Alan Finney, vice president and managing director of Buena Vista International (Australia and New Zealand), was among the Australians honoured as part of the weekend's Australia Day celebrations. His Order of Australia Medal (OAM) is a signal of his status as the most experienced distributor in the country and one of the most passionate supporters of Australian films.

Finney has worked in the industry since completing a law degree in the late 1960s and has overseen the theatrical release of hundreds of films, mostly during his 27 years at Roadshow Film Distributors. He joined BVI in 1998 when the US company decided to directly release its own films in Australia rather than continue to sub-distribute through Roadshow.

Finney has applied what he has learned from handling big US blockbusters to assist Australian films in an environment where many local films get only a limited release by arthouse distributors. He is associated with many of the biggest hits of the last three decades including the Mad Max films, Breaker Morant, Proof, Romper Stomper, Bad Boy Bubby, The Piano, Muriel's Wedding, The Adventures Of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert and The Castle. His latest, The Man Who Sued God, has made over $4.1m (A$8m) since being released in October last year.

The former actor has had many executive producer and associate producer credits, regularly appears on the lecture circuit and on radio and television, is on the board of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and last year took his turn as chair of the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia. He was also one of the founders of the now defunct Hexagon, one of only a handful of Australian companies that was both a producer and distributor.