Kathleen Kennedy to Receive Pioneer of The Year Award

1:13 PM PST 01/30/2013 by Pamela McClintock
Andrew MacPherson
Kathleen Kennedy

The co-chair of Lucasfilm and longtime producer will be feted during the annual Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers dinner in Las Vegas.

Kathleen Kennedy will be this year's Pioneer of the Year honoree, the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation said Wednesday.

The prolific producer and co-chair of Lucasfilm will receive the tribute during a charity dinner coinciding with CinemaCon, the annual gathering of theater owners in Las Vegas. The convention runs April 15-18.

Last year, Kennedy was handpicked by George Lucas to lead his company; Lucasfilm has since been bought by Disney, with Lucas stepping aside. Kennedy is now in the midst of relaunching the Star Wars franchise, bringing aboard J.J. Abrams to direct.

THR COVER: Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy on 'Star Wars,' 'Lincoln' and Secret J.J. Abrams Meetings 

Kennedy also is in the midst of the awards campaign for Steven Spielberg Lincoln, which she produced. She's produced numerous Spielberg films via the production company she ran with her husband, Frank Marshall.

"We are extremely grateful that Kathleen will accept this well-deserved honor and help raise funds for the Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund. She is the embodiment of what makes this industry so special -- a passion and dedication to the creative process and the desire to assist those who need a helping hand," said Chris Aronson, president of the Pioneers Foundation and president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox.

The Pioneer of the Year dinner -- an industry tradition for 70 years -- honors leaders of the motion picture industry and within the philanthropic community. Past honorees include Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sherry Lansing, Dick Cook, Sumner Redstone and Alan Horn. Proceeds from the event go to the Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund (MPPAF), an industry charity that helps movie industry veterans who are encountering an illness, injury or life- changing event.

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