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WASHINGTON D.C.  (March 24, 2015) – Elizabeth Banks, who makes her directorial debut with Universal Pictures’ “Pitch Perfect 2,” will receive the “CinemaCon® Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year Award,” it was announced today by Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon. CinemaCon, the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), will be held April 20 - 23, 2015, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Banks will be presented with this special honor at the “CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards” ceremony that will take place on the evening of Thursday, April 23, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The Coca-Cola Company, the official presenting sponsor of CinemaCon, will host the final night gala awards program.

“One of Hollywood’s most versatile actresses and a force to be reckoned with behind the scenes at Brownstone Productions, Elizabeth Banks draws some of her cast’s finest performances to date as she helms ‘Pitch Perfect 2,” noted Neuhauser. “Elizabeth is already a well-deserving CinemaCon honoree for her talents as a performer, and we could not be more excited to honor her as the ‘CinemaCon Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year’ as she makes the transition behind the camera to direct her first feature.’”

The Barden Bellas are back in Universal Pictures’ “Pitch Perfect 2,” arriving in theatres on May 15, 2015. “Pitch Perfect 2” stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Katey Sagal, Anna Camp, Ben Platt, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Joh Hodgman, Jason Jones, Joe Lo Truglio, Reggie Watts, alonside John Michael Higgins and Banks.  The comedy is produced by Paul Brooks, Max Handelman and Banks, and writer Kay Cannon returns to the team to pen the next chapter that is directed by Banks.

This summer, Banks stars in “Love & Mercy” and will make an appearance in “Magic Mike XXL” and the indie film “Every Secret Thing.” She will also reprise her role as Effie Trinket in the final installment of the The Hunger Games film series, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.”  She recently wrapped production on the Netflix reprisal of the cult hit “Wet Hot American Summer.” Behind the scenes Banks and her husband, Max Handelman, formed Brownstone Productions, which recently signed a production deal at Universal. Brownstone will produce the upcoming untitled HBO film in which Banks is set to star as tennis legend Billie Jean King opposite Paul Giamatti as Bobby Riggs in the now infamous Battle of the Sexes match. Brownstone’s upcoming slate also includes two projects in development at Lionsgate, “White Girl Problems” and “Heist Society,” as well as “Dirty Rush” at Tristar and “Tink,” a Disney live-action romantic comedy in which Banks will star as Tinkerbell.

With a graduate degree from the American Conservatory Theater, Banks has graced the stage, as well as the small and big screen. On the big screen, she can be seen and heard in such diverse films as “The Lego Movie,” “Pitch Perfect,” “The Hunger Games,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “People Like Us,” “Our Idiot Brother,” “W.,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” “Seabiscuit” and “Catch Me if You Can,” to name a few. On the small screen, Banks is a two-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance as Avery Jessup on “30 Rock.” She has also appeared on “Modern Family” and in a recurring role on “Scrubs.” Her extensive theater credits include many roles in American Conservatory Theater productions, as well as the Guthrie Theater’s production of “Summer & Smoke.” In 2006, Banks played Cherie, the female lead in William Inge’s comedy “Bus Stop,” as part of the Williamstown Theater Festival.

About CinemaCon

CinemaCon will attract upwards of 5,000 motion picture professionals from all facets of the industry –from exhibition and distribution, to the equipment and concession areas – all on hand to celebrate the movie-going experience and the cinema industry. From exclusive Hollywood product presentations highlighting a slate of upcoming films, to must-see premiere feature screenings, to the biggest stars, producers and directors, CinemaCon will help jumpstart the excitement and buzz that surrounds the summer season at the box office.

CinemaCon is delighted to have both the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA) and National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) as its tradeshow partners. CinemaCon is also delighted to have as its official presenting sponsor The Coca-Cola Company, one of the industry’s greatest, highly regarded and respected partners in the world of the movies.

About NATO

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 32,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 81 countries worldwide. NATO’s membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theatre owners, too.

Additional information on CinemaCon can be found at www.cinemacon.com.