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March 23, 2010

Katzenberg Named Commencement Speaker

Landau To Receive Mary Pickford Alumni Award

By Mel Cowan

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will deliver the commencement address at the 2010 USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) graduation ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium on Friday May 14, Dean Elizabeth M. Daley announced today. Jon Landau, producer of Avatar and Titanic and USC alumnus, will receive SCA’s prestigious Mary Pickford Foundation Award.

“Jeffrey has been a friend and supporter of SCA for many years, and of burgeoning talent across the media spectrum,” said Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. “I’m thrilled that he’ll be joining us to share his invaluable perspective on the entertainment industry with our students.”

Daley continues: “Jon is truly a visionary producer who has contributed immeasurably to the art form. We’re so proud to count him as a member of the Trojan family, and we’re looking forward to adding to his remarkable list of accolades with the Mary Pickford Award.”

Katzenberg has served as CEO and Co-Founder of DreamWorks Animation SKG since its inception in 2004. It is the largest animation studio in the world and has released a total of 18 animated feature films, including the franchise properties Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda. Shrek and Wallace & Gromit each won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and Shrek 2 is the highest grossing animated feature film of all time.

Under Katzenberg’s leadership, DreamWorks Animation has been at the helm of developing and advancing 3D technology. In 2010, DreamWorks Animation will release three 3D computer-generated animated films: How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After and Megamind, a first for any studio.

Katzenberg serves on SCA’s Board of Councilors, he is Chairman of the Board for the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation. He serves on the Boards of AIDS Project Los Angeles, American Museum of the Moving Image, California Institute of the Arts, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Geffen Playhouse, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Landau began his career as a post-production manager before receiving his first credit on Campus Man. Following a stint in production, Landau served as the vice president of feature productions at Twentieth Century Fox where he supervised the production of many successful films, including Die Hard 2, John Hughes’ Home Alone movies and The Last of the Mohicans, among others. It was during his tenure at Fox that Landau began his professional relationship with director James Cameron with True Lies. Landau eventually returned to producing with James Cameron’s Titanic which earned Landau an Oscar. Landau reunited with Cameron on Avatar, which broke the box office records of Titanic, won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, Drama, and earned Landau his second Oscar nomination. The film also boasted the most advanced 3-D technology in cinema history.

Landau is the 16th recipient of the Pickford Award. Created in 1995, in partnership with the Mary Pickford Foundation, this award pays tribute to the men and women of USC whose extraordinary achievements bring special distinction to the school and to the industry. Past recipients include: Shonda Rhimes, Brian Grazer, William Fraker, Conrad L. Hall, Ray Harryhausen, Alan Ladd Jr., Michelle Manning, Walter Murch, Jay Roach, Gary Rydstrom, Stacey Sher, John Singleton, David L. Wolper, Robert Zemeckis and Laura Ziskin.