Film News Roundup: Elizabeth Banks Honored as Pioneer of the Year by Will Rogers Foundation

In today’s film news roundup, Elizabeth Banks will receive the Pioneer of the Year Award, “The Great Hack” launches a festival, Women In Media launch the CAMERAderie Initiative and UCLA, University of Michigan and USC are receiving $50 million.


The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation has selected Elizabeth Banks as the recipient of its Pioneer of the Year Award.

The honor will be presented on Sept. 25 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Banks is the first female director to receive the honor, which is given to a member of the motion picture community who exemplifies professional leadership, service and commitment to philanthropy.

Banks made her directorial debut with Universal Pictures’ “Pitch Perfect 2,” the top grossing musical comedy of all time with $287 million. she is also currently directing, producing, co-writing and starring as Bosley in “Charlie’s Angels” for Sony Pictures and has starred in “The Hunger Games” and “Pitch Perfect” franchises, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, “Seabiscuit,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” and “The Lego Movie.”

Past Pioneer of the Year honorees include Dick Cook, Cecil B. DeMille, Michael D. Eisner, Jim Gianopulos, Alan Horn, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Donna Langley, Sherry Lansing, Frank G. Mancuso, Sumner Redstone, Terry Semel, Tom Sherak, Jack Valenti, Jack Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Tom Cruise.

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Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim’s documentary “The Great Hack” is opening the 10th annual NewportFilm Outdoors festival on Thursday.

Other titles set for the series, which screen on Thursdays, include “Framing John Delorean,” Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce’s hybrid film about car maker John DeLorean; Barak Goodman’s “Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation”; and Avi Belkin’s “Mike Wallace Is Here,”  about the late 60 Minutes newsman.

Doris Duke’s Rough Point will host a special exhibition of fashion by 1970s designer icon Halston, timed to a screening of Frederic Tcheng’s “Halston.”


The Women In Media organization has launched the CAMERAderie Initiative in Los Angeles, giving members experience, networking, and mentorship via production of three short films.

Mentors include Colin Trevorrow  (“Jurassic World”), Alan Caso (“Six Feet Under”), Germaine Franco, Kathryn Bostic (“Clemency”) and Bobbi Banks (“Men In Black: International).

“We don’t have a farm system or draft in Hollywood,” said Trevorrow. “We rely on established filmmakers to identify new talent and push them to the fore. We also count on them to give opportunity to those who might not otherwise get it. I’m grateful for the mentorship and support I was given, and I feel a responsibility to do the same for others.”

Participants were chosen based on script submissions no longer than 10 pages by a panel of judges including Effie T. Brown, Mitchell Block, Kimberly Browning, Michael Slade, Steve
Kaplan, Cynthia Graner, Judalina Neira, Shawna Benson and Kim Magnusson.


The Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts have donated $50 million to three universities to prepare current and future generations to lead creative industries.

The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television will receive $20 million, the University of Michigan will receive $10 million and the USC School of Cinematic Arts will receive $20 million. Additional match funding is coming from UCLA and USC of $5 million from each.

The gift was conceived by the late philanthropist Patricia W. Mitchell to honor the legacy of her husband, television industry leader John H. Mitchell, who died in 1988.

The UCLA funding will support annual archive programming for television, such as workshops, lectures, screenings, symposiums, as well as greatly needed television preservation opportunities.  The television collection will be named The John H. Mitchell Television Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The $10 million endowment from the Mitchell Trusts at the University of Michigan will support faculty and student initiatives at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA), and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Mitchell graduated from Michigan in 1939 with a degree in economics.

The $20 million to USC will establish the John H. Mitchell Endowed Fund for the Business of Entertainment.

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