CinemaCon Honors Kathleen Kennedy

Hard work, flexibility and a willingness to change make honoree the Pioneer of the Year at confab

Kathleen Kennedy

CinemaCon  honoree Kathleen Kennedy isn’t inclined to analyze her own success, but looking back she sees two keys: hard work and flexibility.

“You have to have a plan, you have to have a passion, you have to have a focus on a direction you want to have but at the same time you have to be open to new ideas, new suggestions, and different ways to go. You have to be willing to change. I think that’s what’s great about the movie business, it is changing all the time. I love that part of it.”

Kennedy is living proof of her own maxim. She took a part-time job at a TV station while she was still in college, that led to her working as a camera operator for the NFL, producing a talk show, and becoming John Milius’ assistant. She met Steven Spielberg working on “1941” and within a few years was producing movies alongside Spielberg and George Lucas.

Now she’s at the head of Lucasfilm, ensconced in Lucas’ former office in the Presidio, the one on the top floor adjoining the office Spielberg keeps at Industrial Light & Magic.

She remembers telling Lucas when he asked her to step in for him, “Well when we were standing in the deserts of Tunisia, I never imagined this, George!” adding with a laugh: “It comes full circle after 30-some odd years.”

Kennedy receives the Pioneer of the Year award on April 17.