Bob Papazian begins his fifth year of leadership as Caucus Co-Chair, this term joined by his actual business partner of over 35 years, Jim Hirsch. Jim moves into his Co-Chair position after serving as Secretary for the last two years and he continues as a member of the Foundation Board and Co-Editor of the Caucus Journal with Norman Powell.
As Co-Chairs, we began this article just before the Coronavirus exploded into our national experience. Everything is now shut down and we are all working from home and hoping for better days ahead. We at the Caucus wish everyone health and safety and hope everyone will continue to follow the medical guidelines for as long as necessary. We will survive this terrible pandemic somehow and life will go on. What follows is what we would have been celebrating in our Co-Chair statement for the upcoming year. The events mentioned have, of course, been postponed but we hope to deliver them in the year ahead when it is safe to do so.
The Caucus exists in a time of rapid and disruptive change to the entertainment business in general and to the Television and Film business in particular. Streaming has changed the distribution model and there is no turning back. Our mandate has always been to support and defend the work of Producers, Writers, and Directors. While each of those positions has a guild, we offer support to those who crossover from one discipline to the other, as so many creative individuals in our business do.
With that in mind, we begin our next year looking to the future and seeking ways to lead the evolution for those who write, produce and direct the content that is exploding in so many outlets across the world. Our Foundation’s commitment to offer support and mentoring to the next generation of creative entertainment talent is at the heart of The Caucus and will be at the core of all we plan to do going forward.
We will continue to provide panels and Master seminars on specific areas of interest to aspiring filmmakers. The next Caucus panel to be held at Emerson College (date TBA) is titled Exploring the World of New Animation and will be headlined by Noel Bright, Executive Producer and his colleagues who are the creative team behind multiple animated hits such as BoJack Horseman and Undone.
The American Spirit Awards, now postponed until further notice, will honor those who have exhibited the most important and enduring qualities. Honorees this year include Michael Colbert, Producer of the Annual Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth, America’s national 4th of July party from Washington, D.C. Michael will receive the American Spirit Award. Also honored with the Distinguished Veteran Award will be Art delaCruz, COO of Team Rubicon. Gail Katz of USC will receive the Educator’s Award and Tom and Jeanne Townsend of Pianos for People will be given the Humanitarian Award. This powerful event will be produced and directed by Caucus members Gary Smith and Paul Miller, and, as always, by Events Chair and Caucus Emeritus Legend, Chuck Fries.
The Caucus Annual Awards dinner will be held in December. We’re pleased to announce that Marsha Grant and Associates have been engaged to help the Caucus with our events this year. We look forward to working with Marsha and her staff. The Annual Awards Dinner will continue to shine a spotlight on the values and the benefits that the Caucus provides.
And, last, but certainly not least, Tanya Hart has concluded her four years as Co-Chair with Bob Papazian. Tanya’s and Bob’s leadership and commitment resulted in a host of positive changes and accomplishments for the Caucus and everyone in the organization owes her a debt of gratitude for her exceptional service.
Robert Papazian is an Emmy Award winning Producer and Studio Executive/Owner.
James G. Hirsch co-founded Papazian Hirsch Entertainment with partner Robert Papazian in 1988. In 1997 they built the first independent film studio; RAY ART Studios and in 2005 they received the coveted ARPA International Film Award for lifetime achievement. Hirsch has written and/or produced over 50 movies, series, and mini-series which have won multiple Emmys and for which he has been a WGA Award nominee and this year’s recipient.