Caucus Journal Features Co-Chairs Tanya Hart & Bob Papazian and Executive Director, Deborah Leoni

Caucus Journal

June 2019

hart papazian leoni

Caucus Journal Features Co-Chairs Tanya Hart & Bob Papazian and Executive Director, Deborah Leoni


2019 marks the 45th anniversary of the founding of The Caucus and another busy year. Since the January edition of The Journal, we have hosted our 13th Annual American Spirit Awards and held two dynamic panels. Go to our Facebook page at to see some great photos of these three terrific events. Looking ahead, we’re gearing up for our fall Masters Interview and the Annual Awards Dinner in November. Get updated on these future events at

First a warm welcome to The Caucus’ newest members and associate members! We’re proud to announce Bruce Miller, showrunner of the acclaimed series The Handmaid’s Tale; James Pickens, Jr., best known for his role as Dr. Webber on the hit series, Grey’s Anatomy; and Jonathan Sanger, renowned producer of Academy Award winning picture, The Elephant Man, have joined our ranks. Please learn more about them here. New associate members include Bella Cosper, Amen Jafri, Shannon Fewster, Tara Platt, Laylor Litton-Strain, Terry Dawson and Warwick Holt. Check out this talented group here.

Founded in 2004 by Lionel Chetwynd and Vin Di Bona, The American Spirit Awards are held annually to recognize outstanding individuals whose commitment and dedication to notable causes exemplifies the American spirit. These honorees come from the entertainment industry and from the areas of education, military and public service and deserve our recognition. This year it gave The Caucus great pleasure to honor Larry King with the American Spirit Award; Henry Winkler with the Caucus Legend Award; Professor Hildreth (Hal) Walker and Dr. Bettye Walker, Humanitarians of the Year; Chase Millsap, Distinguished Veteran of the Year; and Cristina Kotz Cornejo with the Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers Award. Held at the beautiful Taglyan Complex in Hollywood on May 29th, the event was inspiring, entertaining and enjoyed by all. Please see Gary Grossman’s review of the American Spirit Awards here.

From A/R to X/R and Beyond! was our April 4th panel which addressed the rapidly advancing technologies of augmented, virtual and extended reality and featured a panel of visionaries who make it happen. These experts shared their insight on everything from VR’s value in medical applications, its reach in education, its potential in the world of fundraising, the importance of storytelling in all things VR, monetization issues and even limitations of VR. Narrated by Caucus Panel Chair, Michael Berk and sponsored by Emerson College, this was an eye-opening event for all the students and others in attendance! Please read Paul Miller’s review here.

On February 20th, and in association with The Television Academy, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, EIN SOF Communications, Inc. and Emerson College, the Caucus presented our second Disability Through a Whole New Lens panel. The first panel, in 2017, explored opportunities in front of the camera for people with disabilities. This year’s panel explored opportunities behind the camera and was very well attended and received. Loreen Arbus, Tari Hartman Squire and Michael Berk put together a stellar group of panelists who rocked the event with laughter, goodwill, great advice and optimism. It was a truly great panel.

And check out more great articles in this edition of The Journal:

So now we look to the second half of the year! As always, if you want to contribute to the Journal, please email Deborah Leoni at We’re always looking for new writers and fresh articles so come one, come all! And as a reminder, find updates on our upcoming Masters Interview and the 37th Annual Awards Dinner at and check us out on Facebook at for lots of great photos. Have a great summer everyone!


Robert Papazian is an Emmy Award winning Producer and Studio Executive/Owner.

Tanya Hart, four-time Emmy Award and George Foster Peabody Award winning producer of television series and documentary films, TV Host, and Syndicated Radio Personality has recently joined the ACCESS ONE Radio Networks digital team along with continuing her daily show on American Urban Radio Networks. AURN and Hart’s company currently produces the podcast HOLLYWOOD LIVE EXTRA available on all digital formats. Hart’s company is also in pre-production for a feature film.

Deborah Leoni, Executive Director of The Caucus, is a writer, producer and former top level ABC executive with years of experience developing, writing and producing creative content. She has developed hundreds of pilot and movie scripts with many of the top talent in television and has overseen the production and post production of series, pilots and movies shot all over the world.