Conservation International dinner honors Katzenberg

Though the look was suit and tie at the Montage in Beverly Hills, speakers and guests Monday night focused their attention on endangered four-legged friends thousands of miles away. The 15th annual Conservation International L.A. dinner, honoring Jeffrey Katzenberg as a Global Conservation Hero, used a theme inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming “Kung Fu Panda 2″ as guests strutted across a “bamboo” carpet and enjoyed Asian-inspired food and drink.

C.I. prexy Russell Mittermeier drew a comparison to the toon, a tale of a “panda being transformed into a martial arts hero. In reality, of course, the giant panda is an endangered species, very much in need of its own protection,” said Mittermeier.

Harrison Ford, a longtime supporter of C.I., called the conservation cause “essential,” and stated that “it’s the support of such partners such as DreamWorks Animation that enables our work on the ground.”

Receiving his award, Katzenberg reflected on the animating process, saying, “You cannot imagine just how hard it is to reproduce the look of billions of itty bitty hairs on a panda’s fur coat.” DreamWorks animators, he added, are “in awe of the natural world.”

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