HUMANITAS Prize Announces 2009 Finalists; 35th Annual event to be held September 17, 2009



The finalists for 2009 HUMANITAS Prize were announced today by John Wells, HUMANITAS Prize President.  A total of $95,000 in prize money will be handed out at the annual luncheon on September 17th in the Crystal Ballroom at The Beverly Hills Hotel.  Since 1974, HUMANITAS has honored feature film and television writers whose work explores the human condition in a way which ultimately affirms the dignity of the human person and reveals our common humanity.


“The work of these gifted writers is truly inspiring” said John Wells, “It is not always easy to ‘sell’ the notion of richly drawn characters and complex stories that explore the human condition in a meaningful way, so it is our great pleasure to recognize writers who embrace that challenge and prevail.”


“HUMANITAS honors writers who tell great stories that lift us up as a community,” said Executive Director Cathleen Young. “It is a lonely job and a difficult job and we want to shine a light on these brilliant writers who make it look easy when it is far from easy.” 


“For over three decades, HUMANITAS has honored worthy writers who tell stories that make us think and feel and learn,” said Chairman of the Board Frank Desiderio. “In this era of reality television, our mission is more important than ever.” 


The 2009 HUMANITAS Prize finalists are:


Feature Film Category ($10,000)



Dustin Lance Black: MILK

Gina Prince Bythewood: THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES 

John Patrick Shanley: DOUBT

Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon: WALL-E Screenplay

Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter: WALL-E Original Story



 90 Minute Category ($10,000)


Dustin Lance Black: PEDRO 


Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl and Ross Katz: TAKING CHANCE





60 Minute Category ($10,000)


David Hoselton: HOUSE “Unfaithful” 

Jason Katims: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: “Tomorrow Blues”

David Zabel: ER: “Heal Thyself”  



30 Minute Category ($10,000)

Aleem Batra: SCRUBS: “My Last Words”


Robert Carlock: 30 ROCK: “Believe In the Stars”

John Frink: THE SIMPSONS: “All About Lisa”

Jamie Rhonheimer: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: “Happily Ever After”


Sundance Feature Film Category ($10,000)

Cherien Dabis: AMREEKA





Children’s Live Action Category ($10,000)


Andy Gordon: TRUE JACKSON, VP: “Pilot”

Dan Kopelman: TRUE JACKSON, VP: “The Rival”

Arika Lisanne Mittman: SOUTH OF NOWHERE: “Spencer’s 18th Birthday”



Children’s Animation Category ($10,000)


No Award Given For 2009



The David & Lynn Angell Fellowship in Comedy Writing ($10,000)

 Scott Rutherford: VENICE BEACH, G.E.D. “Pilot”


The HUMANITAS Student Drama Fellowship ($10,000)

 Joey Falco: FORTUNATE SONS: “Pilot – Some Things Never Change”



The HUMANITAS Prize money will be awarded at a luncheon on September 17th in the Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is located at 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.


Over the past three decades, more than $2.9 million in prize money has been awarded. HUMANITAS Prize winners have included numerous films and television shows that have changed the landscape of entertainment by exploring the complexities of the human experience and shedding light on the positive values of life. They include: Ronald Harwood (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl), Richard LaGravenese (Freedom Writers); Hanif Kureishi (Venus); Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco (Crash); Peter Morgan (Longford); Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl); Keir Pearson & Terry George (Hotel Rwanda); Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues); Michael Kang (The Motel); John Wells (The West Wing); Tony Kushner (Angels in America); Antwone Fisher (Antwone Fisher); Niki Caro (Whale Rider); David E. Kelley (The Practice); Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues); Alan Alda (M*A*S*H); Horton Foote (William Faulkner’s OLD MAN); Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List); Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking); Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting); Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, The West Wing), and Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me).


For more information, please visit the website at

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