The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation has named producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli as its 2022 Pioneers of the Year. Wilson and Broccoli were presented the award by Daniel Craig and Michelle Yeoh at the Foundation’s Pioneer of the Year dinner, which took place at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on September 21st. The evening celebrated the cinematic achievements of Wilson and Broccoli, commemorated 60 Years of James Bond, and included a performance by artist/songwriter Sam Smith. Special tributes were introduced by Bruce Feirstein, Jonathan Glickman, Erik Lomis (president of distribution at United Artists Releasing), and Heather Morgan (chief of staff and strategy at Alamo Drafthouse and president of Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation).
For more than 70 years, the Pioneer of the Year Award has honored leaders in the motion picture industry who demonstrate exemplary career achievements and a commitment to philanthropy. This year’s event raised over $1.5M for the benefit of the Pioneers Assistance Fund, which provides important financial assistance to individuals in the motion picture distribution and exhibition community who are encountering an illness, injury, or a life-changing event. Michael G. Wilson’s Ford Thunderbird is also currently up for auction to raise additional funds for the charity. The 007 Limited Edition 2003 Ford is the same model driven by Jinx in Die Another Day (2002) and is number one in an edition of 700. The timed online auction is live now and ends at 7 p.m. Pacific Time on September 23rd.
The James Bond franchise, which began in 1962 with Dr. No, was produced by their father, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Wilson and Broccoli have steered the franchise since their father’s passing, producing nine 007 films together. The list of films includes GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015) and No Time To Die (2021). These nine films hold a combined domestic box office of over $1.52 billion.
“We are thrilled to recognize Michael and Barbara with this well-deserved honor,” said Jim Orr, chairman of the Pioneers Assistance Fund Committee and president of domestic theatrical distribution at Universal Pictures. “Their extraordinary contributions to the motion picture business, including their tremendous advocacy for the theatrical exhibition community and cinematic experience, have made them true pioneers in the field. It was incredible to have so many colleagues and friends in our industry join us tonight to celebrate Michael and Barbara’s achievements and support the Pioneers Assistance Fund,” Orr added.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the critical role that the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation’s Pioneers Assistance Fund serves within the industry. The only charity of its kind in the nation, the Pioneers Assistance Fund provides financial assistance to members of the distribution and exhibition community in times of need. During the pandemic, the charity administered more than $3.5M in aid and helped 10,000 people remain in their homes, buy basic necessities, and navigate the hardship.