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Television and film screenwriters honored with Humanitas Prize

The Associated Press
Friday June 28, 2002

LOS ANGELES — Screenwriters for television shows and films whose works “enrich as well as entertain” were honored during a luncheon with the 2002 Humanitas Prize. 

In the feature film category, writers Richard Eyre and Charles Wood won a $25,000 prize on Tuesday for “Iris,” which recounts the life of writer Iris Murdoch and her husband’s devotion to her after she was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. 

In the cable television category, writers for the HBO film “The Laramie Project” won $25,000 for their film documentary about Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who died in 1998 after he was beaten into a coma and tied to a fence. Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project wrote the screenplay. 

Kirk Ellis also won a $25,000 award for “Anne Frank,” a four-hour ABC miniseries that portrayed the girl from ages 9 to 15 and went beyond “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which ends with her arrest in 1944. 

Two shows tied for the $15,000 prize in the 60-minute category: an episode of ABC’s “The Practice” titled “Honor Code,” written by Lukas Reiter and David E. Kelley; and the season finale last year of NBC’s “The West Wing,” titled “Two Cathedrals,” by Aaron Sorkin. 

In the 30-minute category, Matt Tarses won the $10,000 prize for an episode of NBC’s “Scrubs” titled “My Old Lady.” 

Anna Sandor was given a $10,000 prize for “My Louisiana Sky” in the children’s live action category and Dev Ross won a $10,000 prize for “Wolf Quest” in the children’s animation category. 

In the Sundance Feature Film category, George LaVoo and Josefina Lopez won a $25,000 award for “Real Women Have Curves.” 

The group also honored journalist Bill Moyers with a new prize, the Kieser Award, in recognition of his 30-year career. The award is in memory of the late Rev. Ellwood “Bud” Kieser, the Emmy-winning Roman Catholic priest who created the Humanitas Prize in 1974. 

Frank Desiderio, president of the Humanitas Prize, also announced the establishment of the David and Lynn Angell Humanitas Fellowship in Comedy Writing. David Angell, co-creator of the NBC sitcom “Frasier,” and his wife were aboard one of the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. The fellowship, which is funded in part by a gift from Paramount Television, will be presented annually to someone who has finished a graduate-level writing program.