And the Winds Continue to Change…

While looking at the list of nominees for the 15th Annual PRISM Awards this week, I couldn’t help but think about the meaning behind the productions and last year’s Capitol Hill Showcase. As I spoke to the audience about the importance of bringing the weight of the entertainment industry to bear on health and social issues, I looked around the room and saw a real possibility for change given the experience, skills and talent present. Many who have dedicated their lives to addressing important health issues. Sharing the night with Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. H. Westley Clark, SAMHSA Director, Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator, Marcellus Alexander, President of NAB Education Foundation, as well actress Roxy Olin, reaffirmed how many dynamic advocates for health and social change  there are committed to seeing progress on these issues in the best interest of all people.

(From left to right: Brian Dyak, Roxy Olin, Pamela Hyde, and Marcellus Alexander)

I   am really proud of the fact that the PRISM Awards features such a variety of categories and creative opportunities for nominations. We are able to commend agents of change all across the entertainment spectrum by keeping our eyes open for creative and accurate depictions of health and social issues across all mediums. How many award shows have you watched that had the categories “Comic Book or Graphic Novel” next to “Performance in a Drama Episode”? Our awards program features creative teams of all kinds working together to inform their audiences while telling a story.

Last year Crazy Heart won the PRISM Award for “Feature Film – Substance Abuse”, because of its portrayal of a man wrestling with an addiction (played by Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges), but we also gave a PRISM Award for “News Magazine Segment” to ESPN Outside the Lines for their coverage on Tony Mandarich and the effect steroids use, had on his once-promising career.  Two very different mediums, with two very different audiences, and both managed to spread a powerful message. Both audiences came away with new insights. That is what the PRISM Awards is all about: recognizing the people in their own creative spheres who are doing what they do best- telling a story- while still managing to spread a potentially life-saving message.

So as we get closer to the PRISM ceremony, I am excited to see what this next batch of nominees will spotlight. Who knows whether The Fighter will follow in the footsteps of Crazy Heart, or if E! Investigates will beat out ESPN Outside the Lines; what I can be certain of is that it will be another fantastic evening. We greatly appreciate all the leaders in the entertainment industry who through creative affect, in their way,  effect positive change. These individuals have the power to inform and educate hundreds of millions of viewers and audience members. By the way, it is also exciting to know they often create an international dialogue that gets people interested and talking about the issues that are affecting the world around them every day.  Every voice counts and every attempt to make the world better deserves support and recognition. Thanks to all who do!

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