Laura Ziskin, who produced the first three “Spider-Man” movies and is producing the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, will receive the 2011 Visionary Award from the Producers Guild of America:
The Producers Guild Visionary Award recognizes television, film or new media producers for their productions’ uniquely positive or uplifting contributions to our culture through inspiring storytelling or performance. Previous honorees include producers Simon Fuller for “American Idol” and “Idol Gives Back”; Jeff Skoll for his work with Participant Media; Joel Gallen, who produced the landmark post-9/11 telethon “America:A Tribute to Heroes”; and Mike Nichols and Cary Brokaw, producers of HBO’s “Angelsin America.” Ziskin is being recognized dually for her passionate commitment to storytelling as well as her remarkable efforts in organizing the recent Stand Up to Cancer campaign and its multi-platform programming. Ziskin also received the Producers Guild’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award in 2005, and is the first recipient of the Selznick Award to be so honored as a PGA visionary.
“Laura Ziskin is not only an exceptionally talented producer but also an avid humanitarian with an inspirational drive to make a difference in the fight against cancer,” said Paula Wagner, Chair of the 2011 Producers Guild Awards. “Through the Stand Up to Cancer initiative, Laura has played a pivotal role in raising funds, awareness and support for continued research to find a cure. We are proud to recognize her for her many strides and exceptional success to encourage hope and change.”
“I am thrilled to be recognized with this Visionary Award that I share with my colleagues and my co-founders at Stand Up to Cancer,” said Ziskin. “We realized that we had the potential to make cancer the first tier issue it needs to be and to impact how cancer is treated by using our skills as producers and quite literally ‘putting on a show.’ Stand Up to Cancer is my most important production and I am so touched and proud that the PGA is honoring us for it.”
As a film and television producer, Ziskin has been involved in some of the most successful productions including the immensely popular SPIDER-MAN franchise, PRETTY WOMAN, and AS GOOD AS IT GETS. Additional producing credits include NO WAY OUT, WHAT ABOUT BOB?, from a story by Ziskin and Alvin Sargent, the critically acclaimed THE DOCTOR, HERO, TO DIE FOR, the live television movie “Fail Safe” and the HBO Film DINNER WITH FRIENDS.
In 1994, Ziskin was named President of Fox 2000 Pictures and under her stewardship the division released such films as COURAGE UNDER FIRE, ONE FINE DAY, INVENTING THE ABBOTTS, VOLCANO, SOUL FOOD, NEVER BEEN KISSED, FIGHT CLUB, ANYWHERE BUT HERE, ANNA AND THE KING and THE THIN RED LINE, which garnered seven Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture. In 2002, Ziskin produced the 74th Annual Academy Awards® as the first woman to produce the awards solo, and again for a second time in 2007 where she instituted the first ever “Green” Oscar ceremony. Her work on both ceremonies earned a total of 17 Emmy Award nominations.
Sharing a desire to make an impact in the fight against cancer, Ziskin and a group of women—including Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Ellen Ziffren, Noreen Fraser, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Lisa Paulsen and Kathleen Lobb—founded Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) in 2008. Ziskin went on to executive produce the historic SU2C televised event on September 5, 2008 to raise awareness and funds to support groundbreaking cancer research. The one-hour special, which combined entertainment, education and musical performances, was the first-ever televised “roadblock” event raising money to proactively combat a major public health threat. Over 100 celebrities donated their time to appear in the show and in public service announcements promoting it. Just one year after Stand Up To Cancer’s launch, the first installments of over $70 million worth of three-year grants were awarded to a number of interdisciplinary, multi-institutional “Dream Teams” of researchers. On September 10, 2010, the second “Stand Up to Cancer” event aired on all four major networks and over a dozen cable outlets, including HBO, Showtime and Discovery Health. Over 100 celebrities and musicians donated their time once again to promote the initiative. Ziskin is not only a founder of SU2C but also a member of its Executive Leadership Council.
Ziskin has served on the board of Americans for a Safe Future, the National Council of Jewish Women and Education First. Due to her philanthropic and producing work, she has been honored with many awards including Premiere Magazine’s “Women in Hollywood” award, the Big Sisters of Los Angeles Sterling Award, Women’s Image Network Award, Women in Film’s Crystal Award, the Israel Film Festival’s Visionary Award, The Wellness Community’s Human Spirit Award and The Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Award. She was also honored by Senator Barbara Boxer as a “Woman Making History” and by the City of Hope as “Woman of the Year.”