Three up-and-coming individual writers and two writing teams have been selected as winners of the 2013 Humanitas’ New Voices program. Each of the five will receive a $25,000 grant and write a television pilot under the supervision of veteran series showrunners Jason Katims, David Shore, Jay Kogen, David Zuckerman and Alan Ball. Humanitas also announced a major expansion of its student award program. Through a partnership with 20th Century Fox Television, the winner of the Humanitas Student Drama Fellowship will receive a freelance script assignment for a Fox TV show, in addition to the existing $10,000 cash prize. Also the prize for the Angell Comedy Fellowship will increase to $20,000 (from $10,000), courtesy of The Angell Foundation. Here’s the full list of New Voices winners, their mentors and studios.
Nostalgia for the Light from Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman was named best feature Friday night at The International Documentary Association’s 2011 Awards at the DGA Theatre in West Hollywood. Event was hosted by avant-garde impresario Josh Fox, Sundance veteran/Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain and IDA Board President Eddie Schmidt. Documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker lent her DJ skills spinning live during the show. Les Blank was recognized for Career Achievement for a body of work encompassing the lives and music of people at the periphery of American society. Iraq and Afghanistan war photographer/correspondent Danfung Dennis received the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.
Tom Fontana, who won a Humanitas Prize for his work on St. Elsewhere during that show’s run, has been elected president of Humanitas, the nonprofit that supports and rewards TV and film writers whose works “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” The longtime TV and film producer succeeds John Wells, who steps down Friday, the day the organization holds its annual awards ceremony at the Montage Beverly Hills (see those nominees here). “Tom Fontana is a writer and producer who has not only had tremendous commercial and critical success, but whose work exemplifies the ideals of Humanitas,” said executive director Cathleen Young. “We are thrilled to see him step into the presidency and eagerly anticipate supporting him in his new role.” Meanwhile, previous Humanitas trustees Hart Hanson (Bones), Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris) and David Shore (House) have been added to the board of directors, joining Wells, John Sacret Young, Neal Baer, Marshall Herskovitz, Carol Mendelsohn and Ed Zwick.
Wells steps aside after serving as president in 2008. He was instrumental in the creation of Humanitas’ New Voices initiative, which pairs emerging writers with trustees to develop original TV pilots, helping to land script agreements with ABC, CBS, NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 21, HBO, Sony and Lionsgate. Five pilots are currently being developed through the program.
EXCLUSIVE: Humanitas’ New Voices initiative, a program designed to help up-and-coming television writers break into the business, has had plenty of success since launching in November 2010, with five projects ordered to script at various studios. Now the organization has hired TV executive and producer Lowell Mate for the newly created role of Consulting Producer to help oversee the program. In addition, he will be executive producer of the New Voices project Why My Wife Thinks I Am an Idiot, based on the best-selling book by Mike Greenberg and recently ordered by ABC Studios. Mate and Humanitas executive director Cathleen Young will guide the program’s participants through critical steps with an eye towards partnering them with successful writers that are either Humanitas trustees or board members. Mate has been in development at Warner Bros and HBO and most recently was exec producer of Second City Entertainment.
Four-and-a-half months after it was announced, Humanitas’ New Voices initiatives for emerging TV writers has received its first four script orders from participating studios/networks. Back in November, 20th Century Fox TV, NBC Universal, CBS, ABC Studios, Lionsgate and HBO each made blind commitments to buy two scripts written by up-and-coming writers under the supervision of a Humatitas’ Trustee or Board member. Since then, FX has joined the group, bringing the total number of blind script commitments to 14.
And now, 20th TV, its cable division Fox 21, CBS TV Studios and ABC Studios has each ordered one pilot script, with a fifth script deal pending. 20th TV has bought a pilot script for Mambo Palace, a single-camera comedy by Luisa Leschin, with Humanitas Trustee Ali LeRoi, creator of Everybody Hates Chris, supervising. CBS Studios has ordered Neil Cohen’s single-camera script Judge School, which is being supervised by Trustee Gary David Goldberg. Fox 21 has ordered a pilot script for the one-hour drama Majestic from Will Pascoe with Trustee and Bones creator Hart Hanson supervising. ABC Studios ordered a script for Christian Trokey’s one-hour drama Map, Myth, Bone, with Trustee Marc Guggenheim (No Ordinary Family) supervising.
UPDATE: For those who inquired about application rules: Because of Humanitas’ limited staff, there will be no open submission. Writers can submit scripts through their agents, Humanitas-affiliated film schools or any of the Humanitas board of directors or board of trustees members or other TV showrunners who want to pitch them. There is no age limit for the applicants.
PREVIOUS: Humanitas is launching a New Voices initiative designed to help up-and-coming writers trying to break into the business. It includes agreements with 20th Century FOX TV, NBC Universal, CBS, ABC Studios, Lionsgate and HBO Entertainment to develop a total of twelve TV pilots by emerging writers. Each company has made blind commitments to buy two scripts, each of which will be written under the supervision of a member of Humatitas’ Board of Trustees.
The Association of National Advertisers Alliance for Family Entertainment, comprised of a number of top advertisers, is launching a $10 million media fund to sponsor the development of family-friendly drama and comedy series. That is in addition to a content development fund for TV and digital projects ANA launched in partnership with Humanitas a year ago. That fund was announced at ANA’s fifth annual symposium at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills; the new fund was announced today at the organization’s sixth annual symposium at the Paley Center. Several shows have come out ANA and its predecessor, the Family Friendly Programming Forum’s advertiser-supported development funds: Gilmore Girls, Everybody Hates Chris, Friday Night Lights and Chuck.