After Barbie, Mattel’s Israeli CEO bags award at Israel film festival in Los Angeles

During his time with the toy giant, 14 live-action motion pictures in active development with major studio partners have been announced.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

The 36th annual Israel Film Festival (IFF), set to take place in Los Angeles, is giving its 2023 Industry Leadership Award to Ynon Kreiz, the Israeli-American chairman and CEO of the toy giant Mattel.

Kreiz will receive the award, which honors individuals with outstanding leadership skills who have achieved notable success while inspiring others, at IFF’s opening night gala at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on November 1.

Kreiz joined Mattel in 2018. During his time with the global toy and entertainment company, Mattel Films has announced 14 live-action motion pictures in active development with major studio partners. Mattel Television has also expanded its content and now reaches audiences in 191 countries in 37 languages.

Mattel’s first major theatrical movie, Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the lead roles, was released last month and broke records for Warner Bros. Pictures and filmmaker Greta Gerwig. Barbie became the highest-grossing female-directed film at the domestic box office in its opening weekend after making a staggering $162,022,044.

The film exceeded the billion-dollar mark globally just 17 days after its release and is currently the highest-grossing movie of the year in Israel. It also recently surpassed the Batman movie The Dark Knight to become the highest-grossing domestic release in Warner Bros. history.

IFF Founder and Executive Director Meir Fenigstein said in a statement that Kreiz’s “visionary leadership and incredible achievements at Mattel” are “exciting beyond imagination,” noting most recently Barbie‘s success at the box office.

“In just over five years, Ynon has transformed Mattel into an IP powerhouse, with its first theatrical release shattering records and becoming a showcase for the expertise of the Mattel Films division he created,” Fenigstein added. “On a personal note, I fondly recall Ynon as a UCLA Anderson MBA student volunteering at the Israel Film Festival. Now, 30 years later, I am proud to be recognizing and honoring him at the festival for his own amazing accomplishments.”

Kreiz praised the IFF in his own statement about the honor.

“I have long admired the work of the [Israel Film] Festival to promote and celebrate Israel’s thriving film and television industry, introducing the nation’s inspiring content, creators, and artists to US audiences,” he said. “I am honored to be receiving this award from an organization whose mission I so strongly support.”

The 36th Israel Film Festival will run in Los Angeles from November 1-15.