LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Director/Writer/Actor/Producer Jon Favreau, EPIX President & CEO Mark Greenberg and Eddie Cunningham, President of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, will be inducted into the Variety Home Entertainment & Digital Hall of Fame on December 6, 2016, at Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel). In addition, Google Play will be presented with the Hall of Fame Innovation Award for its leadership in digital distribution. Jonathan Zepp, Head of Worldwide Movie & TV Partnerships, will accept the Hall of Fame Innovation Award for Google Play.
As part of the Hall of Fame program, the Deloitte Media & Entertainment Leadership Award will be presented to Chris Milk, Filmmaker/Artist, Co-founder and CEO of virtual reality studio/distribution platform Within, and Co-founder of Here Be Dragons, a virtual reality creative agency/production company.
The 36th annual Variety Home Entertainment Hall of Fame gala dinner and awards show for the fourth consecutive year will benefit City Year Los Angeles.
"We are proud to honor these executives and companies who are innovators in the world of content creation and distribution," said Variety Group Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer Michelle Sobrino-Stearns. "Our content consumption habits are changing rapidly because of the work of these talented honorees. We welcome them into Variety's Digital Hall of Fame."
Home Entertainment Pioneer
Eddie Cunningham has for two decades shaped new initiatives and business models for the rapidly changing global home entertainment business, including the development of local content and business models to combat piracy in emerging markets. As President of UPHE, he leads the studio's worldwide home entertainment operations including sales, marketing and distribution. With 2015 marking the studio's highest-grossing year ever at the box office , UPHE, under Cunningham's leadership, had a banner year releasing the year's top titles in home entertainment, including Jurassic World, Illumination Entertainment's Minions, Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey, Pitch Perfect 2, Ted 2 and Trainwreck. The division also won a multi-year contract to handles the sales, marketing and distribution of Paramount's titles internationally, and added STX Entertainment, Broad Green Pictures, Bleecker Street, Funimation and Pure Flix to its sizable distribution portfolio. Previously, Cunningham was President of Universal Pictures International Entertainment, where he spearheaded home entertainment growth opportunities across Europe, Asia and Latin America. He joined the studio in 1999 when it acquired Polygram.
Filmmaker and actor Jon Favreau's successes in the home entertainment and digital businesses span two decades, encompassing movies and television, indie hits and big-budget blockbusters, and every format from VHS to virtual reality. Most recently, Favreau directed and produced Disney's live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's epic adventure The Jungle Book. The film has received universal acclaim and is currently the third highest grossing film of 2016. Favreau also established the Marvel Universe, directing the blockbuster hits Iron Man and Iron Man 2, which grossed a combined $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office, and executive producing Marvel's The Avengers, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, which grossed a combined $2.9 billion worldwide, becoming the 3rd and 7th highest-grossing films of all time, respectively. In 2014, Favreau wrote, directed, produced and starred in the indie hit, Chef, building on the indie legacy started when he wrote and starred in the acclaimed hipster comedy Swingers. In 2003, he directed the acclaimed holiday smash hit Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Favreau added the title of show runner to his multi-hyphenate list of credits as the creator, producer and host of the critically acclaimed and Emmy®-nominated IFC series Dinner for Five. He pushes the boundaries of virtual reality storytelling with Gnomes & Goblins, a new experience released recently for the HTC Vive.
Mark Greenberg is President and Chief Executive Officer of EPIX, a joint venture of Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount Pictures. In his more than 30 years as an executive in the cable programming industry including successful time at Showtime and HBO, Greenberg has been at the forefront of recognizing consumer viewing trends and leading the development of business models that have helped drive the distribution of content and television networks across new platforms and through new technologies. He is part of the founding team and created the strategic blueprint for EPIX, which is the first network designed for linear TV, on demand and online viewing. Under his direction, the network capitalized on its studio owners' powerful lineup of movies to secure distribution with traditional television providers as well as emerging digital distributors. The network's rapid growth enabled it to achieve profitability within the first year of its launch. By adapting the distribution model for films to embrace changing consumer viewing habits, he has brought Hollywood hits to pay TV earlier and extended the length of time within their premium windows. A leader in TV Everywhere, Mark moved quickly to extend the reach of EPIX by developing apps that made EPIX available to its subscribers across hundreds of new consumer devices including first to launch on Xbox, PlayStation, Android phones and tablets and Roku players. Mark is also active in the industry and serves as Chairman of the Board of Councilors at USC Annenberg and is a champion of their Media Diversity Initiative, which advocates for a greater role for women and minorities in front of and behind the camera.
Digital Game Changer
The 2016 Innovation Award recognizes Google Play's leadership in driving consumer acceptance of digital entertainment at a time when there is no more important challenge facing the entertainment industry than the growth of new formats and transactional usage models that allow consumers to enjoy highest quality picture and sound, while using legally acquired content flexibly, conveniently and with portability. Google Play is an online store with millions of digital songs, movies, TV shows, apps, games, books and more. Google Play Movies & TV offers tens of thousands of new release movies, classic films and next day TV shows that you can rent or buy in HD or SD. Watch on the go, on your Android or iOS phone or tablet, or at home on your TV (Android TV, Chromecast, LG Smart TV & Roku). You can also download and watch from anywhere, even when you're not connected.
Deloitte Media & Entertainment Leadership Award recipient Chris Milk's work continues to test the storytelling frontiers of interactive and immersive technologies. Milk currently serves as Co-founder and CEO of Within, a virtual reality studio/distribution platform, and Co-founder of Here Be Dragons, a virtual reality creative agency/production company. Milk first gained recognition as a music video director, working with Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Beck, Jack White, U2, Johnny Cash, Gnarls Barkley, The Chemical Brothers, John Mellencamp, Courtney Love, and Modest Mouse. In subsequent years, Milk became best known for bridging the gap between emerging technologies and new mediums for storytelling. Milk's interactive installations have been exhibited in museums worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Barbican Centre in London, CENTQUATRE in Paris, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Milk was named to Adweek's Creative 100 list in 2015, as one of the 50 Most Creative People by Advertising Age in 2011 and 2015, and one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company in 2012 and 2015. Milk has since turned his attention to virtual reality, aiming to create VR experiences that define the medium's potential for storytelling. In January 2013, he collaborated with Beck to create "Sound & Vision," the first live-action, fully spherical, virtual reality film. Milk subsequently launched the Within app platform at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, creating the first home for extraordinary storytelling in virtual reality. Within is home to dozens of virtual reality films, spanning from experiential dream like narratives, to comedies, dramas, documentaries, and others, along with partnerships with The New York Times, NBC Universal, The United Nations, VICE, Apple, U2, Oculus, OK GO and more. Milk presented at TED in 2015 on the power of virtual reality as a medium to advance empathy, and again in 2016 on the birth of virtual reality as a new art form.
Press Play beneficiary City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988 that partners with public schools to provide full-time targeted intervention for students most at risk of dropping out. In 25 communities across the United States and in 25 Los Angeles schools, teams of young AmeriCorps members support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs that keep kids in school and on track to graduate.
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Full event details can be found at variety.com/pressplay
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