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Obama pays tribute to Hollywood on studio visit

28 November 2013, 08:31

Glendale - President Barack Obama praised the American movie industry on Tuesday, saying Hollywood was not only a key export industry but also an important cultural and diplomatic tool.

Speaking after a visit to the DreamWorks Animation studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, Obama said Hollywood was one of the engines of the American economy.

"I've come here today, because this is one of America's economic engines, not just DreamWorks, but this whole cluster of companies that generations have grown up knowing, Disney and Warner and Universal and others," Obama said after a guided tour of the studios responsible for successful franchises such as Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.

Hollywood a 'diplomatic tool'

The entertainment industry had also served as an important diplomatic tool, Obama said.

"It's part of what makes us exceptional, part of what makes us such a world power," he said.

"You can go anywhere on the planet and you'll see a kid wearing a Madagascar T-shirt," he said.

"You can say, May the Force be with you, they know what you're talking about," he added, referring to the iconic line from Star Wars.

"Hundreds of millions of people may never set foot in the United States, but thanks to you, they've experienced a small part of what makes our country special," he told DreamWorks employees.

Obama ears as 'inspiration' for Shrek

Obama, meanwhile, peppered his address with cinematic references, joking that his ears had provided the inspiration for DreamWorks' lovable green ogre Shrek.

He also paraphrased from the mafia classic The Godfather in a pointed barb directed at his political enemies in Congress.

"When it comes to Congress, there's no such thing as an offer they can't refuse," he said.

Fundraising from celebs

Obama in on the West Coast in a fundraising push. Before his speech at DreamWorks, he attended an event at the home of Marta Kauffman, the creator of the 1990s television hit, Friends.

On Monday, he attended two fundraising events at the Beverly Hills homes of former basketball star Magic Johnson and television producer Haim Saban.

The head of DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is one of the most loyal and consistent amongst Obama's entertainment industry backers.

He is believed to have convinced several Hollywood figures to contribute around $15 million to Obama's 2012 election campaign.



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