Foundation – American Spirit Award



American Spirit Award —Larry King

Caucus Legend Award—Henry Winkler

Humanitarian Award Honorees—Prof. Hildreth (Hal) Walker   and Dr. Bettye Walker

Distinguished War Veteran—Chase Millsap

Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers—Christina Kotz Cornejo

Emerson College

American Spirit Awards award

The Caucus presents the American Spirit Award recognizing outstanding individuals who support, protect, and promote the interests of storytellers including Producers, Writers, and Directors. It also recognizes outstanding individuals who are prominently engaged in Entertainment, Television, Sports, Cable, and New Media. Recipients are chosen annually from national, state and local sectors including government and public officials and members of the Industry as noted above. Also an additional American Spirit Award is presented to a Humanitarian who is also a Producer, Writer, or Director.

The American Spirit Award was founded by, Lionel Chetwynd on Vin Di Bona’s watch as Caucus Chair in 2004.

American Spirit Award 2019

The Caucus Legend Award Honoree Henry Winkler Fills the House with Laughter
At the Caucus For Producers, Writers & Directors’ Legend Awards at the 13th Annual American Spirit Awards (ASA)

Photo L-R: Henry Winkler and Vin Di Bona, The Caucus ASA Co-Chair presented him the Award

Photo credit: Steve Cohn Photography

Henry Winkler and Vin Di Bona
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Photo L-R: The Caucus Co-Chairs Tanya Hart and Robert PapazianVin Di BonaNigel Lythgoe, Ex. Producer, American Idol/So You think You Can Dance, James Hirsch, Caucus ASA Co-Chair and Deborah Leoni, Caucus Executive Director.

Photo credit: Steve Cohn Photography

Photo L-R: Gary Smith, Chair of Caucus Events, Vin Di Bona, LA Dodgers Announcer Charley Steiner accepted the award for Larry King, and Gary Grossman, Caucus Steering Committee Member.

Photo credit: Steve Cohn Photography

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Hollywood, CA — The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors ’13th Annual American Spirit Awards ceremony and luncheon was filled with joy as they honored outstanding individuals who support, protect, and promote the interests of storytellers.

Henry Winker shared stories of his long-standing career which brought down the packed house with a standing ovation. The Caucus was proud to recognize other outstanding individuals whose work and commitment exemplifies the American Spirit including Distinguished War Veterans, Educators, Humanitarians and worthy Caucus members whose work makes us proud. They included Larry King, the iconic Peabody- and Emmy-Award-winning broadcaster, with the American Spirit Award, accepted by his friend LA Dodgers Announcer Charley Steiner.

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Photo L-R: Professor Hal Walker and Dr. Betty Walker

Photo credit: Steve Cohn Photography

Photo L-R: Honorees Henry Winkler, Cristina Kotz Cornejo and Chase Millsap

Photo credit: Steve Cohn Photography

Receiving the Humanitarian Award were Professor Hildreth (Hal) Walker and Dr. Bettye Walker presented by the Caucus’ James Hirsch. Hal Walker, truly a “hidden figure”, successfully fired the Ruby Laser to Buzz Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo landing. With his wife, Dr. Bettye Walker, a pioneer of STEM education, a university professor and an LAUSD school principal, the couple founded the A-MAN, Inc. STEM Center in Inglewood and also initiated it in South Africa at the request of President Nelson Mandela. In February 2019 they opened the first chapter of the National Space Society (NSS) on the African continent.

The Caucus Distinguished Veteran Award went to Chase Millsap, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army Special Forces, filmmaker, and Chief Content Officer at We Are the Mighty, a military and veteran focused media company, presented by Norman Powell.

The Caucus Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers was given to Cristina Kotz Cornejo, Professor and Associate Chair of Production in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, Boston, presented by The Caucus’ Gary Grossman.

The Caucus Co-Chairs Robert Papazian and Tanya Hart, along with Chuck Fries, Chair of Caucus Events, Gary Smith, American Spirit Awards Chair, Vice Chairs, Sharon ArnettJames Hirsch and Vin Di Bona and Executive Director Deborah Leoniare proud to recognize these deserving individuals and their service to others.

The American Spirit Award was founded by, Lionel Chetwynd on Vin Di Bona’s watch as Caucus Chair in 2004.

Past Awards


American Spirit Award – Leron Gubler, President /CEO Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
Caucus Legend Award—Richard Colla, Director/Actor
Humanitarian Award Honorees—Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson
Distinguished War Veteran—US Army Medal of Honor Veteran John Baca
Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers—Jan Krawitz, Film Professor, Stanford University

American Spirit Award – Paul Krekorian . Los Angele City Councilman
Caucus Legend Award—Dennis Doty, Producer
Humanitarian Award Honorees—Rocky Caroll, Actor/Director & Gabrielle Bullock, Architect
Distinguished War Veteran—War Veteran, Marine Sargent Nick Popapitch
Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers—Sheryl Antonio, Associate Dean, NYU

American Spirit Award – Brad Sherman, Congressman, California 30 (D)
American Spirit Award—Michael D. Antonovich Los Angeles County Supervisor
American Spirit Award—Chuck Fries, Co-Founder & President, The Caucus Foundation CEO Fries Productions
Caucus Legend Award—Jerry Isenberg Executive Producer, Co-Founder & Executive VP, The Caucus Foundation Past Chair, The Caucus Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers—Alan L. Gansberg, Dean Columbia College Hollywood