PGA to fete 8 on diversity

'Six Feet Under' creators awarded

The Producers Guild of America has tapped Moctezuma Esparza, Danny Glover, Ang Lee and Marian Rees for honors at its inaugural Celebration of Diversity on Oct. 28 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.

Org also selected “Six Feet Under” exec producers Alan Ball, Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari and Alan Poul to be feted.

“The PGA has long been committed to fostering diversity and felt that it was time to declare this issue as a major priority, both for the guild and the industry,” said PGA prexy Kathleen Kennedy. “Our industry is the most sophisticated and effective storytelling medium ever created, which is why it’s so troubling when the kinds of stories that we tell don’t reflect who we are as a people.”

Event, co-sponsored by Daily Variety, will salute contributions and triumphs of African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, gays/lesbians and women.

“In celebrating diversity, we illuminate our culture’s common richness and strength and send a message that we hope will motivate others in our industry to tell stories and create employment opportunities that are representative of that diversity,” Kennedy added.

The enemy: intolerance

PGA exec director Vance Van Petten said the honorees were selected to highlight the dignified attention to cultural difference and the common humanity that underlies those differences.  “Intolerance is the great enemy of a just society, and the stories our honorees have told — stories in which we can see ourselves through the eyes of others — are the best weapons our industry offers against intolerance,” he added.

Van Petten said the event’s genesis dates back to its Oscar Micheaux Awards, previously held in 1999 and organized by producer Charles Floyd Johnson to honor African-American filmmakers. He noted the PGA’s goals have been to expand the event, make it more inclusive and create more of a party rather than a traditional award show.

Future of event unclear

Van Petten also said no decision has been made yet on whether to hold the Celebration of Diversity on an annual basis.

The event will be produced by George Sunga, with Charles M. Bond associate producing and Jade C. Mills serving as production manager. Dinner chairs are Joanne Curley-Kerner, Tracey Edmonds and Bruce Kerner.

Current PGA membership is about 1,750, or about quadruple the number of three years ago.

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