34th HUMANITAS Prize Announces Winners
Incoming Humanitas Prize President John Wells Defines New Vision
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17 -- New HUMANITAS Prize President and
multiple Emmy winner, John Wells, today announced this year's winners of
the HUMANITAS prize at the annual luncheon in the Crystal Ballroom at The
Beverly Hills Hotel. Writers in ten categories shared $95,000 in prize
money, with the feature film award ending in a surprise tie. Since 1974,
HUMANITAS has honored feature film and television writing that explores the
human condition, affirms our individual and collective dignity, and reveals
our common humanity.
At the luncheon, HUMANITAS Executive Director Cathleen Young introduced
new HUMANITAS Prize President John Wells (HUMANITAS Prize winner for The
West Wing). He is taking over for Frank Desiderio, C.S.P., who has been
president of the HUMANITAS Prize since 2000. Desiderio will become chairman
of the board, but he will continue in many of his current duties. In
addition to his work for HUMANITAS, Desiderio has served as executive
producer for both made for television movies and documentary projects.
Wells outlined a new vision for the future for HUMANITAS and spoke of
the HUMANITAS Script Development Fund, the "HUMANITAS Presents" franchise
and the new partnership with 826 National. 826 National, designed to
nurture the next generation of talent, was co-founded by Dave Eggers (A
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and teacher, Ninive Calegari.
Also announced was The Hollywood Reporter's commitment to funding a new
HUMANITAS documentary award ($5,000 prize). The Documentary Award's first
HUMANITAS Prize winner is Young@Heart. John Wells introduced Hollywood
Reporter Publisher Eric Mika, who presented the award along with Davis
Guggenheim (HUMANITAS Prize Winner - An Inconvenient Truth) to Fox
Searchlight's Tony Stafford.
The 2008 HUMANITAS Prize winners are:
Feature Film Category ($10,000) -- TIE
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY Written by: Ronald Harwood --
For its deeply powerful depiction of a man struggling to overcome a
devastating illness and its subtle exploration of the power of imagination
and the strength of the human will.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL Written by: Nancy Oliver -- ($5,000)
For its sensitive, nuanced and comedic portrayal of a shy young man
struggling to connect with his fellow human beings by purchasing a sex doll
over the Internet.
90 Minute Category ($10,000)
BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE Written by: Daniel Giat
For its intricately woven tale of a doctor, a Lakota chief and a U.S.
Senator in the midst of the bloody Sioux victory over General Custer at
Little Big Horn.
60 Minute Category ($10,000)
JOHN ADAMS: "Part 1" Written by: Kirk Ellis
For the unique American love story of a man and his wife during the
birth of the American Republic and its first 50 years.
30 Minute Category ($10,000)
SCRUBS: "My Long Goodbye" Written by: Dave Tennant
For its comedic, but deeply moving depiction of the end of a life and
the process of grieving that follows a loss.
Children's Animation Category ($10,000)
MY FRIENDS TIGGER & POOH: "Eeyore's Sad Day" Written by: Brian Hohlfeld
For building on a beloved and classic tale of overcoming sadness in the
face of life's adversities.
Children's Live Action Category ($10,000)
JOHNNY KAPAHALA: "Back On Board" Written by: Ann Austen, Douglas Sloan,
Max Enscoe & Annie DeYoung (teleplay); Ann Austen & Douglas Sloan (story)
For its portrayal of a family reunion set against the waves of Hawaii
and the struggles of teens to find their way.
Sundance Feature Film Category ($10,000)
A RAISIN IN THE SUN Written by: Paris Qualles
For its passionate and deeply moving depiction of a family struggling
with poverty, racism and the scars of having one's hopes and dreams
The Documentary Award ($5,000)
YOUNG@HEART Stephen Walker
For its rousing, musical and irreverent production of a traveling
chorus made up of octogenarians and its belief that we are never too old to
learn and rediscover joy.
The David & Lynn Angell Fellowship in Comedy Writing ($10,000)
MCKELLAR HALL: Written by: Nik Blahunka & Marcy Holland
The HUMANITAS Student Drama Fellowship ($10,000)
HOUSE: "Witch Is It" Written by: Katherine F. Lovejoy