Blu Digital Group’s Paulette Pantoja to Be Honored With DEG’s Hedy Lamarr Award

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present Paulette Pantoja, founder and CEO at Blu Digital Group, with the 2022 Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.

In its sixth year, the Hedy Lamarr Award recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry. The 2022 awards will be presented during an in-person event in Los Angeles in the fall. 

Paulette Pantoja

Pantoja founded Blu Digital Group in 2007 with a focus on quality control for film and TV content distributed on physical media. Her focus on proprietary workflows and her patented applications have since grown the company into a go-to solution for content owners and platforms of all sizes that need to deliver streaming content at highest quality and with best user experience, according to the DEG. Blu Digital Group’s cloud-based automation software for content distribution has demonstrated real innovation, and Pantoja’s expansion of the localization division within Blu in 2021 further broadened the company’s ability to deliver international content to audiences around the world, according to the DEG.

After working at Ascent Media and Panasonic Hollywood Labs, Pantoja set up Blu Digital as the first dedicated Blu-ray Disc testing facility. In 2015, she evolved the business to provide content services for the digital media supply chain, leveraging Blu’s cloud-based automation software for content distribution to broadcasters and OTT platforms. In 2017, Blu began licensing its software to give clients control and visibility of their content preparation and distribution workflows. The company now also provides localization services and ad-insertion technology. Since its founding, Blu Digital Group has reached more than 300 million viewers, provided media services for more than 25 film and TV titles recognized by the Academy Awards and Emmy Awards, and has serviced 3 million content hours. In 2021, Blu was recognized as one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the United States, and Pantoja this year is an Ernst & Young Greater Los Angeles Entrepreneur of The Year 2022 finalist.

The 2022 Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, honoring a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise, will be presented at the same time to Danielle Takahashi, an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California who is majoring in Media Arts and Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts. She will receive a financial award to continue her education.

“It is my honor and pleasure to recognize Paulette Pantoja, who is well known to many in the DEG community, with this year’s Innovation Award. Throughout her career, Paulette has focused on proprietary workflows and her patented applications help streamline key operational aspects for entertainment companies. By extension, consumers benefit every day from Paulette’s innovations,” Amy Jo Smith, DEG president and CEO, said in a statement. “It is also an immense pleasure to present the Achievement Award to Danielle Takahashi to support her use of her artistic skills for empowerment, social justice, and fostering empathy through storytelling. The 2022 Hedy Award winners are remarkable women in their field who clearly share Hedy’s passion for innovation.”

“I am so excited to accept the Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award from DEG,” Pantoja said in a statement. “I strive to build a culture of innovation and inclusion at Blu Digital, and DEG is helping to do that on an industry level with these awards recognizing women, who have traditionally been underrepresented in media technology. The pace of technology is always evolving, and I am honored to accept this recognition of Blu’s dedication to developing better and more efficient media management workflows.”

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Austrian American actor Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is used today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications. To honor Lamarr, the Innovation Award seeks to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders who have made a similar impact in the field of entertainment technology. Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital; and Poppy Crum, former chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted industry leaders including members of its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of senior executives representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: innovation, engagement and excellence.

Annual Home Entertainment Media Play Awards to Feature Expanded Streaming Category

Nominations are now being accepted for the 12th Annual Home Entertainment Media Play Awards, which this year feature an expanded streaming category. This is the fifth year the annual home entertainment awards program is presented by Media Play News.

Nominations for the awards — which honor the best movies, series and other content aimed at home audiences released during 2021 — are due from participating studios, distributors and content creators Feb. 25. Winners in all categories will then be determined by a blue-ribbon panel of industry experts in conjunction with a consumer vote. Voting will take place in March and the winners will be announced in April.

The awards were traditionally for transactional releases only, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital.

Streaming categories were added last year, and this year the streaming component is being further expanded with awards for various channels, including FAST.

Submit your entries for the 2022 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards here

“There are now more ways than ever to distribute and view content, so we wanted these awards to be comprehensive enough to cover the entire home entertainment spectrum,” said John Latchem, executive editor of Media Play News and awards administrator.

The 2022 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards have 45 categories open for nomination.

This year there are 14 disc categories, 10 streaming categories (twice as many as last year), two TVOD categories and 15 genre categories open to films and shows released on any platform, disc, digital or streaming. Awards also will be given for Best Marketing Initiative, Best Restoration, Best International Release and Best Extended Edition/Alternative Cut.

In addition, three “best of show” winners — Title of the Year, Best TV Release of the Year, and Best Blu-ray Disc — are then selected from among all eligible submissions. A “Fan-Favorite” trophy also will be awarded for the single title receiving the most consumer votes. Judges may also present awards based on special merit.

Last year’s Home Entertainment Media Play Awards saw Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 1 earn the top prize, voted Title of the Year. The set also won for Best Packaging.

Blu-ray Disc of the Year went to Shout! Factory’s Friday the 13th Collection: Deluxe Edition, which also won Best Boxed Set. HBO’s Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc set won TV on Disc of the Year. Warner Bros.’ The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy won Best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

On the digital side, Lionsgate’s But I’m a Cheerleader: Director’s Cut won Best Digital Sellthrough Release, while Paramount’s Love and Monsters earned Best Premium Video on Demand Release. Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 was selected as Best New Streaming Movie, while Disney+ series The Mandalorian: Season 2 won Best Season of a Scripted Series.

In other award categories, Lionsgate’s Knives Out was a triple winner, selected as Fan-Favorite Title of the Year, Best New Movie on Disc and Best Audio/Visual Quality.

Vintage TV shows also were hailed, with Shout! Factory’s “The Carol Burnett Show” picking up a streaming win as Best Binge Series and Mill Creek’s Return of Ultraman honored as Best Disc Release of a Vintage TV Series.

2021 OTT.X Impact Awards

The winners of the 2021 OTT.X Impact Awards were honored Dec. 7 at a ceremony at the IPIC Theatres Tuck Room Tavern in Westwood, Calif. OTT.X created the awards show to celebrate the content creators and organizations using their art and technology to inspire positive action and promote acceptance of, and equality for, all people. Echoing and furthering the organization’s mission was the highlight speaker of the night — David Lenga, a 94-year old Holocaust survivor and the inspiration behind Here Media’s award winning No Goodbyes. Lenga shared his harrowing tale of survival and perseverance with the audience and emphasized the importance of taking action against inequalities and injustices.

The 2021 Impact Award winners were:

  • No Goodbyes (Here Media) — Impactful Short Title
  • “Dime Quien Soy” (NBCUniversal) — Impactful Series
  • Best Summer Ever (Freestyle Digital Media) — Impactful Full-Length Feature, Fiction
  • Vice Versa CHYNA (VICE/Rock Salt Releasing) — Impactful Full-Length Feature, Non-Fiction
  • SpherexGreenlight (Spherex) — Impactful Technology Innovation
  • Google TV Watch With Me (Google) — Impactful Technology Innovation

(Photos by Alondra Gutierrez)

AARP Announces Nominees for Annual ‘Movies for Grownups’ Awards’

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Feb. 8 announced it list of feature films nominated for the nonprofit’s annual “Movies for Grownups Awards,” set to broadcast on PBS March 28.

Feature films contending for the Best Picture/Best Movie category include A24’s Korean family drama Minari; Searchlight Pictures’ Nomadland; Amazon Studios’ One Night in Miami; Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7; and Hulu’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

For two decades, AARP’s Movies for Grownups program has championed movies for the 50-plus-year-old audience, fighting industry ageism and encouraging movies that resonate with older viewers.

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“Each year, we spotlight films that feature today’s crucial issues and top grownup talents,” Tim Appelo, AARP film and TV critic, said in a statement.

Hoda Kotb, NBC News’ “Today” co-anchor, will host the awards ceremony broadcast by “Great Performances” at 8 p.m. on PBS, pbs.org/moviesforgrownups and the PBS Video app. The MFG Awards winners will be announced on March 4 at www.aarp.org/moviesforgrownups.

In the Best Actress category, nominations go to Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Robin Wright (Land), Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Frances McDormand (Nomadland). In the Best Actor category, Ralph Fiennes (The Dig), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank) and Tom Hanks (News of the World).

The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Candice Bergen (Let Them All Talk), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari), and Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman). In the Best Supporting Actor category, Clarke Peters (Da 5 Bloods), Demián Bichir (Land), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) and Mark Rylance (The Trial of the Chicago 7).

2020 Movies for Grownups nominees for Best Director are Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7) and Lee Daniels (The United States vs. Billie Holiday).

In the inaugural year, Movies for Grownups Awards has added categories in Television/Streaming, the nominees for Best Series are HBO Max’s “Perry Mason” and “Succession,” Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso,” Netflix’s “The Crown,” and NBC’s “This Is Us.”

In the Best TV Movie/Limited Series category, nominations go to Hulu’s Mrs. America, Amazon Prime Video’s Small Axe, Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit and Unorthodox, and HBO Max’s Watchmen.

The Television/Streaming nominees for Best Actress are Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”), Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America), Regina King (Watchmen), Laura Linney (“Ozark”) and Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt$ Creek”). In the Best Actor category, Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), Hugh Grant (The Undoing), Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird) and Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much is True).

George Clooney will receive the esteemed Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award. He joins a list of previous AARP Movies for Grownups Career Achievement honorees, including Annette Bening, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Shirley MacLaine, Helen Mirren, Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon and Sharon Stone.

The complete list of the Movies for Grownups Awards Nominees:

  • Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups: MinariNomadlandOne Night in MiamiThe Trial of the Chicago 7The United States vs. Billie Holiday
  • Best Actress: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Robin Wright (Land)
  • Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes (The Dig), Tom Hanks (News of the World), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Gary Oldman (Mank)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Candice Bergen (Let Them All Talk), Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Demián Bichir (Land), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Clarke Peters (Da 5 Bloods), Paul Raci (Sound of Metal), Mark Rylance (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
  • Best Director: Lee Daniels (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
  • Best Ensemble: Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Best Intergenerational: Hillbilly Elegy, Minari, On the Rocks, The Father, The Life Ahead
  • Best Buddy Picture:  Bad Boys for Life, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Da 5 Bloods, Let Them All Talk, Standing Up, Falling Down
  • Best Screenwriter: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods); Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies (News of the World), Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
  • Best Time Capsule: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, One Night in Miami, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Best Grownup Love Story: Emma.Ordinary LoveSupernovaWild Mountain ThymeWorking Man
  • Best Documentary: A Secret Love, Crip Camp, Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy, Dick Johnson Is DeadSky Blossom: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Another Round (Denmark), Bacurau (Brazil), Collective (Romania), The Life Ahead (Italy), The Weasels’ Tale (Argentina)
  • Best Series: “Perry Mason,” “Succession,” “Ted Lasso,” “The Crown,” “This Is Us”
  • Best TV Movie/Limited Series: Mrs. America, Small Axe, The Queen’s Gambit, Unorthodox, Watchmen.
  • Best Actress (TV/Streaming): Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”), Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America), Regina King (Watchmen), Laura Linney (“Ozark”), Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt$ Creek”)
  • Best Actor (TV/Streaming): Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), Hugh Grant (The Undoing), Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird), Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True).

AFI Announces Top Films, TV Shows of 2020

The American Film Institute announced the recipients of the 2020 AFI Awards, featuring 10 films and 10 TV shows, as well as a Special Award for Hamilton.

Top honorees include Netflix’s Mank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Da Five Bloods, “The Crown,” “Bridgerton” and “The Queen’s Gambit”; Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso”; the acclaimed Frances McDormand starrer Nomadland; HBO’s “Lovecraft Country”; Amazon’s One Night in Miami …; Disney’s animated Soul; and Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.”

The AFI’s global Movie Club program will showcase the official selections beginning in February, with new and exclusive content released daily, including special guests from the honored works introducing the titles and AFI “Behind the Scene” conversations with filmmakers and actors. 

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“For 20 years, AFI Awards has been a moment to gather artists in one room with a singular goal — to create community over competition,” Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO, said in a statement. “This year we cannot gather but will instead celebrate each honoree by creating exclusive content to be shared with a global audience through AFI Movie Club, shining a proper light on excellence.”

The AFI Awards tributes will culminate with a virtual benediction premiering Feb. 26 on YouTube.com/AFI and AFI.com.

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The AFI Awards is the only national program that honors creative teams as a whole, recognizing those in front of and behind the camera. Selections are made through a jury process where AFI Trustees, artists, critics and scholars determine the year’s most outstanding achievements and provide artistic and cultural context for the selection of each honoree. All of the honored works advance the art of the moving image, inspire audiences and artists alike, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form and make a mark on American society. “When placed in an historical context, these stories provide a complex and rich visual record of our modern world,” according to the AFI.

 

AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR

Da 5 Bloods

Judas and the Black Messiah

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

Minari

Nomadland

One Night in Miami…

Soul

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

AFI TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR

“Better Call Saul”

“Bridgerton”

“The Crown”

“The Good Lord Bird”

“Lovecraft Country”

“The Mandalorian”

“Mrs. America”

“The Queen’s Gambit”

“Ted Lasso”

“Unorthodox”

 

AFI SPECIAL AWARD

Hamilton

PBS Distribution’s Andrea Downing to Be Honored With Fourth Annual ‘Fast Forward’ Award

Media Play News Jan. 22 announced that Andrea Downing, co-president of PBS Distribution, will receive the fourth annual Media Play Fast Forward Award, which honors people, technologies, organizations, products or services that move the home entertainment industry forward.

With more than 25 years’ experience in the home entertainment business, industry leader Downing is being honored for her exceptional, broad and groundbreaking role at PBS Distribution. She has led the evolution of the organization from a start-up focused on physical goods to a global distribution company of public media content around the world. Her focus on adapting to the media landscape has led to five subscription streaming channels — PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids, PBS Living, PBS Documentaries and PBS America (U.K.). In addition to licensing content on DVD and Blu-ray, she has also spearheaded the company’s move into transactional video-on-demand; subscription video-on-demand; theatrical releasing; and educational, non-theatrical, inflight and international program sales and co-productions.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by Media Play News with the Media Play Fast Forward Award — particularly when I consider how many of my peers are doing incredible work in extraordinary times,” said Downing. “The home entertainment market has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, and we have all had to learn to pivot quickly and anticipate what will come next. But no one anticipated a global pandemic, and we have been tested mightily this past year.

“I also recognize that I would not have received the award without the incredible dedication and talent of the PBS Distribution team. I am so proud that they continuously pivot to face our challenges and opportunities and develop innovative ways to address and capitalize on them, all while supporting each other and maintaining our company values. It is an honor to lead this team each and every day and contribute to the public television system’s mission of giving voice to all Americans.”

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Last year, the Media Play Fast Forward Award went to Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. In 2019, the award went to digital retailers Cameron Douglas of FandangoNow, Galen Smith of Redbox On Demand, Google Play Movies & TV’s Jonathan Zepp and the team at Apple iTunes. The previous year, the inaugural Media Play Fast Forward Award was shared by the Fox Innovation Lab and Movies Anywhere.

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The Media Play Fast Forward awards are an outgrowth of the Home Entertainment Visionary Awards, which were launched in 2002 by the now-defunct Home Media Magazine. Comcast’s Brian Roberts was the 2017 honoree. Warren Lieberfarb, the father of DVD, was the first Visionary Award winner, back in 2002. Other honorees have included Sony Pictures’ Ben Feingold, Samsung’s Tim Baxter, and Walmart’s Louis Greth and Chris Nagelson.

Downing will be profiled in the March issue of Media Play News.

Annual ‘Media Play News’ Awards Expands to Streaming, Gets New Name

Media Play News is revamping its annual home entertainment awards to add categories for streaming services, including original movies and series, in addition to content released for digital sellthrough and on disc formats such as Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

As a result, the program will also be presented under the updated name “Home Entertainment Media Play Awards.”

“Digital original programming offered by streaming services has become a vital part of the home entertainment industry, and we want our awards to reflect that reality,” said Media Play News publisher Thomas K. Arnold.

For the past 10 years the honors were presented by Media Play News and a predecessor publication under the Home Media Awards banner, which had consolidated a number of DVD and Blu-ray awards presented before then.

Studios, content distributors and streaming services may submit nominations for the awards here through Feb. 26.

Fans can vote on the nominations in March and the winners will be announced in April.

Details about categories and submission guidelines are now available at MediaPlayNews.com/awards/home-entertainment-submission-form.

In last year’s awards, which were limited to the transactional segment of the home entertainment business, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earned the top prize, taking Title of the Year and Best Theatrical Home Release.

Blu-ray Disc of the Year went to Lionsgate’s Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, which also won Best Catalog Home Release and Best Box Art. HBO’s Game of Thrones: The Complete Series won TV on Disc of the Year and Best Packaging.

PBS’s Sara DeWitt Presented With DEG’s Hedy Lamarr Award

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Nov. 9 presented its fourth annual Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology to Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

DeWitt was surprised by presenters in masks and gloves who gave her the award in her home during the virtual event.

“A fun thing about this being virtual is that my whole family is here with me,” DeWitt said, surrounded by her kids and husband.

“Sara oversees PBS kids streaming video services, the PBS kids games app and PBSkids.org, which collectively serve over 13.5 million visitors each month,” said PBS CEO Paula Kerger, who introduced DeWitt. “Under her leadership PBS Kids has produced and published cutting-edge experiences for children from AR games and podcasts to game video hybrids and texting programs. Her drive to understand how digital media can impact children’s learning has yielded profound findings from a variety of research studies, and she’s established the gold standard for children’s digital privacy and security.”

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DeWitt paid tribute to Lamarr, an Austrian-American actress who was a Hollywood legend and lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications. PBS chronicled her life in the “American Masters” documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.

“I loved this story of this glamorous movie star moonlighting as a technological powerhouse, but I think what struck me the most as I watched that ‘American Masters’ documentary Bombshell was how long it took for her contributions to come to light, that silence of 50 years from the time that she received her patent for the idea of frequency hopping to the time of actual public recognition for it,” DeWitt said. “And when I think about that piece of the story I get really frustrated. I hope many of you are as well. It just reemphasizes for me the importance of amplifying the successes of women here and now, women in technical fields, women in my own organization, women in our community. It reaffirms to me too how critical it is to provide opportunities for more voices, for those underrepresented in our industry to be heard and celebrated so that no one has to wait 50 years for their groundbreaking work to come to light.”

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DeWitt, who was a teacher before joining PBS, stressed the power of programming in helping kids envision their future.

“The media that we create has so much power to introduce kids to places and to people that they’ve never know about before,” she said. “Good storytelling has the power to help children imagine exciting possibilities for themselves and good technology can help even more children gain access to the tools and the resources that they need to realize these possibilities. I hope that our innovation at PBS Kids can inspire all children and all of those little girls in our audience to think big and to think about their own future to create new inventions and new art and new discoveries that won’t take 50 years to be recognized.”

The DEG also virtually presented the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. The Emerging Leader award was presented to Molly Mielke, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in film, TV and digital media at UCLA. Mielke will receive a financial award to continue her education. Her work can be found on her website, mollymielke.com.

Lamarr’s son Anthony Loder also joined the virtual event.

“It’s wonderful that you’re sharing her legacy forward in history while making history of your own,” he said.

Nominations for the 2021 awards are open Nov. 10 on the DEG website.

OTT.X to Honor Industry Heroes

OTT.X (formerly the Entertainment Merchants Association) is looking to honor industry “heroes.”

The group is looking for a team member who has gone out of his or her way to help neighbors, to help the community, to support health care workers, or to just do something good during the pandemic — or for a team member who has gone out of his or her way to help the company continue to serve its customers during the crisis.

“Just as the hard work of grocery and pharmacy teams are keeping our pantries and medicine cabinets full, all of the teams in our industry, at digital platforms, channels and retailers; at content companies; and at all of the service and technology companies that facilitate the flow of content ultimately to the consumer are playing an important role in providing the needed entertainment to keep everyone sane during these stay-at-home days,” according to OTT.X. “We need to recognize our own heroes.”

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Entries should include a brief paragraph nominating a hero or heroes and a photo if possible. In mid-June, OTT.X will hold an online live ceremony recognizing all the heroes and presenting a few special awards. Nominations must be sent no later than May 30 to mfisher@ottx.org and include “our ottx hero” in the subject line.

In addition, OTT.X is soliciting pictures of home offices and awarding prizes. Photos should be sent to mfisher@ottx.org and include “my new home office” in the subject line.

USC Annenberg Dean Willow Bay to Receive DEG Hedy Lamarr Award

Willow Bay, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, will receive the third annual “Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology” from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group this fall.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

The DEG also will present the “Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology,” which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. Maya Tribbitt, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism and international relations at USC Annenberg and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, will receive the Emerging Leader honor along with a financial award to continue her education.

The awards will be presented in Los Angeles to coincide with the 105th anniversary of Lamarr’s birth Nov. 9, 1914.

“We are thrilled to present DEG’s 2019 Hedy Lamarr Awards to Dean Willow Bay, for her traditional and digital platforms, and USC student Maya Tribbitt,” said DEG president and CEO Amy Jo Smith in a statement. “These communicators truly embody Hedy Lamarr’s dedication to innovation in media and technology.”

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Bay, a broadcast journalist, is the first female dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and holder of the Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication. Since joining the USC Annenberg faculty in 2014 as director of the School of Journalism, she has launched the school’s state-of-the-art Media Center in Wallis Annenberg Hall, expanded the school’s partnerships with key media and technology partners, and accelerated curricular innovations, including an expansion of the school’s experiential education and career development programs, according to the DEG. Bay’s work to ensure that current and future communicators are fluent writers across many digital platforms was recognized with the Award of Honor from the PEN Center USA. She is married to Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.

“I am honored to receive this award inspired by Hedy Lemarr’s relentless commitment not only to pushing the boundaries of invention, but also to forging new roles for women in the entertainment and technology industries,” Bay said in a statement. “At USC Annenberg, we prepare our students to lead with this same level of intelligence, curiosity and courage as they shape the future of media, technology and culture.”

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the principles of innovation, engagement and excellence.