Leonard Schein

Leonard Schein has made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Vancouver. He founded the Vancouver International Film Festival as well as Festival Cinemas, which operated many independent movie theatres in Vancouver.

Although qualified as a Registered Psychologist of British Columbia, classic movies have been a lifelong passion. His undergraduate Honors Degree with Great Distinction (top 1%) came from Stanford University (he also attended Stanford Law School), where Leonard was introduced to the alternative film culture of California. He received his Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan.

After teaching Psychology at Capilano College, Douglas College, Vancouver Community College and Fraser Valley College in the 1970s, Leonard entered the film business in Vancouver with the operation of the Ridge Theatre in 1978 followed by the Vancouver East Cinema, Starlight Cinema, Varsity Theatre, Park Theatre, and in 1996, the Fifth Avenue Cinemas.

In 1982, Leonard founded and became Executive Director of the Vancouver International Film Festival. He has also been Executive Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and Director of Special Programming of the Montreal World Film Festival. He was President of Alliance Atlantis Cinemas, which operated 30 cinemas across Canada.

Leonard has served on many Arts and Culture Boards: Film–Vancouver Jewish Film Festival (Chair), Vancouver International Film Festival (Chair), Story Money Impact Film Society, and BC Film. Theatre–Vancouver Fringe Festival and Tamahnous Theatre Company.  Dance–Karen Jameson Dance Society. Business Boards: Vancouver Economic Development Commission, Vancouver Fair Tax Coalition, Point Grey Village Business Association, Cambie Village Business Association, and the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on many Health Boards: Canadian Cancer Society (Chair), Coast Mental Health Foundation (Chair), BC Child Foundation, British Columbia Psychological Association, and Inspire Health Society.

Environmental Boards: Ecojustice (Chair), David Suzuki Foundation, and the Pembina Institute.

Leonard was given the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the British Columbia Community Achievement Award in 2012, University of Regina Lifetime Achievement Award, the Achievement Award for Contribution to the British Columbia Film Industry by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle; Ancillary Award (Second highest) by the Canadian Picture Pioneers; The Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Philanthropy; Outstanding Philanthropist Award for Vancouver 2016; the Westside Business Person of the Year by the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce.