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Carolines on Broadway owner and NY Comedy Festival founder Caroline Hirsch will receive the second of 2019’s Made in New York awards at the NY Women in Film and Television Muse Awards.
Hirsch joins Emmy-winning filmmaker Jason DaSilva, who received his honor Monday night at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, as this year’s recipients of the annual plaudits celebrating excellence in the city’s creative community.
“A visionary producer with moxie, Caroline Hirsch is a ‘Made in NY’ original who set the stage for some of the most notable comedians in film and television today. Caroline has made New York City — and by extension the world — a much funnier place. In the process, she blazed a trail in the industry by supporting other women in the business and by setting a powerful example through her own stellar career,” New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment commissioner Anne del Castillo said. “Filmmaker Jason DaSilva embodies the true spirit of Made in NY independent media production. He built his documentary career here in NYC telling stories about underrepresented communities from around the world. In the aftermath of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he has turned an extremely difficult challenge into an opportunity to use his work in media to advocate for people with disabilities.”
Hirsch said, “I am honored and humbled to receive the ‘Made in NY’ Award from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. I’ve been doing business in this great city for more than 35 years — from running my comedy club and producing the comedy festival to launching a production company to produce film and television projects — and to be recognized by the Mayor’s Office for my contributions to the arts and culture in New York City is a tremendous privilege and something I will always treasure.”
In addition to her work with New York’s stand-up community, Hirsch’s production company Carolines Entertainment is behind the 2019 film Ask for Jane, based on the true story of the late ’60s, early ’70s underground abortion network The Jane Collective; PBS doc series The History of Anti-Semitism; and Comedy Central doc What a Mother about how comedians have been influenced by their mothers.
DaSilva’s feature-length doc When I Walk, chronicling his struggle with multiple sclerosis to raise awareness about the progression and challenges of the disease, won an Emmy for outstanding informational programming. He also directed the feature doc Lest We Forget and shorts Olivia’s Puzzle, A Song for Daniel, Twins of Mankala and First Steps. He is currently working on a new feature-length doc, When They Walk, as well as on AXS Map, a website and accessibility database for disability friendly places.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at Monday night’s Gotham Awards, DaSilva said, “New York City is the place where something like this could actually happen. That someone with a severe disability can get such a massive, massive honor. I’m hoping that by me getting this award, it helps other people get inspired to tell their own stories, to get other people with disabilities out there in the media.”
He later added in a statement, “Thank you Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and Commissioner del Castillo for this great honor. Receiving a ‘Made in NY’ award confirms that I am headed in the right direction and I am grateful to be supported by the industry and New York City, the only place where I can get the 24/7 care I need while pursuing my filmmaking career.”
Past recipients of the Made in NY award, established in 2006 to recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the city’s entertainment and digital media industries over the course of their careers, include Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, Rachael Ray, Tina Fey, Spike Lee, John Leguizamo, Alysia Reiner, Michael K. Williams, Judith Light, Sandra Lee and Terry Lawler.
The Muse Awards will also honor Gloria Estefan, Harriet director Kasi Lemmons, Emmy-winning Handmaid’s Tale actress Ann Dowd, writer-creator Shoshannah Stern, Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud and Tribeca Enterprises CEO and co-founder Jane Rosenthal at this year’s event.
The Muse Awards celebrate women of outstanding vision and achievement in front of and behind the camera in film, TV, music and digital media.
The 40th annual Muse Awards will take place Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel. CBS Sunday Morning contributor Nancy Giles will host the show, with highlights set to be broadcast on CUNY TV.
Dec. 4, 9:24 a.m. This story has been updated with Jason DaSilva’s statement.