Yesterday, I attended the 2009 Peabody Awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. This year, PBS received six Peabody Awards and I’m proud to say that one-third of those went to Independent Lens.
Taking home awards were Maria Finitzo for MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: Terra Incognita, which looks at Dr. Jack Kessler, a prominent neurologist, who shifts his diabetes research to stem cell research when his daughter is paralyzed from the waist down. The second Peabody was given to KING CORN, by Aaron Woolf, Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney, which follows two recent college graduates who embark on a mission to see where America’s food comes from––by growing it. In the rural town of Greene, Iowa, the two friends plant a single acre of the nation’s most powerful crop–corn–and then set out to track it from a seed to the dinner plate.
The ceremony was hosted by NBC’s Brian Wiliams. Anyone who has seen him as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart knows he has a good, contagious sense of humor. He was a very good MC for the Peabody ceremony––the perfect mix of sincere recognition for the remarkable work being honored and very funny humor to make the ceremony more entertaining and also sincere and effective.
One of my favorite moments was Brian Williams persistent teasing of Wolf Blitzer and CNN. Other highlights of the Peabody Awards included an honor to Saturday Night Live for their political parody coverage of the 2008 presidential election, Entourage and Breaking Bad. After the ceremony, I spent time with Albert Maysles (who received a Peabody Award for The Gates) and the staff of The Onion online. I later joined the other winners for the champagne reception at The Paley Center. It was a big day for Independent Lens and the filmmakers!
-Lois, Vice President and Independent Lens Series Producer
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