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Humanitas honors ‘Basketball’

Prince-Bythewood receives award

Celebrating its 26th anni, the Humanitas prize — which honors humanizing achievement in film and TV writing each year — recognized “Love and Basketball” writer/director Gina Prince-Bythwood Wednesday as it added the Sundance Feature Film Category to its yearly lineup of awards and cash prizes.

“It’s really cool because it is just more about not trying to be so commercial all the time but trying to say something to an audience, or move an audience,” said Prince-Bythewood, who was awarded $10,000.

Founded 26 years ago by Father Ellwood Kieser, this year’s Humanitas prize was given in eight categories ranging from feature-length film to 30-minute TV show with cash awards ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. The three finalists in each category were selected from 439 scripts submitted for consideration.

“I think Humanitas really wants to reward something that isn’t just for popularity. It’s something that isn’t necessarily always commercial and I think that they really need to be applauded for that,” said Tom Rickman, who won $25,000 for writing ABC’s “Tuesdays With Morrie” for TV.

“The Humanitas award is the only one that hands out cash, so, to me, that makes it a very special and coveted award,” joked Jay Kogen, who took home $10,000 for an episode of NBC’s “Frasier.”

Other winners included: Paris Qualles for Disney’s “The Color of Friendship”; Harvey Fierstein for an episode of HBO’s “Happily Ever After”; Aaron Sorkin, Lawrence O’Donnell Jr. and Paul Redford for an episode of NBC’s “The West Wing”; Ann Peacock for HBO’s “A Lesson Before Dying”; and Eric Roth and Michael Mann for “The Insider.”

The luncheon was held at the Hilton Universal City and Towers.

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