Special Recognition Awards Presented to Lucía Méndez and Filmmakers Geoff Callan and Mike Shaw
February 27, 2009, Los Angeles, CA – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced today that Chad Allen will receive the Davidson/Valentini Award and comedian Chelsea Handler will host the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented by IBM in San Francisco. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives and will be held in San Francisco on May 9, 2009 at the Hilton San Francisco.
Guests and presenters scheduled to attend the San Francisco event include: Suze Orman, Jason Lewis (Sex & The City, Brothers & Sisters); Michelle Clunie (Queer As Folk); Jane Lynch (Best in Show, The L Word); Wilson Cruz(He's Just Not That Into You, My So-Called Life); and GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. More names to be announced. Musical performances will include violinist Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, as well as openly gay singer Matt Alber.
In 2008, Chad Allen produced and starred in the film Save Me which offered audiences a look into the world of so-called "ex gay" ministries. The film is nominated for Outstanding Film – Limited Release at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Allen also starred in the Donald Strachey Mystery series produced for here! television. Two of the films in the series, Ice Blues and On the Other Hand, Death, are nominated for Outstanding Television Movie at the GLAAD Media Awards this year. As an openly gay actor, Allen has demonstrated a commitment to bringing fair, accurate and inclusive images of the LGBT community to films and television and has advocated for marriage equality in interviews with media outlets including Larry King Live. The Davidson/Valentini Award is named after Craig Davidson, GLAAD's first executive director, and his partner Michael Valentini. The award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community. Previous recipients include Ilene Chaiken, Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, Alec Mapa, Robert Gant, B.D. Wong, and Sandra Bernhard.
A Special Recognition award will be presented to Mexican actress and singer Lucía Méndez who in 2008 participated in a multi-city tour to educate people about the suicide rate among LGBT youth and appeared on top rated Spanish-language talk shows to discuss the issue including El Show de Cristina, Ventaneando América, Escandalo TV, El Gordo y la Flaca and Al Rojo Vivo. Méndez has starred in numerous top-rated Spanish-language movies and TV shows and has recorded over twenty five albums with many reaching gold and platinum status.
Geoff Callan and Mike Shaw, filmmakers behind the documentary Pursuit of Equality, will also receive a Special Recognition award at the event. Their film offers an insider view of the historic decision by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in 2004. Geoff Callan, director and producer, is a fifth generation San Franciscan who has appeared in such films as Pursuit of Happyness and Zodiac. Director and editor Mike Shaw is a native of San Francisco and received ABC 7's Profile of Excellence Award in 2002. In 2008, the pair brought Pursuit of Equality to audiences across California via special screenings and festivals to fight the anti-gay Proposition 8. Callan and Shaw received the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the San Francisco Film Festival and the Best of Fest at the Palm Springs International Festival, among other accolades.
In January, GLAAD announced 125 nominees in 26 English-language categories, and 60 Spanish-language nominees in 15 categories. A complete list of this year's 185 nominees is available atwww.glaad.org/mediaawards. This year, more than 5,000 people will attend the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and South Florida, raising more than $3.5 million for the organization's work.
More than 100 corporate sponsors are showing their support, including National Presenting Partner IBM and Local Presenting Partners ABSOLUT® VODKA and Prudential. GLAAD is also grateful to the event's Platinum Underwriters Bud Light, Comcast, TimeWarner and the University of Phoenix. Allstate Insurance Company, American Airlines, Barefoot Wines, Disney/ABC, HMS Media, the Herb Ritts Foundation, Marriott New York Marquis, Renaissance New York Hotel, MillerCoors, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, Southwest Airlines, The Terry K. Watanabe Charitable Trust and Wyndham Worldwide support the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards as Underwriter Sponsors.
General tickets for the San Francisco event are $300 and VIP tickets begin at $400. For a full list of corporate sponsors or information on how to become a corporate sponsor, purchase tickets or a tribute journal ad, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards or contact Stamp Event Management at (877) 519-7904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.