You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Visionary Award: Jeff Skoll

PGA honors exec producer of 'The Soloist'

When he was a teenager, his family summered in the Adirondacks where he spent endless hours watching films and reading. That’s when Jeff Skoll first fell in love with storytelling.

Inspired by such films as “Gandhi,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Erin Brockovich,” Skoll founded Participant Media in 2004. The company’s mantra: to create entertainment that benefits society. “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “North Country,” “Syriana,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “The Kite Runner” and “Charlie Wilson’s War” are all testaments to Skoll and his belief that film can deliver social change.

So inspired was he by “Gandhi” that Skoll, in 2005, along with Ben Kingsley, launched the Gandhi Project. The remit: to create an Arabic version of the film for the Palestinian people to promote Gandhi’s philosophy of peaceful resistance.

Not only does Skoll the philanthropist raise awareness through film and the Gandhi Project but also through the Skoll Foundation, an organization that provides financing to social entrepreneurs. The initative, he believes, will shift the balance between the haves and the have-nots.

“There are many unsung social entrepreneurs who are my heroes,” Skoll says: “Ann Cotton, who is educating hundreds of thousands of girls in Africa; Bill Strickland, who is building inner-city schools in the U.S.; Daniel Lubetsky, who is building a peace movement in Israel and Palestine; and Sakena Yacoobi, who is working to restore health and education services in Afghanistan.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Watchmen

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks 'Watchmen,' 'Matrix 4': 'I’m Not Nervous At All'

    Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans.  “I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in [...]

  • David Lindelof Watchmen Premiere

    'Watchmen' Creator Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Martin Scorsese's Marvel Criticisms

    Damon Lindelof disagrees with Martin Scorsese about his recent claims that Marvel movies don’t qualify as cinema. The director’s proclamation, along with the polarized critical reception of “Joker,” are the latest salvos in a long history of questioning comic book movies’ place in cinematic history. The lingering question: Can superhero fare be considered “high art?” [...]

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Charlize Theron speaks at the GEANCO

    Charlize Theron Talks 'White Privilege,' Growing Up During Apartheid in South Africa

    Charlize Theron, during an onstage discussion with her “Gringo” costar David Oyelowo about philanthropy at Thursday’s annual fundraiser for Nigerian children’s educational and health program GEANCO, said she was a beneficiary of “white privilege” while growing up in Apartheid-torn South Africa. “I obviously am a white person who benefited from my white privilege,” Theron said [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content