Each year, the HUMANITAS Prize is awarded to film and television writers whose projects explore the human experience in a way that both entertains and enlightens, and this year, eight Fox writers are among the thirty-one finalists across eight categories. Of the twenty film and television productions nominated in the content categories, six were produced and/or distributed by Fox. The winners will be announced at a luncheon on January 16 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, an event that also marks the 40th anniversary of the HUMANITAS Prize.
The Fox writers nominated this year include John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave, Misan Sagay for Belle, Elaine Ko for Modern Family, Alex Gansa & Meredith Stiehm for Homeland, Carter Bays & Craig Thomas for How I Met Your Mother, and Veena Sud for The Killing. Previous Fox winners include Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ryan Murphy for Glee, David Shore for House, and Steve Levitan for Modern Family.
"Every year, I am amazed by the talent of the HUMANITAS finalists," said Executive Director Cathleen Young. "They make me laugh and cry. They show me my world and help me understand my place in it. They explore the kinds of demons most of us have felt as well as the comforts and joys that make life worth living. They show me what is possible and they do it with words. Always with words. Words that move us all forward into a more fully examined life."
Twentieth Century Fox Television is also a key partner in HUMANITAS's New Voices program, the purpose of which is to discover and empower the careers of talented emerging writers who have a fresh voice and a unique worldview. Each year, TCFTV and other studios grant four $25,000 grants to these emerging writers, who then write a pilot script under the supervision of a HUMANITAS trustee/Showrunner.
Since 1974, the Humanitas Prize has awarded over $3 million to more than 320 film and television writers. Consult the press release for more information on the Humanitas Prize, including the full list of this year's finalists.
Fox Audience Strategy, which promotes diverse voices across 21st Century Fox's entertainment businesses, served as the presenting sponsor of the 5th annual WISE Los Angeles Women of Inspiration Awards on Thursday, November 20. Women in Sports and Events (WISE) is a leading professional resource for women in the sports business.
Fox Audience Strategy's relationship with WISE Los Angeles began last year, when the two organizations partnered to help provide opportunities to women in sports production and broadcasting, traditionally male-dominated fields. The Women of Inspiration Awards are an important method of recognizing women's leadership in the sports industry, and the event is a key component of Fox Audience Strategy's partnership with WISE Los Angeles.
"On behalf of the 21st Century Fox entertainment businesses, FOX Audience Strategy is thrilled to continue its partnership with WISE Los Angeles," said Nicole Bernard, Executive Vice President, FOX Audience Strategy. "The mission of WISE aligns with FOX Audience Strategy's objectives to enhance a diversified workforce and support women's career growth in our sports and entertainment industries. We look forward to another wonderful evening honoring women making a difference in the sports world."
This year, WISE Los Angeles will honor Kristin Bachochin Klein, SVP, AEG Sports & Executive Director, Amgen Tour of California; Ronit Larone, Senior Coordinating Producer, Studio Production, NFL Network; and Janet Marie Smith, SVP, Planning & Development, Los Angeles Dodgers. Lindsay Amstutz, Vice President of Marketing for FOX Sports, was honored at last year's ceremony.
"Our annual gala is not only a chance for us to honor these industry leaders who have excelled at fulfilling their professional goals and influencing others in the industry," said Shelley Taniguchi, WISE Los Angeles President. "But also to bring together professionals that share the goals and mission of WISE of enhancing the success and growth of women in the sports and events industry."
For more information on the Women of Inspiration Awards, including bios on this year's honorees, visit WISELosAngeles.com.
The Ghetto Film School is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and inspiring the next generation of storytellers, and 21st Century Fox played a key role in launching the GFS in Los Angeles earlier this year. GFS LA recently released this promo video providing an overview of the school and its many exciting projects.
Since the launch of its first season in May 2012, Satyamev Jayate, or "Truth Alone Prevails," has become a centerpiece of the national conversation in India. STAR TV's groundbreaking social awareness series features Bollywood star Aamir Khan in conversation with experts, victims, and activists, discussing some of the country's most pressing issues. These conversations, streamed digitally and broadcast on multiple STAR channels in six local languages, have affected political action and have inspired countless individuals throughout India to come forward and share their stories. SMJ created a movement, and reporter Zachary Pincus-Roth covered that movement in a recent issue of LA Weekly.
"In LA, lots of TV creator do charity work, but it's usually separate from their day jobs," Pincus-Roth writes. "In India, many in TV feel an obligation to make the medium itself a force for social justice." Satyamev Jayate and other progressive STAR programs are cases in point for how the media can have a meaningful social impact. Local governments across India have passed new laws as a direct result of SMJ episodes, and STAR shows that feature strong female characters, such as Diya Aur Baati Hum, are working to alter the dominant perception of women as subservient. "We needed to become the mouthpiece for people's aspirations and whatever people didn't like, whatever people thought needed to change," said Uday Shankar, CEO of STAR India.
Shankar also spoke about STAR's ability to deliver social value through its content at an event at the Paley Center for Media earlier this year. "There's a certain amount of premium that society places on media businesses," he said. "I've always--and my bosses have always encouraged me--to challenge the status quo... Our job is to question, to focus the spotlight on what we feel needs to be observed more closely."
While many of STAR's shows address issues like women's rights and the caste system through fiction, SMJ confronts them head on. Aamir Khan was already one of Bollywood's biggest stars when he began working with Shankar to create SMJ. Traditionally, if Bollywood stars of his caliber made the move to television, they would host lighter fare such as a game show or a dance series. Khan, however, was more interested in dealing with the country's serious issues.
Khan and Shankar now admit that while they were enthusiastic about the series, they understood what a risk it was. "The traditional understanding of entertainment did not capture that kind of program" Shankar said. "It made you introspective, and when you look in the mirror [after watching the show], you will feel guilty. It didn't leave you laughing or on an emotional high."
Even still, their risk paid off. STAR estimates that approximately 517 million people--nearly 41 percent of the country--saw the show during its first season, and viewers have translated these ratings into action. After only one month in office, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Khan to discuss the issues raised on the show. The chief minister of Rajasthan created a fast-track court to prosecute doctors who commit female feticide. Health ministers in Maharashtra cracked down on illegal abortions. The nonprofit Snehalaya founded a shelter for women and girls and named it Satyamev Jayate Bhavan in the show's honor. The series has inspired people everywhere to take action in their communities and try to make a difference.
Satyamev Jayate wrapped its third season last weekend, and all of its episodes are available to stream with English subtitles at SatyamevJayate.in. To reach Zachary Pincus-Roth's full cover story "Can TV Save India?" visit LAWeekly.com.
At the Fox Studios Lot in Los Angeles last week, top Fox talent and executives gathered to celebrate the launch of the Fox Global Directors Initiative (FDI), a multi-year program from 21st Century Fox and Fox Audience Strategy to promote diverse voices in film, broadcast, cable, and digital. In its first year, FDI will focus on championing the work of female directors. Its inaugural class consists of 20 Director Fellows.
"Our 20 Director Fellows are a reflection of the many talented directors who are at the core of great, authentic entertainment," said Dana Walden, Chairman and CEO, Fox Television Group. "These amazing women have achieved tremendous recognition for their work, and they represent exactly the kind of globally diverse creative talent that we want to be in business with here at Fox."
The Fellows were selected from a global pool of creative talent and span a range of media including film, television, and commercials. They include a mix of established talent and rising stars, such as Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Emmy nominee Jennifer Arnold, and Oscar nominees Steph Green and Jessica Sanders. The full list of fellows, including complete bios of each, is available at FoxAudienceStrategy.com.
For six-weeks, the Fellows will participate in the Fox Directors lab, an in-depth mentorship program with executive across 21st Century Fox entertainment businesses, including FX, FOX Broadcasting, Fox Film, Twentieth Century Fox Television, and Fox International Channels. At the end of the six weeks, five finalists will be selected for a 10-month program that gives each finalist the chance to produce a Fox-branded short.
"We could not be more pleased with the response to what we believe is an extraordinary opportunity to cultivate relationships with directors from global backgrounds," said Nicole A. Bernard, Executive Vice President, Fox Audience Strategy, The Fox Group. "The caliber of the Director Fellows that have committed to participate in the Fox Global Directors Initiative is a direct result of our referring partners and the abundance of diverse talent that they represent."
Fox's partners on this project include Women in Film, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, Sundance Institute, AFI Directing Workshop for Women, Outfest, and Film Independent, FDI's curating partner.
For more information on the Fox Global Directors Initiative, visit FoxAudienceStrategy.com.
The U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day on November 11, and 21st Century Fox businesses recognized the occasion by paying tribute to the men and women who have and continue to serve in the nation's armed forces.
At the corporate level, 21st Century Fox announced a renewed relationship with American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit organization that provides U.S. veterans with career guidance as they transition back to civilian life. The organization pairs 21st Century Fox executives with veterans hoping to enter the media industry, and the professional guidance they share gives veterans the tools they need to launch their post-service careers.
In addition, Fox Audience Strategy, a group working across the Fox entertainment businesses, created the 30-second spot above, which features Fox talent thanking U.S. veterans for their service. The Audience Strategy group also gave Fox employees the chance to thank veterans by leaving messages of appreciation on the Fox "Gratitude Wall" for troops overseas.
FOX Sports Supports, the charitable arm of FOX Sports, developed several pieces of content to mark the occasion, including Veterans Day campaigns on FOX Sports 1, the NFL on FOX, and FOX Sports Regional Networks. On Veterans Day itself, FOX Sports brought 100 active and reserve military personnel to FOX's Los Angeles production studio for a tour of the Studio Lot. The troops were then escorted to the set of FOX SPORTS LIVE, where they appeared on air throughout the show in appreciation for their continued service. FOX Sports Regional Networks also aired five new "Warriors Among Us" Veterans Day shorts, the first of which can be viewed below.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a national nonprofit providing after-school programs and summer camps for young people of all ages, hosted its annual Great Futures Gala in Los Angeles on November 5th, honoring FOX Sports with the Champion of Youth Award. FOX Sports announcers Joe Buck and Erin Andrews emceed the event, and Eric Shanks (left), President, COO, and Executive Producer of FOX Sports, accepted the award from BGCA Board member Michael Tennenbaum (right).
At the corporate level, FOX Sports' relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs began in 2008, when the company's charitable initiative FOX Sports Supports first developed a national PSA campaign for the organization. However, local FOX Sports stations have been involved with BGCA for much longer.
FOX Sports Arizona has been a partner since 2005, supporting 13 clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix and helping fund a youth basketball league that has nearly 1,000 participants. FOX Sports Detroit annually contributes an average of $100,000 to their local club, and FOX Sports North helped found the "Hometown Team Scholarship," which annually awards one BGCA member a 4-year academic scholarship.
Eric Shanks has served as BGCA National Trustee since 2007 and was inducted in to the Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni Hall of Fame this year. He has been instrumental in securing significant financial support for the organization and devoting the company's valuable media assets toward bringing greater awareness to the Clubs and their work.
The event also included a fundraising auction, Kyle Busch's M&M NASCAR #18, and Cleatus, the FOX Sports robot. Nichole Martens and Kiana Knolland (pictured below with Cleatus) were named Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year, and they spoke about how the clubs have impacted their lives.
For more information about FOX Sports' work with the Boys & Girls Clubs, visit FOXSportsSupports.com.
On Thursday, November 13th, Fox News Channel will host a graduation ceremony for the latest class of fellows from the Ailes Apprentice Program, a professional development initiative for television journalists from diverse backgrounds. The event will also mark the 10th anniversary of the program, which has become a leader in promoting diversity in the broadcast journalism industry.
Each year, the Ailes Apprentice Program, founded by Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, selects four top-performing Fox News employees, interns, or freelancers to participate in a 12-month paid fellowship that includes cross-divisional training and comprehensive mentorships with Fox News executives. The apprentices also gain hands-on experience by creating diversity-oriented content to air on the channel. Most recently, the fellows worked closely with Fox & Friends to create a special interview series honoring Hispanic Heritage Month.
"Throughout the past 10 years, the Ailes Apprentice Program has provided opportunities that young minorities otherwise wouldn't have to become stars in the media field of their choice," Ailes said in a statement. "Our ultimate goal is to inspire change in the television industry through the program's continued success and achievements in diversity."
Many of the program's graduates have enjoyed successful journalism careers. Francisco Cortes, now a Vice President at Fox News Latino, was a member of the program's inaugural class, and he now regularly serves as a mentor for the apprenticeship program.
"It's refreshing to see the chairman of the company involved so heavily," Cortes told Broadcasting & Cable in an interview. "[After graduation,] Mr. Ailes makes sure that you continue on a track of success through the company."
For more information on the Ailes Apprentice Program and the current group of fellows, visit AilesApprentice.FoxNews.com.
As part of its ongoing efforts to engage sports fans of all ages in the U.S., FOX Sports has announced a new partnership with the American Youth Soccer Organization, a national nonprofit providing youth soccer programs that aim to enrich children's lives. The agreement names FOX Sports as the premier sponsor of AYSO for the next five years and as Presenting Partner of the organization's 50th anniversary campaign.
Through on-air promotions, public service announcements, and in-program messaging, FOX Sports will feature AYSO initiatives across its entire family of channels, including FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX Soccer Plus, the FOX Sports Regional Networks, and the Big Ten Network, as well as on FOX Sports Radio. In addition, FOX Sports' presence as a media sponsor was highlighted at this year's marquee AYSO events, including its 50th Anniversary, #SoccerFEST14, and the AYSO National Games.
"We are thrilled to have FOX Sports as a premier partner of AYSO," said Lynn Berling-Manuel, AYSO Chief Marketing Officer. "Their commitment to help engage young families with soccer as both participants and fans is an important statement of their dedication to soccer in America at every level."
FOX Sports' relationship with AYSO began in 2011, when FOX Soccer announced a multiyear sponsorship agreement. In addition to promoting AYSO on-air, FOX Soccer worked directly with the organization to produce exclusive online content, including six webisodes featuring former Major League Soccer star Kyle Martino. FOX Soccer also reached out to parents and kids through social media and at key AYSO events.
"FOX Sports' exciting partnership with AYSO expands on the great partnership FOX Soccer started with AYSO [in 2011]," said Chris Hannan, FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Communications and Integration. "AYSO's core principles for youth sports and its grassroots connection to families are a perfect fit with FOX Sports 1's commitment to sports fans across America on all levels."
Since it was founded in 1964, more than six million children have played in an AYSO program, with over 500,000 players currently registered nationwide. For more information, visit AYSO.org, and be sure to watch FOX Sports' first PSA for AYSO above.
The Women's Sports Foundation, a leading nonprofit dedicated to ensuring girls access to sports, hosted its 35th Annual Salute to Women in Sports on Wednesday, October 15th, in New York City. FOX Sports was a leading sponsor of the event, which celebrates both the best in women's sports and the young girls around the world whom these athletes inspire. Gatorade, espnW, and NBC Sports Group were also co-presenters.
World tennis champion Billie Jean King started the organization in 1974, and since then, it has become a leading voice for women in sports, influencing public attitudes and promoting physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles for women and girls. This year, the foundation recognized some of the top female athletes in the world, including Gymnastics World Champion Simone Biles, who took home the coveted 2014 Sportswoman of the Year prize.
Other athletes recognized include Olympic gold medalist and ice dancer Meryl Davis, who won the Sportswoman of the Year award in the team category, skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace, who received the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award, and Kenyan marathoner Tegla Loroupe, who won the Billie Jean King Contribution Award for her philanthropic work.
"This year marks the Women's Sports Foundation 40th Anniversary and we are so proud of the accomplishments we have made over the last four decades and the incredible achievements that have been reached in women's sports," said King, who spoke at the ceremony. "The Annual Salute is a celebration of the past year but also serves as a beacon to remind us all of the importance of the work the Foundation does for women and girls each and every day."
FOX Sports' relationship with the Women's Sports Foundation began earlier this year, when the company, along with its peers NBC Sports and ESPN, contributed a collective $2 million to the foundation's work.
"Playing sports and celebrating the importance of its roles in our society is a key part of the culture at FOX Sports. Our partnerships at the grassroots level with AYSO to the highest competitive level with collegiate sports and the FIFA Women's World Cup signify our commitment to growing women's sports," said Eric Shanks, President, COO, and Executive Producer of FOX Sports. "From lessons on teamwork, determination and self-belief, FOX Sports is proud to support the Women's Sports Foundation and their dedication to developing America's girls into the next leaders of our corporations, and our society at large."
For more information on the Women's Sports Foundation and for coverage of the awards dinner, visit WomensSportsFoundation.org and click the video above.