Photo (Center): Deborah Leoni, The Caucus Acting Executive Director and James Hirsch, The Caucus Co-Chair, present The Caucus Academic Media Award to LA County High School of the Arts’ Cinematic Arts Department staff and students.
All Photos Credit: Steve Cohn
Los Angeles – Thanks to the overwhelming success of the 2021 Virtual Awards Gala, Co-Chairs of The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors; James Hirsch and Robert Papazian, and Deborah Leoni, Acting Executive Director, and The Caucus Foundation have been able to support six worthy grant recipients.
The grant donations kicked-off at LA County High School of the Arts (LACHSA) Cinematic Arts Department in September in front of a packed auditorium filled with excited students. Since then, grants have been made to the American Musical and Dramatics Academy (AMDA); A Place Called Home; Champs Charter High School for the Arts; LA City College, and the Youth Cinema Project. Each of these schools or organizations used the grant monies to support their existing programs and missions or to purchase much-needed equipment and software.
A Place Called Home’s Senior Director of Development, Katie Alheim acknowledged the Caucus grant stating, “Please know that this gift is now helping children learn the art of storytelling through cinema, photography and scriptwriting, while internalizing the value of their personal perspectives and the strength of their own voices”.
The star-studded 38th Annual Caucus Awards Gala was hosted by actor James Pickens Jr. (Grey’s Anatomy) in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Honorees were: Academy Award®, and Emmy winner Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine’s President of Film and Television Lauren Neustadter (Little Fires Everywhere) received the Producers of the Year Award, presented by Academy Award®-winning actress Octavia Spencer; Academy Award®-winning writer, producer, director Aaron Sorkin was presented with the Writers Award by Robert Papazian, Caucus Co-Chair; Danish director Susanne Bier (The Undoing) received the Directors Award, presented by Academy Award®, and Emmy winner Nicole Kidman; Black-ish actress and executive producer/star of Little, Marsai Martin was presented with the Rising Star Award by Donna Langley, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; Vin Di Bona, Chairman, Vin Di Bona Productions was awarded the prestigious Caucus Legend Award presented by America’s Funniest Home Videos host Alfonso Ribeiro. Community leaders and philanthropists Jeanne and Tom Townsend were awarded with the Caucus’ Humanitarian Award presented by Caucus Co-Chair James Hirsch. Norman Lear, Caucus Co-founder made a Special guest appearance.
The Caucus Foundation, spearheaded by its President Sharon Arnett, was created to give production grants to worthy students to promote diversity and presented grants to six students. The grant recipients were Myra Aquino of University of California, Los Angeles; Kathryn Boyd-Batstone of University of Southern California; Christine Cho of Chapman University; Tessa Germaine, of Chapman University, Damon Laguna of University of Southern California; and Mel Orpen of University of Southern California.
The success of the Annual Awards Gala has enabled The Caucus Foundation to continue its mission of scholarship support, financial grants and mentoring of a diverse group of talented students. To date nearly $2 million has been awarded to students at accredited colleges and universities across the country. The Foundation receives support from The Annenberg Foundation, Angell Foundation, Panavision, illuminate Hollywood and other funders. This commitment to help young talent has never been more important than it is right now as they work towards discovering and mentoring the next generation of entertainment talent.
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