Thursday, June 29, 2006

Quinceanera, Crash win Humanitas Prizes


Los Angeles, CA – June 28, 2006. Eleven writers took home a share of $145,000 in prize money for films and television shows that “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” Over 350 writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives gathered today at the Hilton Universal Hotel to celebrate great writing at the 32nd HUMANITAS Prize.

Frank Desiderio, President of the HUMANITAS Prize, began the luncheon by reminding theaudience of the significant role that film and television can have in motivating behavior.

Desiderio stated, “the scripts that we honor today deal with some of the most critical issuesfacing society: medical ethics, racism, global warming and third world debt. We want to move people from their comfort zone and foster dialogue.”

HBO FILMS President, Colin Callender, received the “Kieser Award” for his vision as an executive, his leadership in the industry and for his ability to create an environment where filmmakers can succeed. The “Kieser Award” is named after producer and priest

Fr. Ellwood “Bud” Kieser, the founder of the HUMANITAS Prize.

For the first time in over ten years a Special Award was given to a documentary film. “An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, chronicles former vice president Al Gore’s decades long commitment to the issue of global warming. The film weaves scientific data and personal anecdotes into a cohesive narrative that challenges viewers.

“Although the film is alarming, it doesn’t call us to despair, but rather to get involved,” added Chris Donahue, Executive Director of the HUMANITAS Prize.

The 32nd HUMANITAS Prize winners are:

Feature Film Category ($25,000)

CRASH Written by: Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco (Lions Gate Films)

A 36-hour period in the diverse metropolis of post-Sept. 11 Los Angeles is the theme of this unflinching drama that challenges audiences to confront their prejudices. Cited “for its call to reach out with respect and compassion to all of our brothers and sisters.”

90 Minute Category ($25,000)

THE GIRL IN THE CAFÉ Written by: Richard Curtis (HBO)

The story of a hard-working, shy civil servant Lawrence, and his life-changing relationship with the mysterious girl he meets in a café opposite Downing Street. Cited “for the clarion call to universal concern.”

Sundance Feature Film Category ($10,000)

QUINCEANERA Written by: Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (Sony Classics) As Magdelena’s fifteenth birthday approaches, her life is consumed by thoughts of her boyfriend, her Quinceañera dress, and the Hummer limo she hopes will show up on her special day. Life seems so simple in her Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, until fate delivers an unwelcome surprise. Cited “for its enlightened view of living in a multi-cultural world."

60 Minute Category ($15,000)

HOUSE: Three Stories Written by: David Shore (FOX)

Dr. House gives the med students a class they’ll never forget as he weaves the stories of three patients who all present similar symptoms. Cited “for its poignant probe into the pain and confusion that comes when someone we love disappoints us.”

30 Minute Category ($10,000)

MY NAME IS EARL: Pilot Episode Written by: Greg Garcia (NBC)

Charismatic smalltime crook Earl J. Hickey wins $100,000 in the lottery and then is immediately hit by a car. Cited “for its light hearted portrayal of how we can right our wrongs.”

Children's Animation Category ($25,000)

MISS SPIDER’S SUNNY PATCH FRIENDS: A Froggy Day in Sunny Patch (Nick, Jr.)

Written by: Alice Prodanou, Michael Stokes, Steven Sullivan

The Spider kids befriend a loveable, non-conformist frog named Felix, but keep their friendship under the radar, to protect Felix from Spiderus and his corps of bumbling anti-frog vigilantes. Cited “for its whimsical portrayal of the importance of friendships.”

Children's Live Action Category ($25,000)

EDGE OF AMERICA Written by: Willy Holtzman (Showtime)

Inspired by true events – the story of Kenny Williams, an African-American from Texas, who comes to teach at the Three Nations Reservation High School in Utah. Cited “for showing that caring and compassionate adults can make a difference.”

Colin Marshall, a graduate student at Columbia University, was named the recipient of the “2006 David and Lynn Angell HUMANITAS Comedy Fellowship.” Marshall received a $10,000 stipend at the luncheon. His winning comedy spec script was an episode of “My Name is Earl.”

Since its inception in 1974, the HUMANITAS Prize has presented over 240 prizes and

dispersed over 2.5 million dollars in prize money to television and motion picture writers, whose work honestly explores the complexities of the human experience and sheds light on the positive values of life. Each year, the HUMANITAS Prize holds Master Writers Workshops presented by today's leading writers. Winners of the HUMANITAS Prize have included: Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues); Alan Alda (M*A*S*H); David E. Kelley (The Practice); Horton Foote (William Faulkner's OLD MAN); Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List); Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking); Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting); Aaron Sorkin ( Sports Night, The West Wing) and Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me).

For more information, please visit the website at


(From the press release)


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