Chris Meledandri Minions

Trophy to be presented Jan. 19

The Producers Guild of America has tapped Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, as the recipient of its 2014 Visionary Award.

The award will be presented to Meledandri at the 25th Anniversary Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Jan.  19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The PGA presents the award for “unique or uplifting contributions to our culture through inspiring storytelling or performance.”

The organization noted that  Universal and Illumination’s “Despicable Me 2” recently became the fifth highest-grossing animated film worldwide with $906 milliion. Illumination is also working on a “Minions” spinoff for next year.

“I have spent my career working alongside brilliant, passionate filmmakers to tell the types of stories that move audiences, and to receive recognition for this from the peers whose work I deeply admire makes this award all that more meaningful,” said Meledandri in a statement.

Meledandri founded Illumination after leaving his post as president of Fox Animation in early 2007. Illumination, financed by Universal, released “Despicable Me” in 2010, followed by “Hop” and “The Lorax.”

Previous Visionary Award honorees include Russell Simmons, Laura Ziskin, Jeff Skol and Joel Gallen, who produced the landmark post-9/11 telethon “America: A Tribute to Heroes.”

“Throughout his career, Chris Meledandri has well established his position as a true visionary,” said PGA Awards Co-Chairs Lori McCreary and Michael De Luca. “He has risen to become a leader within the industry and paved a road for animation that will have a lasting influence. Furthermore, Chris’ skills as a storyteller are matched by his commitment as a philanthropist, and we are proud to recognize him with the 2014 Visionary Award.”

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