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It was four times the fun at the at the 42nd annual Humanitas Prize luncheon on Wednesday at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. Guests, such as Nate Parker (whose Birth of a Nation took home the Sundance Feature Film award), watched as two categories tied. The feature film award went to both Hidden Figures and Hacksaw Ridge and the documentary honor was given to 13th and Jim: The James Foley Story. (Full winners list below)
The Humanitas Prize strives to call attention to TV and film writers whose work depicts the dignity of the human person, while inciting compassion for the human family.
“At a time of great cultural and political division in our country and around the world, it’s easy to write off entertainment as a frivolous distraction,” said Humanitas president Ali LeRoi. “But great stories can play an essential role in people’s lives by reminding us of our common humanity and motivating us to be our best selves. Many of the extraordinary works by this year’s finalists touch on issues of inclusion, equality and tolerance, ideas that are of particular importance in today’s conflict-ridden world.”
Added Humanitas executive director Cathleen Young: “Stories that inspire, engage and bring us together are more important than ever in a world fractured along political and cultural fault lines.”
Each winner was given $10,000, and many of them plan to donate the money to nonprofits. Parker plans to donate to Together We Rise, which supports the foster care system, while 13th writer-director Ava DuVernay will contribute her winnings to Array Now, her independent film distribution company dedicated to promoting people of color and women filmmakers.
In addition to the TV and film winners, the organization’s PLAY LA workshop also gave $1,500 to six L.A. playwrights, who will develop a stage production (with access to theater and film/TV professionals) to be presented in April 2018 at the Humanitas PLAY LA Festival of New Works. (Full list below).
“Choosing from among this year’s many extraordinarily gifted entrants was no easy task,” said award-winning playwright and screenwriter Shem Bitterman, who founded PLAY LA in 2015 and serves as its director. “These six writers are representative of the incredible diversity and depth of talent that make Los Angeles the entertainment capital of the world.”
The Humanitas Prize winners:
Feature Film (tie)
Hidden Figures, written by: Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Hacksaw Ridge, written by: Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight
Sundance Feature Film
The Birth of a Nation, written by: Nate Parker
Black-ish (“Hope” episode), written by: Kenya Barris
This Is Us (Pilot), written by: Dan Fogelman
Sofia The First (“Dads and Daughters Day” episode), written by: Laurie Israel & Rachel Ruderman
Children’s Live Action?
An American Girl Story (“Melody 1963: Love Has to Win” episode), written by: Alison McDonald
13th, written by: Ava DuVernay
Jim: The James Foley Story, written by: Chris Chuang with Heather MacDonald and Brian Oakes
The David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship
?Magdalen Silberman, University of Texas at Austin
The Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship?
Munis Rashid, American Film Institute
Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Morenike Balogun, Andrea Wachner, Tyler Greene, Kim Izzo
PLAY LA winners:
Patrick Burleigh is a screenwriter and playwright from Los Angeles. He has written screenplays for Dreamworks, Prana, Lin Pictures, Anonymous Content and Archer Gray, among others. His plays have been seen and heard at Atlantic Theater Company, The Blank Theater, The Echo, New York Stage & Film, Naked Angels, Edinburgh Fringe and Dublin Fringe. He was educated at Dartmouth and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Sigrid Gilmer makes black comedies that are historically bent, totally perverse, joyfully irreverent and are concerned with issues of identity, pop culture and contemporary American society. Her work has been performed at the Skylight Theatre, Pavement Group, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Cornerstone Theater Company and Highways Performance Space. She is a winner of the Map Fund Creative Exploration Grant, the James Irving Foundation Fellowship and is a USA Ford Fellow in Theatre.
Corey Hinkle won the 2015 Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville for his play, “This Quintessence of Dust,”which premiered at the Humana Festival. He is also the recipient of two Jerome fellowships and a McKnight Advancement Grant. In Los Angeles, hehas developed plays with Moving Arts and the Playwrights Union.
Meg Miroshnik’s plays include “The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls” (Yale Rep, Alliance), “The Droll” (Undermain, Pacific Playwrights Festival), “The Tall Girls” (Alliance,O’Neill, La Jolla DNA Festival), and “Lady Tattoo” (Pacific Playwrights Festival). She is a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center and the recipient of a Whiting Award. Upcoming projects include commissions for Steppenwolf and Yale Rep and a Marivaux adaptation for the Olney Theatre Center. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is a founding member of TheKilroys.
Tatiana Suarez-Pico is a playwright and a screenwriter. Residencies and fellowships include: Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program Fellow at The Juilliard School, Dramatists Guild fellow, Royal Court Theatre fellow, Mary Louise Rockwell Scholar at ESPA/ Primary Stages, MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at The Kennedy Center and the Lark’s US/Mexico Exchange. Television credits include Parenthood, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. She earned an MFA at the Actors Studio Drama School/New School University.
Chelsea Sutton is a playwright and fiction writer. Her plays have been developed locally with Rogue Artists Ensemble, Skylight Theatre, The Vagrancy, and Brimmer Street Theatre. She has been a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn Playwrights Conference, Ingram New Works Lab, Stanley Drama Award, Woodward/Newman Drama Award and Reva Shiner Comedy Award. She is a 2016 Emerging Voices Fellow with Pen Center USA.
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