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LAES: For a Good Cause

23 Jul, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

Mark Horak

CULVER CITY, Calif. — More than 1,000 industry leaders participated in this year’s LAES, taking part in business meetings, a comprehensive technology showcase, panels, a cocktail party, a golf tournament and the increasingly popular “casino night,” this time held on the Sony Pictures lot (with Warner and Fox hosting the first two events in previous years).

But behind LAES is a whole lot more than networking: The event serves as a fundraising campaign for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It’s a cause of extreme importance to Mark Horak (the architect of LAES), current president of Redbox and former president of the Americas at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Two of his three daughters have cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract and other parts of the body.

The first two LAES events raised approximately $1 million for the foundation, and while the tally isn’t in yet for the 2014 event, all indications point to between $400,000-$500,000 being raised by the entertainment industry for the cause.

“It was another great year: great business, great networking, and a lot of fun too,” said Mark Fisher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association, which organized LAES. “It’s great to have this community of studios, video game publishers, distributors and retailers come together for three wonderful days of camaraderie, and be able to contribute to such a worthwhile cause.”

Jack Talley, EVP of North American sales for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, added: “What’s great about this event is, we sit down and ingest everything we’ve already learned [as an industry],” he said. “And what LAES has prepared outside of the meetings has been extremely important. It gives us the opportunity to learn and share.”

Warner, Fox and Sony have been the first three studios to host the all-important LAES casino night fundraiser, and for the fourth iteration in 2015 it’ll be Universal Studios stepping up, hosting the event next July 7.

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