There's no better proving ground for testing a friendship than by starting a restaurant and movie studio together from scratch. At least, that's what Steven Spielberg said before he presented the Ambassadors of Humanity award to his friend and business partner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, at a fundraiser for the USC Shoah Foundation Institute at Hollywood & Highland's Grand Ballroom.
Spielberg noted that the movie studio, DreamWorks, is flourishing, "while the other one, Dive, stayed true to its name and went under." Yet Spielberg added that his admiration for his partner has only grown, as he mentioned Katzenberg's involvement in many philanthropies.
Shoah collects and preserves video testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust, as well as witnesses to genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and other countries.
Wallis Annenberg introduced Max Nikias, president of USC, where the charity's archives are housed, comparing its 52,000 testimonies to "stars whose light only reaches Earth long after they have fallen apart," adding, "there are also people whose remembrance gives light to this world long after they have passed away."
During the cocktail hour on Dec. 9, MC Craig Ferguson noted that people often say they're honored to host such functions. "I am actually honored," he said, citing the importance of Shoah's goal to overcome prejudices.
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson serenaded the 650 guests, including George Lucas, Ron Meyer, Ari Emanuel, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, and Kim and P.K. Shah. TNT was the presenting sponsor.
Spotlight on India
The President's Circle and Southern Asian Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art celebrated the opening of "India's Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow," with a Dec. 8 private viewing of the 18th and 19th century Indian courtly paintings, European oils, decorative art objects and lavishly embroidered textiles of what had once been the wealthiest court in northern India.
The exhibition, co-curated by Stephen Markel and Tushara Bindu Gude, will remain at LACMA until Feb. 27 before moving to Paris. The show contains 200 artworks reflective of the city's culture, which attracted artists, poets, courtiers and adventurers.
India was also in the spotlight when the American India Foundation held its "Wheel Power" gala at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey on Dec. 5
As guests dined, Fox International President Sanford Panitch introduced the night's honoree, Shekhar Kapur, director of the Academy Award-winning "Elizabeth." Almex USA President Ravi Tilak followed, presenting Kapur with AIF's Cultural Leadership Award for making films that focus on India's social issues.
The event, which attracted 425 guests, raised more than $425,000 for AIF's programs in primary education, healthcare and improved livelihoods in India. Vandana and Ravi Tilak, and Pushpa and B.U. Patel served as event co-chairs, while actors Kunal Nayyar of "The Big Bang Theory" and Janina Gavankar of "The Gates" acted as MCs. Guests included Hotmail co-founder Sabeer Bhatia, Pepperdine Vice Chancellor Michael Warder and "Outsourced" cast members Rebecca Hazlewood, Surina Jindal, Diedrich Bader, Pippa Black, Sacha Dhawan, Rizwan Manji and Parvesh Cheena.