ray’s tenure include Jeepers Creepers, Nicholas Nickleby, Ghost World, Igby Goes Down and Pieces of April.

In 2007, Ray joined the Los Angeles-based production company Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and held two posts during his three-year tenure, president of Kimmel Distribution and president of creative affairs, as well as supervising the development of a seven-film production slate.

ShowEast 2012 will take place Nov. 5-8, 2012, at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Miami/Hollywood, Florida. It will feature screenings of upcoming major holiday films, sponsored events, seminars and a trade show. An estimated 1,300 members of the motion picture industry are expected to attend. ShowEast, now in its 27th year, is produced by Prometheus Global Media, owner of leading entertainment publications and events including Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, Film Journal International, CineAsia and CineEurope.