Natalie Miller AO
Natalie Miller AO is a visionary leader in the Australian screen industry. She has made and continues to make an astounding contribution to the film community through her distinguished career spanning over forty years.
A passionate supporter of independent films and filmmakers, Natalie has brought quality art house cinema to Australia through her leadership at the Longford Cinema, as co-founder of Cinema Nova, one of Australia’s greatest independent cinemas, and as Executive Director of Sharmill Films, the only distribution company in Australia established and run by a woman. Natalie has served on many boards and committees in the screen industry, as well as other cultural organisations, and is currently a Director of the Board of the National Association of Cinema Operators (NACO).
In recognition of her many achievements, Natalie has been awarded an OAM and an AO for her contribution to the Australian film industry and for her mentoring of other women. The French government also made her a Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her promotion of French culture in Australia. And for her outstanding service to the screen industry, she has received lifetime achievement awards from the Independent Cinemas Association of Australia and the Screen Producers Association of Australia.
The Natalie Miller Fellowship was established in 2011, to recognise and nurture the next generation of female leaders in the Australian screen community and inspire them to reach the very top of their fields.
ACE Cinemas was established in 1955 after John Pye returned from a film buying trip to the US excited about a new development he had seen in Los Angeles – drive-in theatres.
After failing to convince his employer to build the state’s first drive-in, John Pye left their employ and established the original incarnation of ACE in late 1955, which was called Australian Cinema Enterprises Pty Ltd (or ACE for short), later the ACE Group.
He convinced some investors to join him and built the state’s first drive-in theatre on a site fronting the Albany Highway in Bentley Perth.
It was a massive success from the day it opened in 1956. The same film screened twice nightly with both sessions often filled, especially on weekends.
They grew quickly and at their peak ACE had 15 drive-in theatres throughout the Perth metro area as well as many larger regional towns.
ACE diversified into cinemas, acquiring the lease of The Mayfair Cinema on Hay Street, which they refurbished and launched as The Capri Cinema and Café.
In the meantime, John Pye’s eldest son David had joined the Group in 1964 aged 20 in the Programming and Marketing Departments.
In the early 70s ACE entered into a joint venture partnership with Village/Roadshow which gave the company the opportunity to sell and supply film to every cinema in WA and this deal ran into the 80’s. During this period another joint venture was developed and called Roadshow Home Video which David headed up in the West.
The ACE group wanted to extend their hardtop cinema presence in Perth. Therefore, along with Hospitality Inns another company John Pye had formed which required a reasonably sized Perth hotel base to accommodate the customers they’d attracted from their regional motels they jointly built the 82-room Town House Hotel and the 600-seat Town Cinema on an excellent site in Hay St Perth they had purchased.
After the success of the Town Cinema, ACEs’ next city venture involved the purchase of the former Federal Taxation building on the corner of Barrack and Murray Streets and the building of Perth’s first multi-screen cinema complex, The Cinecentre.
The state-of-the-art complex also featured the Cinecellars Tavern, operated by ACE’s sister company Hospitality Pty Ltd and a shopping arcade.
ACE’s Cinecentre opened on December 10 1974 and enjoyed a very successful period of operation. The Cinecentre closed on February 1 2006 and was finally demolished in July 2016.
The Ace Group also developed cinema complexes in Kalgoorlie and Busselton which had very good runs. ACE sold its interest in these locations some years ago but are still running successfully. Busselton recently won a National Tourism award for its CinefestOz Festival which Ace was involved with in its early formation.
When the ACE Cinema Group closed down in 1987, David Pye spent a number of years in executive roles with Roadshow in Melbourne before returning to Perth and picking up his cinema career with his family, and the new ACE Cinemas was born.
ACE opened Midland Five at 181 Morrison Rd in 1992, which they then redeveloped and reopened as Ace Midland Cineplex on 1 April 1999 with 2 additional mega-stadiums. During this time, David’s son Jeremy joined his father in the cinema business and is now the GM of ACE Cinemas and proudly continuing the family tradition.
ACE formed a joint venture with Palace Cinemas and opened Subiaco Cinemas, a new 4-screen, 900-seat complex on Hay St Subiaco on April 3, 1997.
David had been watching and assessing trends in the movie business all his life, this led ACE into the shopping centre Megaplex age by sealing a deal with the owners of Midland Gate shopping centre to build an ACE version of the shopping centre multiplex with an upmarket Gold Lounge cinema, which has been enormously successful for ACE.
ACE Midland Gate Cinema, an 8-screen Megaplex, opened on December 15, 2006 that has since been regularly upgraded and updated, and enormously profitable for both the tenants and landlords.
ACE then did a similar deal with the same owners to build an 8-cinema Megaplex, including a much larger Gold Class cinema, at the Rockingham City shopping complex. ACE Rockingham Cinemas opened on September 10, 2009.
These state-of-the-art shopping centre cinema complexes, housing 1400 people in traditional cinema seats and 100 Gold Class seats, set a new standard for cinema in Perth.
In 2003 after the screen advertising contractor Val Morgan closed down their WA office to concentrate the business on the east coast David saw the opportunity to form and open the screen advertising company Cineads. This company was established to service advertising to hundreds of business’s and provide revenue to cinema operators throughout West Australia and other parts of Australia. This company became highly successful so much so that in 2014 Val Morgan bought it back.
ACE has a long established and well patronised loyalty program with 85,000 ACEcard members who enjoy benefits that befit their regular patronage
Terry Jackman AO
(Board Advisor & AIMC Chairman)
Cameron has worked in the entertainment industry for 25 years, initially in various regional operational roles across Australia, before joining Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas as CEO (VOX Cinemas) in January 2007. During his tenure as CEO VOX Cinemas, the company delighted over 200m guests, expanding the cinema circuit from 40 screens (1 country) to 650 screens (8 countries), with countless more screens in development. The company expanded into film production and distribution, producing Arabic titles to support the region, and distributed hundreds of films annually, partnering with the some of the world’s most creative film studios. VOX Cinemas led the development of cinemas across the MENA region, being proudly recognized by CinemaCon in 2017 with the Global Achievement in Exhibition, and more recently with re-establishing cinema across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In September 2017, Cameron took on the additional responsibility of CEO of Majid Al Futtaim’s Leisure and Entertainment businesses, refining and evolving the Leisure portfolio (1 Waterpark, 2 Ski Slopes, 32 Family Entertainment Centres & 7 Bowling Centres) and launching Dreamscape in the Middle East. The company operates the world renowned Ski Dubai at the iconic Mall of the Emirates mall in Dubai (voted best indoor Ski Facility globally for 5 consecutive years) along with Ski Egypt in Mall of Egypt Cairo. The company additionally operated a large F&B business that supported the Cinema and Leisure businesses, whilst also developing and operating standalone Cafes and Restaurants, including Fast Casual and Dine In facilities.
In 2019, Cameron was voted a 2019 Variety500 Honoree, an index of the 500 most influential business leaders shaping the global media industry. Cameron relocated to Australia’s Gold Coast in 2021, and aside from his NACO responsibilities, is a Director of Creative Content Australia, and consults on Cinema & Entertainment globally.