By: Kate Michael
The power of media flexed its muscle — and handed out high fives — last Wednesday at the Mellon Auditorium as America Abroad Media held its sixth annual awards dinner. The annual event celebrates the power of the media to inform, educate and inspire, and recognizes a number of individuals for their work.
This year’s gala honored French filmmaker Bernard Henri Lévy and Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia, along with Egyptian writer and producer Wahid Hamed, and his son, director Marwan Hamed, for their commitment to purpose driven content.
“The thoughtful, insightful films and documentaries these individuals create sets an example for others and generates greater understanding that will lead to a more tolerant, stable, and peaceful world,” said Dr. Aaron Lobel, Founder and President of America Abroad Media. “
Among those in attendance for the black tie ball were event co-chairs General Michael V. Hayden, Former Chairman of MGM Studios and Paramount Pictures Frank Mancuso, Sr., and Former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
The night’s four honorees joined a distinguished group — to include H.R.H. Princess Rym Ali of Jordan, journalist and the founder of the Jordan Media Institute (JMI), award-winning directors Kathryn Bigelow and Paul Greengrass; and even Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and Saudi actor and comedian Nasser Al Qassabi — who have all received recognition from America Abroad Media at past award dinners.
In addition to honoring this year’s honorees, Lobel also surprised guests with the announcement of the launch of a new for-profit production company, Black Birch Productions, and spoke to the success of America Abroad Media’s Hollywood-Middle East Initiative, Screen Buzz, launched at last year’s awards.
Over the past year, Screen Buzz brought top Hollywood writers, directors, and producers to the Middle East to lead workshops with members of the local creative communities.