Robert Katz received an Alumnus of the Year Award from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 2007 and is equally deserving of a Golden Anniversary Alumni Award in 2009. He is both an advocate and a friend of NIU and a Hollywood producer of considerable acclaim.
A frequent visitor at Northern over the years, Katz has given inspirational talks to film and television production classes in the Department of Communication and has served as a judge for the Reality Bytes student documentary festival. He helped put NIU’s media production program on the national stage in 2006 when he made it possible for six NIU students to spend six weeks on a film project written and directed by Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins called Slipstream. The students were given an amazing educational and professional experience, and Katz subsidized many of the students’ expenses during the project.
Katz’s professional career hit a high note when Crash was the Academy Award winner for best film in 2006. He was the executive-in-charge of production of the film, which starred Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, and Don Cheadle. Other high-profile Hollywood films to his credit include: the multiple Academy Award nominated film, Seabiscuit, One Hour Photo with Robin Williams, The Illusionist with Edward Norton, Meryl Streep’s Prime, The Painted Veil with Naomi Watts, and the indie hit The Matador.
Katz currently serves as President of Production for The Film Department and has recently produced the romantic comedy, The Rebound with Catherine Zeta-Jones and the psychological thriller, Law Abiding Citizen with Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, both set to be released worldwide. Next up, Katz will produce Earthbound starring Kate Hudson this fall.