The 2020 Vilcek Foundation Prizes video series has been recognized by the 25th Annual Webby Awards. The series—comprising 11 videos highlighting the recipients of the 2020 Vilcek Foundation Prizes in Biomedical Science and in Literature—is a Diversity & Inclusion Honoree for Video Series & Channels.
Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the internet. IADAS, which nominates and selects The Webby Award Winners, includes internet, design, and media industry experts.
“As an organization that advocates for immigrants, the Vilcek Foundation has a responsibility to create programs and opportunities that center and amplify the voices of those whom we serve,” says Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel. “The 2020 Vilcek Foundation Prizes video series provided us with a platform to do so. To be honored by The Webby Awards for Diversity & Inclusion is a meaningful achievement for our team, and a testament to the exceptional standards that the Vilcek Foundation strives for.”
The 2020 Vilcek Foundation Prizes video series is a series of 11 videos that celebrate the recipients of the 2020 Vilcek Foundation Prizes in Biomedical Science and in Literature. Prizewinners featured in the video series include scientists Xiaowei Zhuang (b. China), Kivanç Birsoy (b. Turkey), Viviana Gradinaru (b. Romania), and Martin Jonikas (b. France); also authors Edwidge Danticat (b. Haiti), Yaa Gyasi (b. Ghana), and Valeria Luiselli (b. Mexico); and poet Jenny Xie (b. China).
The series includes three videos that contextualize the Vilcek Foundation Prizes program and introduce the recipients of the 2020 Prizes in Biomedical Science and in Literature. Each of the eight subsequent videos focuses on each individual prize recipient. In their own words, Xiaowei, Kivanç, Viviana, Martin, Edwidge, Yaa, Valeria, and Jenny narrate their own stories: They speak openly and sincerely about how immigration has shaped their life, their perspective, and their work.
“In all of our productions we seek to activate our foundation’s core mission: to recognize, honor, and celebrate the contributions of immigrants in the United States,” says Brian Cavanaugh, director of digital for the Vilcek Foundation. “The exceptional creative direction of the series allowed us to produce videos that are visually and narratively engaging, and that are authentic in their representation of our prizewinners’ stories and experiences. It’s a tremendous honor to have our work recognized by The Webby Awards, particularly for Diversity & Inclusion.”
The 11 videos are compelling, candid, and intimate. Each video in the series portrays the individual behind the achievements they are being recognized for. The dialogue is drawn from in-depth interviews conducted with the subjects; the video footage was recorded in subjects’ homes, workplaces, and communities; subjects share personal photos, journals, and mementos.
The 2020 Vilcek Foundation Prizes video series was executive produced by Rick Kinsel and Brian Cavanaugh; Senior Program Officer Shinnie Kim served as associate producer for the series. The 2020 campaign was produced by Smartypants Brooklyn; videos were directed by Joshua Seftel and Merete Mueller.