Todd Halstead Named NATO’s Director of Independent Theater Owners Engagement

The newly created role will collaborate with NATO’s existing Independent Theatre Owners Coalition

Todd Halstead
Todd Halstead

Todd Halstead will serve in a newly created position for The National Association of Theater Owners. Effective immediately, Halstead will be NATO‘s Director of Independent Theater Owners Engagement. In this expanded role, he will serve the nation’s indie theaters and collaborate with NATO’s Independent Theatre Owners Coalition (ITOC). While helping indie exhibitors, Halstead will continue to serve as NATO’s director of government relations and strategy development. He took on that role in 2021.

NATO President and CEO Michael O’Leary stated that “NATO is committed to the independent theatre owners across this country, and Todd is the perfect emissary for that commitment. He knows what is most important to independent exhibitors and he is very passionate about their success.” He added, “His breadth of experience, long-term industry and government connections, and his dedication to independent cinemas make him the perfect person for this critical new role, and I’m excited to work with him as we lead NATO to a more inclusive future.”

Todd Halstead has a long career as a trade association exec in the industry. He previously spearheaded NATO’s government advocacy from 2007 to 2014. Halstead then held leadership roles as the executive director of theater owners of mid-America (TOMA) and its convention CinéShow, from 2014 to 2021. He also aided in the development of the Independent Cinema Alliance. He served as ICA’s executive director from 2019 to 2021.

Halstead is based in Kansas City, MO, but works regularly in Washington, D.C. He is often on the road meeting with NATO members across the country. In this new position, he will work with NATO leadership and the ITOC. Colleen Barstow of Omaha-based ACX Cinemas currently serves as the chair of the ITOC.

O’Leary stated, “Both Colleen and Todd are dedicated to the independent cinema owners and together they will accomplish great things on behalf of this critical aspect of the American theatrical exhibition industry.”

Barstow stated that “Independent theaters are the economic and cultural heartbeat of communities throughout the country.” Furthermore, she added, “NATO’s renewed commitment to ITOC promises to launch initiatives that will empower our members, and I look forward to working with Todd in his new strategic role.”


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