It's not the Emmy's. It's not the Oscars. But in many ways, the annual Christopher Awards are more meaningful than the big industry awards, with all their glitz and glamour.
The Christopher Awards each year recognize the creators of work in TV, film and books that inspires and shows how each of us can make a difference. It's always an honor and a humbling experience to work this event, filled with so many people who use their creativity for good.
At the 69th annual Christopher Awards ceremony Thursday night, the authors, illustrators, writers, directors and producers of 21 books, TV programs and feature films were honored. Among them were author and historian David McCullough for his latest, "The American Spirit," and the writers, directors and producers of three films I enjoyed -- "Lady Bird," "Wonder" and "The Darkest Hour."
Ken Burns, the prolific filmmaker whose documentaries on PBS have taught so much about history and ourselves, was honored with a Christophers Life Achievement Award. His films have helped us understand and appreciate things and events as diverse as jazz, the Civil War, baseball, the Statue of Liberty and last year's 18-hour look back at the Viet Nam War. Coming soon, he says, are films on the history of country music and profiles of Ernest Hemingway and Muhammad Ali.
In an interview we arranged for him last week with Catholic News Service, he compared making documentaries to making fiction-based films. "Steven Speilberg can make stuff up; I can’t. We’ve talked about this. A good story is a good story, no difference between a documentary and a film."
Ken Burns certainly knows how to tell a good story, as do all the winners of the Christopher Awards. Info on all the award-winners is here.
Photo: Ken Burns, right, with Christopher Awards emcee Ernie Anastos, FOX5 New York anchor. Credit: Paul Schneck