Danny Strong to be awarded university’s Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square

NEWPORT, R.I. – Emmy-winning screenwriter, producer and actor Danny Strong will be honored April 11 at Salve Regina University when he receives the second annual Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square, an award recognizing a contemporary storyteller whose work has had a significant impact on the public dialogue.

Strong -- whose screenwriting credits include Recount, Game Change, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Mockingjay, the two-part Hunger Games finale -- will also be the keynote speaker during the second Story in the Public Square conference, a partnership of Salve Regina’s Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The public is invited to attend.

“I am delighted to be receiving the 2014 Pell Center Prize,” Strong said. “I think it’s wonderful that Story in the Public Square recognizes storytelling that explores public policy and social justice. It’s never easy getting this kind of material produced, so honoring it is a public service of its own as it will hopefully lead to more films and TV shows that examine the pressing social issues facing our country today.”

“Danny Strong is a master storyteller whose work prompts us to more deeply examine our political system and society,” said Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center. “We are privileged—and frankly, thrilled—to welcome him to campus.”

Said Story in the Public Square director G. Wayne Miller, “Film has a unique power to place vital issues center stage in the public dialogue. On a personal level, one cannot watch Danny Strong’s movies and not reflect on inequality, racism, politics and other pressing themes of our time.”

Strong’s Game Change, the 2012 HBO production about the 2008 presidential election, won a Golden Globe, a primetime Emmy, a Writers Guild of America Award, and a Producers Guild of America Award. His 2008 HBO film Recount, about the 2000 presidential election, won a Primetime Emmy. Part I of the Mockingjay Hunger Games finale will be released this fall. Part II is currently in production. Strong recently signed to script the remake of Guys and Dolls.

Strong is also an accomplished Hollywood actor, having played roles in the TV series Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, Gilmore Girls and, early in his career, the character Jonathan Levinson in the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He also acted as a producer on many of his projects, including Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Game Change and Recount.

“Moving Images” is the theme of the April 11 conference. The day will include screenings and discussions by four local storytellers from the worlds of TV, animation, feature-length documentary filmmaking, and short documentary/video. The audience will have the chance to make short films of their own. The day concludes with an evening screening of Strong’s Game Change at the historic Jane Pickens theater in downtown Newport.

Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post writer, was the 2013 winner of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square at last year’s inaugural Story Day conference.

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy is a research center on the campus of Salve Regina University.  The center is named for the late Senator Claiborne Pell, statesman, creator of the Pell Grants, and father of the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. Pell lived in Newport.

Early registration for this year’s conference is recommended. Register through the link at  www.publicstory.org.  The $25 fee includes lunch and the evening screening at Jane Pickens Theater.

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The hashtag for the April 11 conference is #publicstory.