The second-annual MPA Awards at MPA’s global headquarters in Washington, D.C., honoring three individuals from the creative and policy communities who have made notable contributions to the film, television, and streaming industry.
Gina Prince-Bythewood, the award-winning director, writer, and producer of film and television, received the 2023 MPA Creator Award. U.S. House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Mexico City Governor Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo each received a 2023 MPA Industry Champion Award.
“Tonight, we’re proud to honor three individuals who embody the best of the global creative community,” said MPA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin. “We are celebrating a creator whose ground-breaking films and TV shows represent some of the best storytelling being produced today. And we’re recognizing two policymakers who are ensuring that our industry continues to enhance the vibrancy of cultures and economies around the world.”
Rivkin, who hosted this evening’s event, presented the MPA Creator Award to Prince-Bythewood, who is the second-ever recipient of this honor. The MPA Creator Award is presented each year to an outstanding individual whose expert and brilliant display of their craft behind the camera moved and shaped culture and helped us see the world in new and different ways.
Highly recognized as one of the most versatile storytellers working in film and television today and known for her authentic, character-driven work, Prince-Bythewood has written and directed such influential feature films as Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, and Beyond the Lights. She most recently directed the critically acclaimed epic feature film, The Woman King, for Sony’s TriStar Pictures, which premiered at the top of the box office in September 2022. For television, upcoming from Prince-Bythewood is Genius: MLK/X, on which she and her husband Reggie Rock Bythewood will serve as Executive Producers under their production company Undisputed Cinema.
“Now, more than ever, we need to use our art, our courage, and our oratory to protect the sanctity of America’s promise,” said Prince-Bythewood. “To inspire us to see the world in a different light. And to imagine the greatness that IS possible. That is the power of film. Thank you again to the MPA for this beautiful honor. I embrace it fully.”
The MPA Industry Champion Award is presented each year to individuals who have promoted the growth of the creative economy by advancing dynamic policies that generate new opportunities for all creators.
Congressman Jeffries’ leadership in the House has ensured that the American creative community continues to drive economic growth and export the best films and TV shows to the world. From supporting key federal agencies like the U.S. Copyright Office to ensuring that criminal streaming piracy services cannot exploit legal loopholes, he has worked to advance the needs of the industry at every step. And more broadly, he has authored laws to ensure that musicians receive fair compensation and independent artists are able to enforce their rights when their work is stolen.
“The film and television industry is an important social, cultural, and economic force in the communities I’m privileged to represent in New York and throughout America,” said Leader Jeffries. “The framers of this country understood that promoting the arts and anchoring them in copyright and the ability of creators to benefit from the fruits of their labor would create a system where arts and culture can flourish. The writers, actors, and creators who help bring movies and TV shows to life deserve to have their work and creativity protected, and throughout my time in the Congress I have been honored to work to advance our nation’s intellectual property laws into the 21st century. I thank the Motion Picture Association for this recognition and all those who contribute to and support the film and television industry.”
Dr. Sheinbaum has presided over record growth in audiovisual production in Mexico City, the second-largest city in Latin America, and embraced the industry during a global pandemic by digitizing and streamlining administrative procedures for filming in the capital region. Her leadership has encouraged a new “Golden Era” of Mexican filmmaking and storytelling that brings economic prosperity and job creation while raising Mexico City’s visibility as a regional production hub and global cultural destination.
“Mexico City is a thriving hub of creativity, freedom, and democracy,” said Sheinbaum. “It is a friendly and ideal place for the world’s cinematographic production. I am deeply grateful to the MPA for recognizing the great progress we have made to build a thriving film and TV industry that benefits everyone who lives, visits, and does business in the city that has it all.”
Featured photo: Motion Picture Association Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin presents director/writer/producer Gina Prince-Bythewood with the 2023 MPA Creator Award at the second-annual MPA Awards at the Motion Picture Association’s global headquarters in Washington, D.C., June 13, 2023. (Photo credit: Kris Tripplaar)