20 – 23 April 2015 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas


HOLLYWOOD, CA November 30, 2011 – The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation will present its 2012 “Pioneer of the Year” Award to Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA), it was announced by Ted Cooper, President of the industry’s foremost charitable organization. Katzenberg will be honored on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at CinemaCon, the industry’s largest and most important gathering of cinema owners and operators from around the world. CinemaCon 2012 will be held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

“We are honored in our own right to be able to single out someone like Jeffrey Katzenberg,” noted Ted Cooper. “When it comes to passion for our industry and compassion for those in our industry who need help, Jeffrey has no equals. He is most deserving of this prestigious accolade. As well we thank our friends at NATO for their continued support as we could not imagine a better forum at which to honor Jeffrey than at CinemaCon 2012.”

“We are thrilled to support the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and the presentation of its annual 'Pioneer of the Year Award' at CinemaCon 2012”, said Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director. “Having such a time honored tradition be a part of our first endeavor this past March was a true convention highlight and knowing NATO and its members are there to lend a helping hand to this great organization is so meaningful to us all. We are already looking forward to the 2012 “Pioneer Dinner” in honor of our good friend Jeffrey Katzenberg”.

Jeffrey Katzenberg started his career in the entertainment industry as assistant to Barry Diller, the Chairman of Paramount Pictures. He was assigned and able to revive the “Star Trek” franchise and during his tenure became President of Production. Katzenberg then moved to Walt Disney Pictures and was in charge of turning around the ailing animation studio. Under his management, the company created some of Disney’s most critically acclaimed and highest grossing features including “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King.” In addition, he brokered a deal that secured a partnership with Pixar Studios and one that brought Miramax Films into Disney.

What Katzenberg may best be known for though is joining forces with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen to create DreamWorks Studios. Among its many successes in film, animation and television were “American Beauty,” “Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind,” as well as the DreamWorks Animation franchises of “Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Jeffrey is also well known for his many charitable and humanitarian acts. In 2010, he received the Humanity Award from the USC Shoah Institute. He is Chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation (MPTVFF) and host to one of the largest fundraisers in the entertainment industry (benefitting MPTVFF), called The Night Before, which is known as THE party to attend in conjunction with the Academy Awards. Over $30 million has been raised to benefit the MPTFF, in recent years. Katzenberg also devotes significant energy and resources to the Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Foundation and recently donated $1.25 million to Boston University’s College of General Studies.

The Pioneer of the Year honors leaders of the motion picture industry and within the philanthropic community. Past honorees include Cecil B. DeMille, Jack Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck, Frank G. Mancuso, Jack Valenti, Terry Semel, Sumner Redstone, Sherry Lansing, Alan Horn, Jeff Blake, Mike Campbell, Marc Shmuger, David Linde, Rob Moore and in 2011, Dick Cook. Proceeds from the event go to the Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund (MPPAF), an industry charity that helps movie industry veterans who are encountering an illness, injury or life-changing event.

The MPPAF is owned and operated by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. For more information about the Pioneer of the Year Dinner or the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, please call (888) 994-3863 or visit www.wrpioneers.org.

About The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation

Named after one of the greatest humanitarians, philanthropists and entertainers – Will Rogers – the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation perpetuates his legacy through the works of two programs, the Will Rogers Institute and the Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund.

A hospital created for Vaudevillians stricken with tuberculosis, the National Vaudeville Association Hospital was renamed the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital in 1936, as a tribute to Will Rogers. The hospital became a national training facility for doctors treating patients with tuberculosis, becoming known as the Will Rogers Institute. In 2002, the Will Rogers charity merged with the Foundation of Motion Picture Pioneers and became the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. Today, WRMPPF operates two distinct programs, under the names Will Rogers Institute and the Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund.

The Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund continues the mission of FMPP by helping individuals from the motion picture community who are encountering an illness, injury or life-changing event. Social workers provide confidential consultations and financial assistance on a short-term or long-term basis, in order to help a person get back to a normal life or continue living with dignity.

About NATO

The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 30,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 50 countries worldwide. NATO’s membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theatre owners, too. For more information visit www.natoonline.org or email

About CinemaCon

Held April 23 – 26 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, CinemaCon is expected play host to more than 6,000 motion picture theater industry professionals. Additional information on CinemaCon, the Official Convention of NATO, can be found at www.cinemacon.com.

Media Contacts:

For CinemaCon:
Heather Lewandoski
Rogers & Cowan

Jessica Erskine
Rogers & Cowan

For Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation:
Todd Vradenburg
(818) 755-2324

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