Japanese pubcaster NHK announced the winners of its 29th annual Japan Prize Contest for educational TV programs. The Grand Prix was awarded to Israeli film It’s About Time by Ayelet Menhemi and Elona Ariel. Also honored was Sorious Samura‘s Return to Freetown, produced by London, U.K.-based prodco Insight News Television. Freetown took the UNICEF prize.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television held the 17th annual Gemini Awards in Toronto on November 4. Alliance Atlantis, whose specialty channels were up for a number of awards, won Best History Documentary for The Last Just Man (History Television); and Best Talk Series for Health on the Line (Discovery Health), the first Gemini ever awarded to a digital channel.
The Beverly Hills, U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate the work of independent filmmaker Les Blank at the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael on November 22. Blank will be present to speak about his films, and three restored prints of his early docs will be screened: God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance (1968), The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1969) and Dry Wood (1973).
Actor Robert De Niro (and co-founder of the TriBeCa Film Festival in New York, U.S.) has been chosen to receive a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute (AFI). He was selected for his contributions in such films as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Godfather Part II.
On November 3, Pat Ferns, president and CEO of the Banff Television Foundation, announced that Tokyo-based Sony CineAlta will be awarded the Sonic Foundry Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for 2003 at the Banff Television Festival (June 8 to 13). CineAlta received the award for ‘revolutionizing the world of digital production technology’ with its products, such as the CineAlta HDCAM 24P.
The 2002 Excellence in Urban Journalism Award was given to WCPO-TV 9, an ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, U.S., for the doc Visions of Vine Street. The award has been given out since 1998 by the Enterprise Foundation, which is committed to community development, and the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation devoted to free press and free speech.