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Winkler, Kotz Cornejo to Be Honored for TV Storytelling

Henry Winkler accepts an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Photo/Lester Cohen/WireImage

Two Emersonians – alumnus Henry Winkler ’67 and Professor Cristina Kotz Cornejo – will receive American Spirit Awards, presented to “individuals who support, protect and promote the interests of storytellers” by The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors.

The American Spirit Awards will be presented Wednesday, May 29, in Los Angeles.

Actor, producer, and director Henry Winkler recently won a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role on HBO’s Barry. He will receive a Caucus Legend Award on May 29.

Winkler’s break-out TV role came in 1973, when he played Arthur “the Fonz” Fonzarelli on Happy Days. Since then, he’s made his mark behind the scenes as an executive producer or producer on TV series and specials, including MacGyver, Better Late Than Never, Mr. Sunshine, Sightings, and the ABC documentary Who Are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get 19 Kids?, which won a prestigious Humanitas Prize.

VMA Professor Cristina Kotz-Cornejo. File photo

Cristina Kotz Cornejo, associate chair of production in Emerson’s Visual and Media Arts Department, will be honored for Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers.

Raised in the United States and Argentina, Kotz Cornejo received an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

Kotz Cornejo’s debut feature, 3 Americas, was streamed on Netflix and distributed on DVD. Her short films have screened at festivals around the globe, and her documentary short, Jewel and the Catch, was selected by Outfest to be included in UCLA’s Film and TV Archive. Excerpts from the film can be seen in the opening credits of season 3 of Jill Soloway’s Amazon series, Transparent.


Other 2019 American Spirit Award winners include Emmy Award-winning TV broadcaster Larry King; Hildreth (Hal) Walker Jr. and Dr. Bettye Walker, founders of the A-MAN, Inc. STEM Center; and Chase Millsap, a Marine and Army Special forces veteran, documentary filmmaker, and chief content officer for a military-focused website.

For 40 years, The Caucus has given television talent an opportunity to network and voice the “creative conscience” of the industry, and continues to stand for more meaningful content across all platforms in an ever-changing television landscape. Through its Caucus Foundation, established in 2000, it has launched the careers of future entertainment professionals with completion grants to student productions.

Emerson College trustees Kevin Bright ’76, producer of Friends; and Vin Di Bona ’66, creator of America’s Funniest Home Videos, are Caucus members.



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