On June 5, 2006, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented the inaugural "Made in NY" awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to the City's entertainment industry at a ceremony at Gracie Mansion. Filmmaker Noah Baumbach, Actors' Fund of America Executive Director Joe Benincasa, actor Marcia Gay Harden, student filmmaker Kamaria Alvy Johnson, actor Jennifer Jason Leigh, Association of Independent Commercial Producers President / CEO Matthew Miller, and actor Tamara Tunie were honored during the ceremony as part of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting's "Made in NY" campaign, which recognizes and promotes entertainment production in New York City.
Filmmaker Noah Baumbach has written, directed and acted in numerous films and received a 2005 Academy Award nomination for the "Made in NY" film The Squid and The Whale, which he wrote and directed. He also won the Director's Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at the Sundance Film Festival and best original screenplay awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics and National Board of Review for the film. The Squid and The Whale also received three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture, and six Independent Spirit Award nominations, including Best Picture. Baumbach, who was raised in Brooklyn, also directed the Paramount Classics film, Margot at the Wedding in 2007.
Joseph Benincasa joined the The Actors' Fund of America in 1988 and currently serves as its Executive Director of since 1988. This national, nonprofit human service organization is headquartered in New York City and supports entertainment professionals. Benincasa oversees innovative programs, including comprehensive social services, health care services, employment and training, and affordable and supportive housing. He serves on the boards of directors of organizations including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, Career Transition for Dancers and the Times Square Alliance.
Actor Marcia Gay Harden has appeared in New York City films including Pollock, for which she received an Academy Award, Meet Joe Black, The First Wives Club, Mona Lisa Smile, and the New York television series "The Education of Max Bickford". Harden, who earned an MFA from the graduate theatre program at New York University, was featured on Broadway in God of Carnage, for which she won the Tony, Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America, which earned her a Tony nomination, a Drama Desk Award and a Theater World Award. She has also appeared in the New York Public Theatre's production of The Seagull.
Kamaria Alvy Johnson was a first year graduate student at Columbia University, where she studied film, when she received her award. Johnson had been a student of the Ghetto Film School, a non-profit organization based in the South Bronx and supported by the City's Department of Cultural Affairs, since the School's inception in June 2000. The School has taught film to hundreds of students, through hands-on production and cinema studies courses. In the spring of 2006, Johnson's public service announcement, "Thank You New York," was the winning entry in a program created by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting and Ghetto Film School, which challenged students to communicate the message of the City's attractiveness as a destination for film production and the benefits of the entertainment industry to the City. In "Thank You New York," residents discover that a film shooting in their community is employing their neighbors and contributing to our local economy.
Actor Jennifer Jason Leigh starred in Noah Baumbach's film, Margot at the Wedding, in 2007. She has also made her mark as a director, writer and producer in the upcoming film, Greenberg. She has appeared on the New York stage in Proof, Cabaret and Abigail's Party, a performance which earned her nominations including the Drama Desk Award for Best Actress and the Lucille Lortell Award for Best Actress. She has also appeared in the New York City film Last Exit to Brooklyn, for which she earned a New York Film Critics Circle Award, as well as Palindromes, In the Cut and Single White Female.
Matthew Miller is president and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, an organization whose members account for 80 to 85 percent of all nationally televised commercials in the United States. The Association supports its members by disseminating information, negotiating labor agreements, developing industry standards, providing professional development and marketing American production through the AICP Show, The Art & Technique of the American Commercial. Miller is a member of the board of directors of the Adcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University, serves on the advisory board of the Association of Film Commissions International, and is a trustee of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Producer/Cinematographers Guild of America's Accidental Death and Dismemberment Fund. Prior to joining AICP, Miller, a native New Yorker, was a director in the Member Services Department of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).
Actor Tamara Tunie stars in the New York City-based television shows "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", on which she plays Medical Examiner Dr. Melinda Warner. On "As the World Turns" she plays Jessica Griffin. A resident of Harlem, Tamara got her start in the City's theatre community, where she appeared in the Broadway musical Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, starred in David Merrick's revival of OH KAY!, and, after September 11, co-starred with Broadway veterans in the 20th anniversary concert of DREAMGIRLS. She has starred in Julius Caesar on Broadway with Denzel Washington. Her New York film credits include roles in The Devil's Advocate, Caveman's Valentine and City Hall, where she played a press secretary to a Mayor played by Al Pacino.