DEG Announces Upcoming Los Angeles Event Dates

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group is planning a series of upcoming events in Los Angeles.

Aug. 23, in concert with Media Play News, the DEG will produce an event feting the magazine’s “40 Under 40” honorees, presented in the August issue. The event will take place 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Oct. 12 the DEG will present its TechOp 2022 Awards. Nominations are open through Aug. 19. Categories include the Best Multi-Company Team Collaboration Award, Everyday Hero Award and Localization Trailblazer Award.

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Nov. 15 the DEG will celebrate its Hedy Lamarr Awards with a reception and hold its annual meeting. The DEG is honoring Paulette Pantoja, founder and CEO of Blu Digital Group, with the Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.

No times or locations have been announced for the October and November events.

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.

Nominations for DEG’s Sixth Annual Hedy Lamarr Awards Now Open

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group on Jan. 28 announced that nominations for the 2022 Hedy Lamarr Awards are now open. 

The awards program, now in its sixth year, was created “to acknowledge and inspire pioneering work by the multi-faceted female leaders in entertainment technology today as well as those of the next generation, DEG says.
 
The Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology will honor a female executive who has advanced and impacted the industry in a unique manner that drove meaningful change. The 2021 award went to Poppy Crum, chief technology officer at Trimble and former chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories. Past honorees were Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of the Emblematic Group; Dean Willow Bay of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; and Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital.

The Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, a financial award intended to further the recipient’s education, recognizes a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise.

Nomination forms are due Friday, April 1. The Hedy Lamarr Awards will be given out in November to coincide with the anniversary of Lamarr’s birth.

Nomination form for the Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology

Nomination form for the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology

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

DEG Presents 5th Annual Hedy Lamarr Award to Former Dolby Exec Poppy Crum

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Dec. 6 awarded Poppy Crum, former chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories, the Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology in a virtual presentation.

In its fifth year, the Hedy Lamarr Award recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

At Dolby, Crum is responsible for integrating neuroscience and data science into algorithm design, technology development and technology strategy. She is also an adjunct professor at Stanford University, focusing on the impact of modern technologies and immersive environments such as augmented and virtual reality on neuroplasticity and learning.

“It’s an absolute honor to receive this award in Hedy Lamarr’s name,” Crum said after being introduced by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association. “She’s truly one of the most creatively inspired and impactful inventors of our time.”

Crum noted the imaginative thinking behind Lamarr’s inventions.

“Her creative and artistic talents and perspective were part of the brilliance that inspired her to see successful solutions and opportunities that were whimsically unconventional and not stuck in the past, whether wanting to help provide safe transport at sea during wartime and finding the inspiration behind frequency hopping in the compositional strategy and orchestration of player pianos or improving flight time and safety in the wing design of an airplane conceived as Frankenstein features of different animals, each having its own aerodynamic superpower to include,” she said.

Crum pointed out that Lamarr also had failures, notably the “cola-cube” a sort of bouillon cube that was designed to turn water into a cola drink.

“It didn’t end up working the way Hedy had planned as an inventor because it turns out the water that would be needed to reconstitute the cube across the United States had different chemical compositions, state by state,” Crum noted. “Everyone who does standards, this probably rings true to them. And when the ratios or output of the intended experience didn’t work, she couldn’t create one cube for everyone that would guarantee a successful experience. So Hedy’s cola-cube failure beautifully demonstrated that one-size-fits-all solutions just don’t work very often.”

Technologists must keep this in mind, she said.

“As we fill our lives, our work in entertainment, with increasingly immersive technologies like augmented reality, we have to map the true translation of the technological intent, the user’s perception, rather than model averages or exemplars with OK fits for some and, frankly, poor fits for others,” she said. “One size fits all wasn’t good enough for Hedy, and it can’t be good enough for us. Generating the most relevant features for a personalized experience regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, size and accessibility is fundamental to creating successful and predictable experiences.… Our next steps as innovators in technology are going to see huge benefit to all of us as machine learning and AI play their part in removing existing bias in the success, consistency and impact of the technologies we build across all our users.”

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During the virtual event, the DEG also presented the 2021 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, to Shambhavi Mishra, an undergraduate student at Carnegie-Mellon University. Mishra is double majoring in humanities analytics and music composition. Brianna Seaburg, a communications major at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC), was runner up.

Both will receive a financial award to continue their education, with donation assistance from PBS Distribution. PBS Distribution president Andrea Downing virtually presented the award to both students.

A past honoree, Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, led a virtual panel with past student honoree Cassidy Pearsall and the two 2021 winners discussing the transition to work life from college.

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Austrian-American actress Lamarr, the namesake of the DEG award, was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and DelilahThe 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.

Other past Hedy Lamarr Award honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; and Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS KIDS Digital.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlists its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries.

DEG’s Fifth Annual Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award Will Go to Dolby’s Poppy Crum

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Aug. 24 announced Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories, as the 2021 recipient of the Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.

In its fifth year, the Hedy Lamarr Award recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

At Dolby, Crum is responsible for integrating neuroscience and data science into algorithm design, technology development and technology strategy. She is also an adjunct professor at Stanford University, focusing on the impact of modern technologies and immersive environments such as augmented and virtual reality on neuroplasticity and learning.

The 2021 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 to Shambhavi Mishra, an undergraduate student at Carnegie-Mellon University who is double majoring in humanities analytics and music composition. Brianna Seaburg, a communications major at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC), is runner up. Both will receive a financial award to continue their education.

The awards will be presented during an online event Dec. 6.

“It is an honor to recognize Poppy Crum, an outstanding female leader in neuroscience and technology, with this year’s Innovation Award. She is a true visionary working to better lives and society through the development of immersive technologies,” said Amy Jo Smith, DEG’s president and CEO. “It is also a great pleasure to present the Achievement Award to Shambhavi Mishra to support her work toward ensuring that all voices and perspectives across the industry are heard equally. The 2021 Hedy Award winners are remarkable women in their field who clearly share Hedy’s passion for innovation.”

Crum said, “This honor represents a dedication to excellence in the field of technology initiated by Hedy Lamarr that continues to be led by many outstanding women who are committed to driving advancements that enhance our world and the experiences we have in it. It is truly gratifying to be recognized among them.”

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.

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; and Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS KIDS Digital.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlists its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries.

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.

DEG to Present Hedy Lamarr Award to PBS’s Sara DeWitt Nov. 9

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present 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.

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. The Emerging Leader award will be 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.

Sony Electronics is presenting sponsor of the awards, which will be presented during an online event Nov. 9, to coincide with the 106th anniversary of Lamarr’s birth (Nov. 9, 1914).

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“We are thrilled to present DEG’s 2020 Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award to Sara DeWitt, who is a potent example of the power of media, and of women in media, to push technological innovation forward and at the same time, benefit society on a larger level,” Amy Jo Smith, president and CEO of DEG, said in a statement. “I’m equally excited to present our Emerging Leader Award to Molly Mielke to support her vision for immersive storytelling. These communicators embody Hedy Lamarr’s dedication to progress through innovation in media and technology.”

“I am honored to receive this award,” DeWitt said in a statement. “I am truly amazed to be associated with Hedy Lamarr and the other pioneers recognized by DEG through this program! I know that I am fortunate to work with a team at PBS Kids who is passionate about improving technology and media for young children, and I am so grateful for this recognition.”

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and DelilahThe 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.

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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; and Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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 following principles: Innovation, Engagement and Excellence.