[08/25/08 - 02:38 PM]
Humanitas Prize Announces New Finalists and Welcomes New President, New Venue and New Vision
"It is extremely gratifying to play a role in recognizing and honoring these Humanitas finalists," said incoming president John Wells.

[via press release from Humanitas Prize]

HUMANITAS Prize Announces New Finalists and Welcomes New President, New Venue and New Vision

Writer-producer John Wells assumes top spot as ceremony moves to Beverly Hills

Los Angeles, CA � August 25, 2008. The finalists for this year's HUMANITAS Prize were announced today by John Wells, the new HUMANITAS Prize President. A total of $95,000 in prize money will be handed out at the annual luncheon on September 17 in the Crystal Ballroom at The Beverly Hills Hotel. This marks a new date and locale for the prize. Since 1974, Humanitas has honored feature film and television writing that explores the human condition in a way which affirms the dignity of the human person and reveals common humanity.

"It is extremely gratifying to play a role in recognizing and honoring these Humanitas finalists," said John Wells. "The work of these writers is truly inspiring." "The HUMANITAS Prize is proud of the work we've done and the life-affirming film and television writing we've championed over the past three decades," said Cathleen Young, Executive Director of the Prize. "But at a time when we have an exciting new location in the heart of Beverly Hills, it is also important that we look to the future. We believe that John Wells, a groundbreaking writer, producer and director and a proven leader in the entertainment industry, is the man who can carry us into the future�and we'll begin to realize that future at the upcoming luncheon when we roll out our new vision for Humanitas."

One of the most prolific and acclaimed creators in television, John Wells begins his presidency this year. Writer/Producer Wells' work has included ER, The West Wing, Third Watch, and China Beach. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including six Emmys, five George Foster Peabody Awards, five Producers Guild of America Awards, two Golden Globes, nine People's Choice Awards, and a HUMANITAS Prize, which he won for The West Wing. Through his Warner Bros-based production company, he has been involved in numerous feature films, including I'm Not There, White Oleander, The Good Thief, Duma, Far From Heaven, One Hour Photo, Mrs. Harris, The Notorious Bettie Page, Infamous, and A Home at the End of the World. Wells served as the president of the Writers Guild of America, West from 1999 to 2001. Wells is taking over for Frank Desiderio, C.S.P., who has been president of the HUMANITAS Prize since 2000. Desiderio will become chairman of the board, but he will continue in many of his current duties. In addition to his work for HUMANITAS, he has served as executive producer for both made for television movies and documentary projects.

"Humanitas is close to my heart," said Frank Desiderio. "I care deeply about our mission. When we honor writers who write life affirming stories, we help move our culture forward. We are very happy to have John Wells as our new president." The 2008 Humanitas Prize finalists include three writers who received Academy Award nominations for their screenplays: Ronald Harwood (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl), and Best Original Screenplay winner Diablo Cody (Juno). Among the other finalists are three-time Humanitas Prize winner David E. Kelly, who in the past has won for his TV series The Practice and Picket Fences and was this year nominated for an episode of Boston Legal. In the 30-, 60- and 90-minute categories, the programs saluted cover a broad spectrum, from the HBO miniseries John Adams to the cable-TV series The Wire, In Treatment, and The Bill Engvall Show, to the network series Scrubs (a previous Humanitas winner) and Boston Legal. For the first time, The Hollywood Reporter is funding a new Humanitas documentary award ($5,000 prize) to be announced at the luncheon.

The 2008 HUMANITAS Prize finalists are:

Feature Film Category ($10,000)


JUNO Written by: Diablo Cody

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL Written by: Nancy Oliver

90 Minute Category ($10,000)


CHARLIE & ME Written by: Karen Lagasse Struck

A LIFE INTERRUPTED Written by: John Wierick

PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS Written by: Ann Peacock, Daniel Petrie, Jr. & Camille Thomasson

60 Minute Category ($10,000)

BOSTON LEGAL: "Roe V. Wade, The Musical" Written by: David E. Kelly & Susan Dickes (teleplay); David E. Kelly, Susan Dickes & Jill Goldsmith (story)

JOHN ADAMS: "Part 1" Written by: Kirk Ellis

THE WIRE: "Late Editions" Written by: George Pelecanos (teleplay); David Simon & George Pelecanos (story)

30 Minute Category ($10,000)

THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW: "Aloha Raffles" Written by: Kathy Ann Stumpe

IN TREATMENT: "Sophie Week 2" Written by: Sarah Treem

SCRUBS: "My Long Goodbye" Written by: Dave Tennant

Children's Animation Category ($10,000)

MY FRIENDS TIGGER & POOH: "Eeyore's Sad Day" Written by: Brian Hohlfeld

SWEET BLACKBERRY PRESENTS: "The Journey Of Henry Box Brown" Written by: Karyn Parsons

TODDWORLD: "Come Out Of Your Shell" Written by: Don Gillies

Children's Live Action Category ($10,000)

JOHNNY KAPAHALA: "Back On Board" Written by: Ann Austen, Douglas Sloan, Max Enscoe & Annie DeYoung (teleplay); Ann Austen & Douglas Sloan (story)

MINUTEMEN Written by John Killoran (teleplay); David Diamond & David Weissman (story)

SHEIRA & LOLI'S DITTYDOODLE WORKS: "Sacrifice" Written by David Lawrence, Bill Rodman & Cory Rosenberg

Sundance Feature Film Category ($10,000)

HENRY POOLE IS HERE Written by: Albert Torres

A RAISIN IN THE SUN Written by: Paris Qualles

THE VISITOR Written by: Tom McCarthy

The David & Lynn Angell Fellowship in Comedy Writing ($10,000)

FAIR: Written by: Cameron Porsandeh

MCKELLAR HALL: Written by: Nik Blahunka & Marcy Holland

The Humanitas Student Drama Fellowship ($10,000)

HEROES: "The Cure" Written by: Marla DuMont

HOUSE: "Witch Is It" Written by: Katherine F. Lovejoy

The Documentary Award ($5,000)

To be announced at the luncheon.

The HUMANITAS Prize money will be awarded at a luncheon on September 17 in the Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is located at 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. This marks a change from recent years, when the Prize luncheon has been held at the Hilton Universal Hotel each June or July. Over the past three decades, more than $2.8 million in prize money has been awarded. HUMANITAS Prize winners have included numerous films and television shows that have changed the landscape of entertainment by exploring the complexities of the human experience and shedding light on the positive values of life. They include: Richard LaGravenese (Freedom Writers); Hanif Kureishi (Venus); Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco (Crash); Peter Morgan (Longford); Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl); Keir Pearson & Terry George (Hotel Rwanda); Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues); Michael Kang (The Motel); John Wells (The West Wing); Tony Kushner (Angels in America); Antwone Fisher (Antwone Fisher); Niki Caro (Whale Rider); David E. Kelley (The Practice); Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues); Alan Alda (M*A*S*H); Horton Foote (William Faulkner's OLD MAN); Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List); Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking); Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting); Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, The West Wing), and Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me).

For more information, please visit the website at www.humanitasprize.org

  [august 2008]  


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