Frank Rodriguez, the head of distribution for Searchlight Pictures, will be honored with this year’s Bingham Ray Spirit Award at ShowEast as a part of the final night awards ceremony sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company. The award will be presented on Thursday, October 26th at the Loews Miami Beach. The Bingham Ray Spirit Award was established in 2012 in honor of one of the most beloved people in the independent film world. Each year, the award is bestowed upon an individual who has shown exemplary foresight and creativity in the world of independent film.
Frank Rodriguez was born and raised in Santa Maria, California and later graduated from the University of California in Santa Barbara, earning a degree in film studies. His ambitions at the time were to be a documentary filmmaker, which he still pursues as a hobby. After spending the summer at Columbia Pictures in an intern program with 6 other young filmmakers (Spike Lee among them), Frank began his career in 1982 with 20th Century-Fox in Beverly Hills as a gross clerk, cashier, then booker. He moved to New York in 1990 to take a job as branch manager and was soon recruited by newly formed Fox Searchlight to head up eastern division sales.
When DreamWorks was formed in 1997, Frank moved to oversee sales in the New York market and stayed for 10 years until DreamWorks was purchased by Paramount Pictures, where Frank later became senior vice president of eastern sales. In January of 2012, Frank moved back to L.A and came back to Fox Searchlight where he became head of distribution and general sales manager, a position he has retained and enjoyed while helping the company earn 4 Academy Awards for best picture, amid numerous other best picture nominations. Searchlight is now part of the Disney organization where Frank still oversees distribution of Searchlight products.
Frank is married to Cyndi Berninger, who is currently a vice-president for Regal Cinemas. Frank and Cyndi have two children, Anaya and Myla, and reside in Los Angeles, California. Frank was recently awarded the MACEF Executive Exemplar award and is also a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“It is with great pleasure that ShowEast will honor Frank with the Bingham Ray Spirit Award,” stated Andrew Sunshine, the president of the film expo group. “Frank’s passion for film has brought some of the most relevant and successful films to the masses. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”