Post Event Release


Banks is the First Female Director to Receive the Award

LOS ANGELES (September 25, 2019) – The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (WRMPPF) honored Elizabeth Banks as its 2019 Pioneer of the Year.  Banks, who wrote, directed, produced and stars in Sony Pictures upcoming Charlie’s Angels,in theatres November 15, 2019, was presented the prestigious award by the film’s stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska at the Foundation’s annual Pioneer of the Year dinner, presented by AMC, which took place earlier this evening at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.  Banks is the first female director to receive the honor in the dinner’s 78-year-history.

Banks was honored before an audience of nearly 1,000 motion picture executives consisting of film studio chiefs, theatrical distribution heads, and exhibition presidents and CEOs. Busy Philipps hosted the evening that included a special performance by R&B singer Destiny Rogers.Additional appearances were made by Universal Pictures’ President of Domestic Distribution Jim Orr, Paramount Pictures’ President of Domestic Distribution Kyle Davies,and Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group Chairman Tom Rothman.

A tradition for 78 years, the Pioneer of the Year dinner honors leaders of the motion picture industry and within the philanthropic community.  The Pioneer of the Year award is one of the motion picture industry’s highest honors.  This year’s event raised $1.25 Million for the benefit of the Pioneers Assistance Fund which provides financial assistance to individuals in the motion picture distribution and exhibition community who are encountering an illness, injury, or a life-changing event.

Having achieved extraordinary success as an actress, director, and producer, Banks is the ninth-highest female grossing actor of all time. She made her feature directorial debut with Universal Pictures’ Pitch Perfect 2, whose $69 million opening weekend and $287 million worldwide box office gross earned the film the distinction of being one of the highest-grossing musical comedies of all time. Banks most recently completed directing, producing, writing and starring as Bosley in her continuation of Charlie’s Angels for Sony Pictures, which follows a new generation of Angels and is the first time a woman has told the story in the entire history of the Charlie’s Angels IP for both film and television.

As an actress, Banks has portrayed some of the most memorable characters in blockbuster films such as The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect franchises, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Seabiscuit,

The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Man On A Ledge, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Oliver Stone’s W, The Lego Movie, Love & Mercy, Magic Mike XXL, Power Rangers, Wet Hot American Summer, among many others.

An accomplished filmmaker and visionary in all areas of the entertainment industry, Banks launched her own production company, Brownstone Productions, in 2002.  In addition to directing and producing Charlie’s Angels and the blockbuster hit Pitch Perfect 2, Banks also produced Walt Disney Pictures’ Surrogates starring Bruce Willis.

An advocate for women everywhere, including a number of women’s empowerment, health and rights issues, Banks supports a number of charitable organizations including Center For Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, LA’s Best, Temple Israel of Hollywood, the USO, Mrs. Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, Heifer International, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Turnaround Arts.

“We are delighted to recognize Elizabeth’s achievements in the motion picture industry with this well-deserved honor,” said Kyle Davies, president of WRMPPF and president of domestic distribution at Paramount Pictures. “Her contributions to the film business as an actress, director, and producer, along with her tremendous advocacy and support of women in all aspects of filmmaking, demonstrate leadership and inspire audiences everywhere. There is a growing need to provide financial assistance and an array of social services to members of our community in times of hardship, and it was incredible to have our industry join us tonight to support the Pioneers Assistance Fund,” Davies added.

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 last year’s honoree, Tom Cruise.

Additional 2019 Pioneer of the Year dinner sponsors included Sony Pictures Entertainment, Dolby, Fandango and Regal Cinemas.

Sony Pictures’ Charlie’s Angels was directed by Banks, with the screenplay by Banks based off a story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn. The film was produced by Doug Belgrad, Elizabeth Cantillon, Max Handelman and Banks. Executive Producers are Matthew Hirsch, Leonard Goldberg, Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen. The film stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo and Patrick Stewart.