It is the first time in Writers Guild Awards history that a documentary has received the Selvin Award. The honor will be presented on Feb. 1 at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles.
The award is named after the late WGA counsel and given to a WGA member whose script best embodies the spirit of constitutional and civil rights and liberties.
“Alex Gibney is one of the foremost documentary filmmakers of this generation,” said WGA West president Christopher Keyser. “His work has been a filmic conscience for our times. In ‘We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,’ Mr. Gibney tackles issues arising out of us living, increasingly, in a surveillance state – from the public’s right to know and the press’ right to publish, to the treatment of whistleblowers. The work raises questions that are fundamental to the preservation of our constitutional and civil rights and liberties.”
“In honoring a documentary film with the Paul Selvin Award for the first time, the WGA acknowledges Mr. Gibney’s singular contribution to the ongoing conversation about the meaning of freedom – a conversation that writers must never allow to go silent,” Keyser added.
Gibney also received both an Oscar and a WGA award for 2008 film “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.” In 2013, Gibney and his company Jigsaw Productions won three Emmy Awards for “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” a story of sex abuse in the Catholic church, and an Emmy for Showtime’s “The History of The Eagles.”
His documentary about Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, “The Armstrong Lie,” premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival and has been nominated for the 2014 BAFTA Award, along with “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” which also recently received a 2014 WGA nomination for Documentary Screenplay.
Gibney is producing a four-hour documentary on singer Frank Sinatra for HBO. Jigsaw also recently began expanding into the unscripted documentary TV series arena with the program “Death Row Stories” in collaboration with Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions for CNN.
Earlier in this career, Gibney earned a 1990 Writers Guild Award for his Frontline episode, “The Battle for Eastern Airlines” in the TV documentary – current events category. He has been a WGA member since 1989.
Previous recipients of the Paul Selvin Award include Eric Roth, Michael Mann, Larry Karaszewski & Scott Alexander, Jason Horwitch, Don Payne, Robert Eisele & Jeffrey Porro, Dustin Lance Black, Anthony Peckham, Tate Taylor, and Tony Kushner.