2016 Awards Dinner
The Power of Film honors outstanding leaders whose work in film and television exemplifies the power of media to educate audiences around the world about critical global issues.
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AAM commends Showtime's Emmy award-winning series Homeland for its willingness to examine difficult national security issues, explore the tough decisions and tradeoffs facing our top policymakers, and help foster a better understanding of the most pressing national security challenges of our time.
Homeland is an edge-of-your-seat sensation. CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is tops in her field despite being bipolar, which makes her volatile and unpredictable. With the help of her long-time mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Carrie fearlessly risks everything, including her personal well-being and even sanity, at every turn. You won't be able to turn away from this gripping, emotional thriller in which nothing short of the fate of our nation is at stake. Season 5 picks up two years after Carrie Mathison's ill-fated tenure as Islamabad station chief. Struggling to reconcile her guilt and disillusionment with years of working on the front lines in the "war on terror," Carrie finds herself in self-imposed exile in Berlin, estranged from the CIA and working as the head of security for a German philanthropist.
Nasser Qassim Al Qasabi is a well-known Saudi TV actor and comedian. He began his acting career in 1984 and is widely recognized for his various roles in the series No Big Deal. In 2012, Nasser became one of the three judges on the television series, Arabs Got Talent. Al Qasabi is also one of the Arab world's best-loved TV satirists. In 2015, his anti-ISIS Ramadan comedy series Selfie topped ratings region-wide via the pan-Arab MBC network — and won praise from Arab thought leaders for eroding support for ISIS by mocking it. Since Selfie’s airing, Al Qasabi has received numerous death threats from ISIS on social media. Several Saudi clerics have also denounced the show as heresy for mocking the country’s religious establishment.
TOLO TV will be the recipient of AAM’s 2016 Partner Award, which recognizes a special partner who has worked with AAM over the years on unique programming and who has played a significant role in furthering AAM’s mission and values in a key country where the approach is in high demand. This award comes at a particularly poignant time for TOLO TV following a January 2016 Taliban-sponsored suicide bombing in Kabul, wounding and killing several of its staff members.
TOLO TV Afghanistan, part of MOBY GROUP, has advanced the values of independent media and pluralism in Afghanistan for over a decade. TOLO TV is the leading general entertainment channel in Afghanistan with 59% market share and peak audiences of 13 million. It is consistently innovative with its diverse slate of programming, from general entertainment to news and current affairs. TOLO TV shows are made locally or acquired globally and all are transmitted in Dari.
MOBY Group is one of the leading integrated media and communications groups across South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Owning and operating over 17 businesses the group's activities span television, digital, content production, radio, sports and strategic communications. With a reputation for innovative and ground breaking content, Moby's award winning programming has received accolades from the Sundance Film Festival, Reporters without Borders, Fondation de France and the Seoul International Drama Awards.
U.S. Representative Ed Royce serves California's 39th Congressional District, which encompasses parts of Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties. For the 114th Congress, Royce was selected to be Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he has held that position since January 2013. Royce is one of our nation's premier representatives to foreign governments around the world, and is a strong advocate of a foreign policy that keeps the American homeland safe. Immediately prior to becoming Chairman of the Committee, Royce served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
Congressman Eliot Engel represents New York’s 16th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, which includes parts of Westchester and the Bronx. He is currently in his 27th year as a member of Congress and since 2013 has served as the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, making him the top Democrat on the committee. He also serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee including the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
Steven Joel Sotloff was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, the son of Arthur and Shirley Sotloff. Upon graduation from New Hampshire’s Kimball Union Academy, Steven pursued his passion for journalism at the University of Central Florida before transitioning to the Middle East where he earned a degree cum laude, in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security from the Interdisciplinary Center.
While working for ABC News affiliates in Israel and Jordan, Steven’s career took off with his coverage of the Arab Spring in 2000. His excellent reporting was featured on numerous news outlets, including TIME, Foreign Policy, The Media Line, Christian Science Monitor, CNN and FOX. Steven traveled the region, visiting Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Bahrain and Libya, while reporting on Mu’amar Qhaddai, Al-Qa’ida, Bashar Al-Assad, Bengazi and other key flashpoints.
On August 4, 2013, while crossing from Turkey into Syria, Steven was kidnapped, along with several others, by terrorists from the Islamic State (ISIS). During the long months until proof of life was finally provided, family, friends, and colleagues worked feverously for Steven’s release and to prevent his dual US – Israeli citizenship from becoming public knowledge. Tragically, on September 2, 2014, Steven was savagely murdered by ISIS, with his killing videotaped and broadcast worldwide. Following his death, Felice Friedson, his mentor at The Media Line, the agency for which he wrote most of his last articles, called Steven, “One of the most courageous, talented, and insightful journalists that [she] has ever met.”
Steven’s mother, Shirley Sotloff, and Felice Friedson will accept the award in his honor.