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1st Annual Robin Williams Award For Excellence In Entertainment to honor Chris Columbus, Legendary Director, Producer & Writer

David Perry

Media contact: David Perry / (415) 676-7007 /

1st Annual Robin Williams Award For Excellence In Entertainment to honor Chris Columbus, Legendary Director, Producer & Writer

presented by Friends of the San Francisco Film Commission

Tribute Gala at Fairmont Hotel

Thursday, February 9, 2017

4 January 2017 – San Francisco, CA: The movie industry has been good to San Francisco, and the “City That Knows How” is anxious to return the favor by honoring one of cinema’s leading lights. On Thursday, February 9, 2017 from 6pm – 9pm at the Fairmont Hotel, the Friends of the San Francisco Film Commission ( will present legendary writer, director and producer Chris Columbus with its inaugural Robin Williams Award for Excellence In Entertainment, acknowledging a career that has brought joy to millions, while also showcasing San Francisco’s iconic locations and talents to the world.

“As a Director, Producer and Writer Chris Columbus is the definition of a triple threat,” said Jim McCullough, Founding President of the nonprofit “Friends”. A former twelve-year member of the San Francisco Film Commission, McCullough founded the group in 2012 to support efforts to attract, retain and promote the film industry. “Whether taking us to Hogwarts Academy for Wizards or to San Francisco’s Pacific Heights with Mrs. Doubtfire, Chris is truly the best of what San Francisco has to offer the film industry.”
Columbus first came to international attention as a screenwriter with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, working on Gremlins (1984), The Goonies (1985) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). He wrote the first episodes of the animated series Galaxy High (1986) and later made his directorial debut with the teen comedy Adventures in Babysitting (1987) and Heartbreak Hotel (1988). His directorial work includes Home Alone (1990), Only the Lonely (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Nine Months (1995), Stepmom (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Rent (2005), I Love You Beth Cooper (2009), Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and most recently Pixels (2015). He was the producer of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), the third film in the Harry Potter film series, and received an Academy Award nomination for producing The Help (2011). Columbus founded his production company named 1492 Pictures in 1995. The character types preferred by Columbus are the everyday American men, women and children who struggle to uphold family traditions against a changing, sometimes intimidating society. In 1993 he said: “I can understand the validity of showing people the ugliness of the world, but I also think there is a place for movies to leave people with a sense of hope. If your film isn’t going to do that, I just don’t think it’s worth making.” Columbus created the House of Secrets book series with Ned Vizzini [10] and co-founded a new animation studio called ZAG Animation Studios with Saban Capital Group and ZAG Entertainment.
“When I was Mayor, I learned early on that the movie business is good for San Francisco; it creates paying jobs, brings in millions of dollars to the local economy and helps to promote San Francisco’s uniqueness,” notes “Friends” supporter Willie L. Brown Jr. Friends of The San Francisco Film Commission will help San Francisco attract film and television companies through grants to the commission. By financially supporting the S.F. Film Commission, San Francisco will be able to better compete with other more well-funded venues. Monies directed to the Film Commission will not only be used to promote and attract the entertainment business but could also be used to secure production offices, sound stage facilities and supply other needed incentives.”

“Aside from the obvious direct money spent to make movies in San Francisco, other areas that benefit include: employment, hotels, restaurants, rental cars, unions, rental equipment, tax revenue, etc. Long after a film is produced it still has residual impact, attracting tourists and continuing to inspire. Notable productions include: Mrs. Doubtfire, Vertigo, The Maltese Falcon, Streets of San Francisco, The Rock, Bullitt, and more recently San Andreas and Chance” notes McCullough.

Supporters of the nonprofit Friends of the San Francisco Film Commission include: Former Mayor L. Willie Brown, Jr., Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Charlotte Shultz (Honorary Advisor), Robin Williams (1951-2014), SAG-AFTRA, IATSE Local 16, San Francisco Hotel Council, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and many other local entertainment, business, union and community leaders.

Friends of the San Francisco Film Commission is an initiative of the San Francisco Center for Economic Development, a department of The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Foundation a 501 (c) (3) California nonprofit public benefit corporation. Its goal is to help re-establish San Francisco as a viable filmmaking center.

Tickets for the February 9, 2017 Gala Event are $ 600 each, with tables of 10 available at $5,000 and $10,000 and may be purchased online at