SOURCE: The Motion Picture & Television Fund

February 24, 2008 01:53 ET

The Sixth Annual "Night Before" Fundraiser Raises Millions to Benefit the Motion Picture & Television Fund

BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(Marketwire - February 24, 2008) - It was all about giving back to their community, as the biggest names in show business gathered tonight for the sixth annual "Night Before" party to benefit the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). This year's event raised $6 million, bringing the total amount of money raised since the event's inception to an impressive $31 million. The event is held every year the night before the Academy Awards®.

The first Night Before event was held in 2003, instantly becoming one of the most coveted invitations in town and kicking off what is now a much-anticipated awards season tradition.

This year's presenting sponsors were HP, Target, McDonald's, L'Oréal Paris, AOL, Variety, Panavision and Deluxe Entertainment Services Group and Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The event was held at the beautiful and historic Beverly Hills Hotel, where a huge crowd of celebrities and entertainment industry executives came out to support MPTF.

"The response this year was heartwarming, given the circumstances of the industry leading up to this event," said Ken Scherer, CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. "Even though the work stoppage has ended, it will take some time for people to get back on their feet and MPTF will continue to provide financial assistance and counseling to help them get their lives back on track. The success of this night is made possible because of Jeffrey Katzenberg's unparalleled commitment to MPTF and to the people of this industry."

MPTF Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg stated, "Marilyn and I felt strongly that this year, more than ever before, it was important to not only continue, but step-up support for MPTF. Many people in our industry have faced great challenges the past few months and the support and services provided by MPTF were critical to their being able to support themselves and their families. The money raised from tonight's event will enable MPTF to continue helping those in the industry whatever and whenever the need."

The roster of celebrities attending the Night Before benefit brought out the world's biggest stars from film, television, music and sports. Seen at this year's party were: George Clooney, Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes, Kate Beckinsale, Steven Spielberg & Kate Capshaw, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Harrison Ford & Calista Flockhart, Ben Stiller, Jake Gyllenhaal, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Don Cheadle, Orlando Bloom, David & Courtney Cox Arquette, Donald Sutherland, Casey Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Elton John, Spike Lee, James McAvoy, Robert Duvall, Christian Slater, Heather Locklear, Tilda Swinton, Ron Howard, Warren Beatty, Josh Duhamel & Fergie, Tobey Maguire, Matt Dillon, Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, George Lopez, Christina Applegate, Cher, Jaime Pressly, Meg Ryan and Josh Hartnett.

The Night Before benefit was produced for the sixth consecutive year by Robyn Leuthe Norris, with Silver Birches creating the décor for the party.

The presenting sponsors brought their own brand of excitement to the event, supporting MPTF and adding some fun to the evening. The following is a brief overview of what was in store for partygoers at the 2008 Night Before party:

HP

An annual sponsor since the very first Night Before event, the HP display invited guests to a high-energy digital entertainment experience. Party attendees strapped in for a road-hugging realistic racing game fueled by a VoodooPC Envy notebook and D-BOX motion gaming chair. Others tried their hand at Guitar Hero on a 47-inch high-definition HP LCD television powered by the ultimate gaming machine -- the HP Blackbird 002. HP provided all party guests with a USB flash drive, which was brought to the HP experience zone for a chance to win an HP Blackbird gaming system, the 20-inch HP "Dragon" HDX entertainment notebook, several 47-inch high-definition HP MediaSmart televisions, numerous HP all-in-one printers and digital frames as well as several HP Artist Edition "Asian Odyssey" notebooks. One lucky guest had the chance to win a D-BOX GP Pro-200 Race car motion chair, taking home the true-to-life racecar cockpit experience.

"It's a privilege to support such a worthwhile charity given that so many of Hollywood's top achievers are also HP customers," said Satjiv Chahil, senior vice president, global marketing for HP's Personal Systems Group. "The grand experience this event delivers -- unique to everyone who attends -- mirrors the experience we seek to deliver to our customers as we make the computer personal again."

Target

Returning sponsor Target showcased limited-edition Converse One Star at Target sneakers at its cabana. Guests were invited to select from three styles designed specifically for this event.

"This marks the fourth year Target has sponsored the Night Before to support the important work of the Motion Picture and Television Fund," said Amy Von Walter, Target spokesperson. "This year, we are excited to offer guests the opportunity to choose a one-of-a-kind gift from our newest brand -- Converse."

Target has partnered with Converse to offer One Star vintage-inspired lifestyle apparel and footwear for men, women, and children. The collection, which includes limited-edition styles, is available exclusively at Target stores nationwide and at Target.com.

McDonald's

The stars were aligned at the McDonald's® booth where guests were treated to a sampling of the company's McCafé® specialty coffee line. From espresso and lattes to flavored cappuccinos, partygoers ordered their favorites in a unique coffee-themed setting.

Night Before guests also enjoyed a taste of classic McDonald's favorites. Mini-versions of the Big Mac® sandwich and World Famous Fries® were served along with mini-sausage McGriddles®, Fruit and Walnut canapés and strawberry smoothies.

"McDonald's longtime commitment to giving back to the community is why we support the Motion Picture & Television Fund. We're honored to join Jeffrey Katzenberg behind this charitable cause for the third year in a row," said McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner. "McDonald's is all about choice and variety, and our mini-versions of McDonald's favorites created by Chef Dan Coudreaut and his team were a big hit," added Skinner. "We were especially delighted to offer guests the chance to experience our McCafé line that features premium espresso-based coffees and specialty drinks."

L'Oréal Paris

L'Oréal Paris brought beauty to the party once again, returning for its third year as a sponsor. Each guest at the cabana was treated to their own customized Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour Compact. After selecting their shade of this breakthrough, longwearing lipcolour, L'Oréal monogrammed each compact in Swarovski crystals. Everyone at the party could also enter to win a diamond and gold version of the L'Oréal Paris Red Carpet Compact, valued at $4,900.

"We are proud to once again sponsor the 'Night Before' party benefiting MPTF," said Carol Hamilton, President of L'Oréal Paris. "L'Oréal Paris has a long history of collaborating with incredible talent in film and television, so it is especially exciting to support the industry and be a part of this remarkable evening."

AOL

In its fourth year as a Night Before sponsor, AOL has developed a unique Moviefone trivia game celebrating 80 Years of Oscar where every correct answer results in an additional donation from AOL to the MPTF. All guests will receive a Pure Digital Flip Video Ultra Camcorder.

Randy Falco, Chairman and CEO of AOL, said, "AOL is proud to once again support MPTF's efforts to improve the lives of the entertainment community. Through our ongoing partnership, we will continue to make important investments in MPTF's advanced learning lab, which provides this community with the tools it needs to get online and take advantage of all the Web has to offer."

Variety

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck spiced up the evening at the cabana of perennial Night Before presenting sponsor Variety, where guests lined up to sample an assortment of his signature dishes, created on the spot.

Neil Stiles, President and Publisher of Variety, said, "Now more than ever, Variety is proud and honored to once again lend our support to the Night Before benefit. It is a wonderful evening with friends and colleagues who share the common goal of giving something back to our industry through the truly remarkable work of MPTF."

Panavision/Deluxe

The Night Before evening was capped, literally, by Panavision and Deluxe, with event staff sporting classic ball caps from the two companies and all guests receiving ball caps at the end of the evening. For film cast and crews around the world, these ball caps are de rigeur, and the Night Before guests were thrilled to join the elite company of those who bring the magical images of film to the cinemas.

This was the first year for Deluxe and Panavision at this level of sponsorship though the two companies have been involved with the Night Before in previous years. MPTF Board member and Panavision President/CEO Bob Beitcher said, "The Motion Picture & Television Fund is at the very core of what distinguishes our industry and its members, and we are enormously proud to celebrate the evening as a sponsor." Cyril Drabinsky, President/CEO of Deluxe, agreed, saying, "We are thrilled to be sponsoring this event and to be giving back to the community that has been so supportive of us over the years."

The non-profit Motion Picture & Television Fund, headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif., was founded in 1921 to provide "relief" for those in the film industry who had fallen on hard times. Today, 85 years later, MPTF is a major service provider supporting the health and well being of the entertainment community. Healthcare, childcare, retirement living and social/charitable services are offered with compassion and respect for the dignity of the whole person. Care is offered through the MPTF 250-bed hospital, five outpatient health centers, charitable financial assistance and community outreach programs, a full-scale retirement community and a children's day care center. More information is available at www.mptvfund.org.

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