PGA Awards: New Honor Created to Celebrate Emerging Media

Ava DuVernay at PGA Awards - H 2018 Getty
Frazer Harrison/gettyimages

VR, AR, experiential and other emerging media — interactive programming along the lines of Alejandro G. Inarritu's recent Carne y Arena and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch — will now have a shot at recognition from the Producers Guild of America, the organization announced Wednesday,

The PGA Innovation Award has been created to "honor exceptional distinctiveness, inventiveness and impact of the submitted work in expanding the conventions of program format, content, audience interaction, production technique and delivery. Such work may reflect a reimagining or reworking of existing concepts and approaches in a new way, or may be an entirely novel type of experience."

The statement notes that the award "will be bestowed upon the production of a noteworthy, impactful new media program that significantly elevates the audience’s viewing experience. The winning submission will challenge the limits of standard formats and drive forward the industry’s perception and application of new media in an entertainment context."

The Innovation Award, along with other key honors, will be presented at a nominee celebration on a date to be determined prior to the actual PGA Awards show, which is set to take place Jan. 18, 2020.

To be considered for this award, candidates must complete and turn in an application between now and Nov. 15. Winners will be chosen by a blue-ribbon jury of experts in the field of new media. The inaugural jury is expected to include:
– Kim Adams (co-founder, Adventure Lab)
– Nancy Bennett (chief creative officer and founding member, Two Bit Circus)
– Thomas Geraghty (director, technology & innovation, Universal Parks)
– Doug Herzog (consultant, Quibi)
– Lisa Hsia (executive vp, Bravo, Oxygen, Universal Kids Digital Media)
– Lori McCreary (CEO, Clickstar, Inc.; founder and CEO, Revelations Entertainment)
– Dr. Jacquelyn Ford Morie (founder and chief scientist, All These Worlds LLC.)
– Joanna Popper (global head of VR for location-based experience, Hewlett Packard)
– Yelena Rachitsky (executive producer of experiences at Oculus)
– Albert “Skip” Rizzo (director for medial virtual reality, USC Institute for Creative Technologies)
– Ira Rubenstein (chief digital & marketing officer, Public Broadcasting Service)
– Sam Russo (vp attraction development, Herschend Family Entertainment)
– Ted Schilowitz (futurist in residence, Paramount Pictures & 20th Century Fox)
– Christina Lee Storm (vp business operations, strategy and emerging technology, DreamWorks Animation)
– Shelby Jiggets-Tivony (vp creative & advanced development, Disney Parks Live Entertainment – Walt Disney Imagineering)

PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher said in the statement: "As producers and storytellers, we recognize that it is important to embrace change in a time of expansion and exploration of new ideas in entertainment. This new award will allow our members to celebrate the innovations we are making as producers to further the advancement of content through new technology and platforms."