‘Rwanda’ scribes take home Humanitas nod

Kang, Santiago-Hudson also feted by org

“Hotel Rwanda” scribes Keir Pearson and Terry George received the Humanitas prize in the feature film category, worth $25,000, at the 30th annual Humanitas Prize luncheon Wednesday at the Universal Hilton.

The Humanitas org bestows monetary prizes on film and TV scribes whose work is “life affirming, provoking and enlightening.”

In writing the “Rwanda” script, Pearson said he relied on the wisdom of his NYU film profs, who urged their students to “write what they care about.”

Michael Kang took home $10,000 in the Sundance feature film category for his pic “The Motel.” Scribe offered his thanks along with a confession: “I really hate writing. It’s really lonely and sad, and it’s just awful.”

In TV writing, Ruben Santiago-Hudson won $25,000 in the 90-minute category for his feature “Lackawanna Blues,” adapted from his Off Broadway autobiographical one-man show.Nominees in the children’s TV categories were pleasantly surprised to find their award upgraded from $10,000 to $25,000.

In collecting kudos for the children’s animation category, “Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks” scribe Cliff MacGillivray proclaimed himself “much happier than everyone else. (Co-scribe) Kelly Ward told me the prize was $10, not $10,000. When it went to $25,000, I was really happy.”

Scribes Karen Leigh Hopkins and Alan Marc Levy also benefited from this prize increase in the children’s live-action category for their script “Searching for David’s Heart.”

John Wells received $15,000 in the 60-minute category for his work on NBC’s “The West Wing.” Carol Flynt, accepting on his behalf, reminded the aud of the “importance of diplomacy,” warning that “we’ve done damage to our reputation abroad” but also noting “it’s not irreparable.”

Fay Kanin, winner of the 2003 Kieser Award, presented Frank Pierson with this year’s Kieser accolade, named in honor of Humanitas founder, Father Ellwood “Bud” Kieser. Kanin praised Pierson for his creativity and drive as a writer, director, producer, teacher and leader.

Erica Kennair received the David and Lynn Angell comedy fellowship, including $10,000 and an internship in the entertainment industry, for her spec script of “Bernie Mac.”

Comedy writing prizes were skipped in this year’s competish. According to Humanitas Prize prexy Father Frank Desiderio, “comedy is suffering … it is better to not give awards than to lower the standards.”

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