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President Obama Tours DreamWorks Animation

On the second day of a statewide tour, President Obama visits DreamWorks Animation in Glendale to deliver a speech to employees and participate in a roundtable discussion with studio executives.

President Obama visited DreamWorks Animation in Glendale on Tuesday, on the second day of a statewide tour dedicated largely to fundraising. Before delivering a speech to employees, he was treated to a VIP tour by the company's chief executive, Jeffrey Katzenberg.

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, the tour included a look at actors Steve Martin and Jim Parsons as they recorded lines for the studio's upcoming alien invasion film, Home. The studio also prepared a brief clip of one of the film’s alien characters lip-synching along to an audio clip of the president speaking at an official White House event. “Happy Thanksgiving, everybody, welcome to the White House,” the alien said, drawing big laughs.

Studio chiefs were gathered at the event as well for a closed-door roundtable with Obama, which was expected to last about 45 minutes and include about a dozen studio and network executives. Among the issues to be discussed, according to a report by Variety, are pending trade agreements as well as the role that the White House can play in bringing Internet firms, studios, record labels and other parties together to come up with a plan to fight piracy.

Obama next gave a speech that, according to a report by Deadline, provided a pro-Hollywood and pro-economy message tailored to an estimated crowd of 1,800-2,000, including DreamWorks employees.

Meanwhile, a group of VFX professionals gathered about a mile away at Griffith Manor Park for a march to DWA to protest lost jobs in the industry. Activists are upset Obama would praise employment at a studio hit by layoffs in the last year in the face of an animation and VFX community that’s struggling to survive — though they say raising the issue, not dinging Obama and Katzenberg, is their focus.  The plan was to have attendees inside the event wear green T-shirts in support of the protest, but only three or four green shirts were reportedly seen as the crowd gathered to hear Obama speak.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.