Humanitas prizes a production arm

Clemmer to run newly-created unit

The Humanitas Prize is looking to raise its profile by expanding into original production.

The org has tapped film and TV vet Ronnie Clemmer to run the newly created Humanitas Prods. wing. The plan is for a panel of Humanitas Prize trustees — including John Wells, Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick, Steve Zaillian and John Sacret Young — to work with Clemmer and Humanitas Prize exec director Cathleen Young to select projects to develop and shop to network and studio partners.

Humanitas kudos have been handed out since 1974, recognizing movie and TV scribes whose work examines aspects of the human condition and the nature of love and relationships.

The bid to put the Humanitas stamp on pics and TV programs marks the org’s most ambitious venture since the kudos were launched by Father Ellwood Kieser, who was known in showbiz circles as the producer of pics and the public TV dramatic anthology series “Insight.”

“We want to work with writers, directors and producers to create movies that excite audiences and sponsors, stories with heart and edge and complexity,” Clemmer said.

Clemmer was formerly a principal at All In Entertainment and Longbow Prods. His pic credits include 1992’s “A League of Their Own,” HBO’s “A Private Matter” and Hallmark Hall of Fame telepic “The Summer of Ben Tyler.”

Separately, Humanitas Prize chairman Father Frank Desiderio is stepping down from his post as head of Paulist Prods., the Pacific Palisades-based production company founded by Kieser in the late 1950s.

Desiderio is exiting to focus on the development of a national series of retreats and seminars based on the theme of forgiveness, as Paulist Prods. explored in its most recent docu, “The Big Question: A Film About Forgiveness.” He will remain at the helm of Humanitas Prize.

Taking the reins at Paulist is Father Eric Andrews, who worked as a producer for the Jim Henson Co. before joining the Paulist Fathers ministry in 1989.

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