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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

F3PR: Donna Langley to be honored as 2016 Pioneer of the Year

Film Flam Flummox



HOLLYWOOD, CA (January 26, 2016) The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation announced today that Donna Langley, Chairman of Universal Pictures, will receive the 2016 Pioneer of the Year honor on April 13 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

Since starting with Universal Pictures 15 years ago, Langley is now in her third year as the sole chairman of the film studio. She oversees all aspects of Universal’s production and marketing operations worldwide, including the international production and acquisitions arm as well as the studio’s specialty division, Focus Features. Under Langley’s leadership, 2015 marked the highest-grossing domestic, international and worldwide box-office years, ever, in any studio’s history.

Langley has worked on some of the biggest hits ever to be released by Universal, including many of its franchises—the latest entries of which include Jurassic World, which had the second-biggest worldwide opening weekend in history and is currently the fourth-highest-grossing movie of all time, and Furious 7, which stands as the sixth-highest-grossing movie ever. 2015 also marked the first time any studio tallied three films to cross a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, with Furious 7, Jurassic World and Minions all reaching that milestone.

During her tenure with Universal, Langley has been a driving force behind some of the studio’s biggest hits, including Fifty Shades of Grey, Unbroken, Neighbors, the Academy Award®-winning Les Misérables, Pitch Perfect, Ted, Bridesmaids, Mamma Mia!, Knocked Up and Wanted, among others. Langley is credited with reinvigorating and growing some of Universal’s most lucrative and popular franchises including the Fast & Furious series, which has grossed more than $3.9 billion, and Bourne series.

Langley was named The Hollywood Reporter’s Executive of the Year in 2015 and has been regularly featured in its Top 100 Women in Entertainment issue. She has also been featured on Forbes “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list.

Langley is a Board Member and Ambassador for Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization dedicated to mentoring women in developing countries throughout the world. She is on the advisory board of Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. Langley helped launch The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Film Mentorship program. She is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and she serves on the Board of Trustees for the American Film Institute.

“We are extremely grateful that Donna has accepted the 2016 Pioneer of the Year Award and will be receiving this well-deserved honor,” said Chris Aronson, president of WRMPPF and president of Domestic Theatrical Distribution of 20th Century Fox. “She is a true Pioneer in our industry, demonstrating great leadership not only of her company but the community at large. We look forward to celebrating Donna’s personal and professional accomplishments at CinemaCon 2016, as well as raising much needed funds for the Pioneers Assistance program.”

The Pioneer of the Year dinner, an industry tradition for over 70 years, honors leaders of the motion picture industry and within the philanthropic community. Past honorees include Cecil B. DeMille, Jack Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck, Jack Valenti, Terry Semel, Sumner Redstone, Sherry Lansing, Alan Horn, Kathleen Kennedy, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tom Sherak and the 2015 honoree, Jim Gianopulos. Proceeds from the event benefit the Pioneers Assistance Fund (PAF), an industry charity that helps individuals who work in theatrical entertainment, who are encountering an illness, injury or life-changing event.

The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation operates the PAF. 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

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 three programs, Brave Beginnings, the Will Rogers Institute and the 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 (FMPP) and became the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.

The Pioneers Assistance Fund continues the mission of FMPP by helping any individual 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.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

F3PR: 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards filmmaker grant winners announced

Film Flam Flummox



Spirit Awards Winners To Be Revealed
on Saturday, February 27
Broadcasting Live on IFC at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET

LOS ANGELES (January 9, 2016) – Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, announced the winners of its three Spirit Awards filmmaker grants today at its annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch held at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Uzo Aduba and Rami Malek co-hosted the event and handed out the honors.

“This year’s recipients of the Spirit Award cash grants are so talented and we’re thrilled to be able to support them in this way,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “Our hope is that these unrestricted grants will enable the filmmakers to continue to make great and daring work.”

Mel Eslyn received the Piaget Producers Award. The award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The annual award, in its 19th year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget for the 9th year. Finalists for the award were Darren Dean, Rebecca Green and Laura D. Smith.

Felix Thompson, director of King Jack, received the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 22nd year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851. Finalists for the award were Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, directors of God Bless the Child; and Chloé Zhao, director of Songs My Brothers Taught Me.

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, director of Incorruptible, received the Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award is in its 21st year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi, directors of Among the Believers; and Elizabeth Giamatti and Alex Sichel, directors of A Woman Like Me.

This year marks the 31st edition of the awards show that celebrates the best of independent film. Announced earlier this month, Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions returns for his second year as executive producer of the show held in its usual tent on the beach in Santa Monica, in a new location this year just north of the Santa Monica Pier. Producer Shawn Davis returns for his 14th show and Rick Austin returns for his second year as producer.

Winners for the remaining categories will be revealed at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards in a tent at Santa Monica beach on Saturday, February 27. The awards ceremony will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.

In addition to celebrating the broad spectrum of independent filmmaking, the Spirit Awards is also the primary fundraiser for Film Independent's year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry.


Now in its 31st year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience.

The winners of the Spirit Awards are voted upon by Film Independent and IFP Members. Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best International Film, Best Documentary and the Robert Altman Award. The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award and the Truer Than Fiction Award. The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, Bank of America, Heineken, American Airlines, Jaguar and IFC. FIJI Water is the Official Water of the 2016 Spirit Awards. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent.

Click here to see the list of this year’s nominees.


Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a Member, visit

About IFC

IFC is the home of offbeat, unexpected comedies. Series like Portlandia, Documentary Now!, Maron, and Comedy Bang! Bang! air alongside fan-favorite movies and comedic cult TV shows. IFC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., and available across multiple platforms. IFC is Always On Slightly Off.

(Special thanks to Film Independent and Ginsberg Libby)

The Movie Report wants to attend all your film awards events! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

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