November 23, 2012
Mario Fortin, President and CEO of Cinéma Beaubien, is the 2012 winner of the Cultural Manager Award. The award, which comes with a $5,000 cash prize, was presented to him yesterday evening by the holder of the Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management at HEC Montréal, as part of the Prix de Montréal pour les arts et la culture, an event organized by the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
Mr. Fortin, who holds a degree in advertising and public relations from the Université de Montréal, has worked as a cultural manager for close to 40 years. Before founding the Corporation du Cinéma Beaubien in 2001, he held various management positions. He was Assistant Director of Cinémas Unis, Communications Director for a Famous Players subsidiary, an organizer with the World Film Festival international market, Director of Operations and Programming at Lions Gate Films and a film distribution consultant.
In 2001, Cinéma Beaubien (formerly Le Dauphin), one of Montréal’s last neighbourhood movie theatres, was facing closure. Mr. Fortin and his team created a non-profit organization to assume ownership of the venue and set themselves the goal of raising the $850,000 needed to renovate the cinema, which today houses five theatres. Its unique mission of offering art and experimental films and promoting Quebec films has proved highly successful. In addition, their economic model focusing on the social economy has shown that the survival of a cultural institution can be a matter of more than just its commercial viability and can contribute to the life an entire neighbourhood.
The jury noted that under Mr. Fortin’s direction, “Cinéma Beaubien has become a leading model for the development of social economy enterprises in Quebec. Moreover, he has taken a forward-looking approach to human resources, offering his employees both flexible schedules that allow them to continue their studies and bursaries.”
The jury also saluted Mr. Fortin’s involvement in his community, as a member of the boards of directors of the Association des propriétaires de cinémas du Québec and the Montréal International Children’s Film Festival, and with the Ligne Bleue, an association of cultural organizations in north-central Montréal. In 2004, the film industry awarded Mr. Fortin the Jutra for best movie theatre operator in Quebec.
Mr. Fortin was nominated for the award by Jean-Pierre Coallier, owner of the Radio-Classique Montréal and Radio-Classique Québec radio stations. The jury consisted of: