On Sunday, the Caucus for Producers, Writers, & Directors held its 35th annual awards dinner to both honor some of the men and women in the entertainment industry who work behind the scenes and to recognize some of the up-and-coming talent that received grants from the caucus.
“We have for years honored people behind the scenes. Everybody thinks about celebrities, but behind the celebrities are all the people that make this industry work; that’s all of us,” said Tanya Hart, co-chair of the caucus. Hart emphasized the importance of recognizing new talent in the entertainment industry and maintaining a diverse population of honorees because those filmmakers would one day be in a position to effect change in the industry.
The evening’s hosts, “Grey’s Anatomy” star James Pickens, Jr. and “Dexter” star Aimee Garcia, began the night’s events by honoring the six filmmakers selected by the caucus to receive grants. Among the night’s other honorees were Alfonso Ribeiro, who received the entertainer of the year award, and Michele Nasraway, who received the distinguished service award.
“This is one of the awards that I’ll look back on and truly love. That producers, directors, and writers are giving me an award is special, and what the caucus does by giving back and taking care of aspiring young filmmakers is very special,” Ribeiro said.
Ribeiro also commented on the future of diversity in Hollywood, saying that change is happening, but at a slow pace. “As the producers change from men to women and people of color, they will hire people that represent them. Stories in Hollywood are told from a first-person perspective and when the writers are writing from their perspectives and the projects are being produced, that’s when you’re going to have real change in the business.”
Here’s the complete list of winners:
2017 Caucus Honors Award Winners
Director: Chris Long, “The Americans”
Producer: Kenya Barris, “Girls Trip”
Writers: Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, “American Crime Story”
2017 Caucus Awards Recipients
Executive of The Year
Dan Cohen, president, Worldwide Television Licensing, Paramount Pictures Corporation
Caucus Lifetime Achievement
James G. Hirsch, writer/producer, Papazian/Hirsch Entertainment
Stephanie Austin, producer, Beachwood Productions
Caucus Distinguished Service Award
Michele Nasraway, executive producer, Vin Di Bona Productions
Entertainer of the Year Award
Alfonso Ribeiro, actor, TV director, host, “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
2017 Caucus Gold Circle Awards
First Place Winner: Panavision Camera Package — Emilie Silvestri for “April in Winter” (NYU Tisch of Asia)
Second Place Winner: Illuminate Studios Post Production Package — Amanda Renee Knox for “Night Call” (Chapman University)
Television/New Media Award
Chapman University for “Veil”