A Brussels-based lobbyist from Flanders has been named No1 on a list of the top women in global cinema by a leading US-based film industry online magazine.
Laura Houlgatte received the recognition for her work as CEO with the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC). UNIC acts as the voice of cinema operators on the international stage. Its members include Pathé, UGC, Odeon, Cineworld, Vue and national cinema associations in 38 countries across the European continent, from Dublin to Moscow.
Laura has worked at UNIC for five years and was appointed CEO in 2017. She also plays a leadership role with the Global Cinema Federation and chairs ‘Creativity Works’, a coalition of organisations representing Europe’s cultural and creative sectors.Laura said she was humbled to receive the honour from America’s Celluloid Junkie magazine.”It was so unexpected.
All the women on the list have done great things for the film industry.”The citation to Laura also recognises her achievements in running the Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme, which aims to promote more gender balance in the industry.
She has had a hectic time during lockdown, helping UNIC’s members to prepare for the re-opening of cinemas to the public. “We provide advice to them on how cinemas in different countries can safely welcome back their audiences and staff – my job also involves highlighting the views and concerns of the cinema industry to authorities at the European level.”
This week (17-18 June), Laura is hosting CineEurope, the biggest convention of cinema operators in Europe. “It’s normally held in Barcelona, but this year we’re having to organise the event online due to the coronavirus outbreak.” Laura, aged 31, is an avid film fan herself. Her favourite movie is a classic – The Great Dictator starring Charlie Chaplin.