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Andra Day, Lee Daniels to Receive Stand Up To Cancer’s Inaugural Laura Ziskin Visionary Award (EXCLUSIVE)

The United States Vs Billy Holiday
Takashi Seida/Paramount Pictures

The Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) have announced the launch of their inaugural Laura Ziskin Visionary Award.

Named after the late film producer, the award will recognize leaders in the film industry whose work exemplifies groundbreaking collaboration. This year’s recipients will be Andra Day and director Lee Daniels for their collaboration on “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” The award will be presented on March 31 by Katie Couric, co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer, and will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Day and Daniels.

Established in 2008, Stand Up To Cancer raises funds to accelerate the pace of research and get new therapies to patients to save lives. As of January, more than 1,950 scientists representing more than 210 institutions are involved in SU2C-funded research projects. Ziskin, who co-founded SU2C, passed away from breast cancer in June 2011 after living with the disease for seven years. She worked on various projects such as “What About Bob?” “The Doctor” and Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy.

Ali Stroker and Michelle Buteau to Present at Easterseals Disability Film Challenge

Ali Stroker

Ali Stroker, Michelle Buteau, Matthew Jeffers and Paul Raci will serve as presenters during the 2021 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge: Home Edition 2.0.

The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge will present five awards: best film (presented by WarnerMedia), best director (presented by WarnerMedia), best editor (presented by Adobe), best actor (presented by IMDbPro) and the awareness campaign award (presented by ViacomCBS). The virtual awards ceremony will take place on May 6.

The film challenge will be judged by Jim LeBrecht, Lawrence Carter-Long, Nicole Castro, Kat Coiro, Jenni Gold, Brett Greenstein, Sheri Linden, Variety‘s senior culture and events editor Marc Malkin, Jillian Mercado, Col Needham, Mark Povaneli, Richard Propes, Gil Robertson, Lolo Spencer, Stephanie Thomas, Mara Webster, Jennifer Wilson, Stacey Wilson Hunt and Danny Woodburn.

Launched in 2014 by Nic Novicki, the challenge invites aspiring storytellers to write and produce short films that showcase disabilities in their many forms. Winners will receive prizes such as mentorship meetings with entertainment professionals, $1,500 grants provided by NBCUniversal, being highlighted in a video playlist on the homepage of IMDb and other gifts to help them achieve their career goals.

Hillary Clinton to Appear at York Theatre Company Benefit

Hillary Clinton will deliver the closing remarks at an all-star-cast fundraiser to help rebuild New York City’s York Theatre Company after it was damaged due to a devastating water main break in January. The benefit will feature a virtual production of the off-Broadway hit “The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)” with performances by Lewis Black, Debra Messing, Betty Buckley, Colleen Ballinger, Matthew Broderick, André De Shields, Giancarlo Esposito, Richard Kind, Jane Krakowski, Patti LuPone, Telly Leung, Andrea McArdle, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Isaac Mizrahi, Mandy Patinkin, Martha Plimpton, Randy Rainbow, Chita Rivera, Mercedes Ruehl, and Lillias White. The event premieres on yorktheatre.org on April. 18.

For more upcoming events, check out Variety‘s weekly Must Attend calendar listings.