NEW YORK – The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) honored two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, bestselling author, filmmaker and activist Sandra Lee with the "Made in NY" Award during the 2018 IFP Gotham Awards ceremony. Lee is best known for her 27 books, iconic lifestyle magazine and her food/lifestyle series "Semi-Homemade" which ran for 15 seasons and was filmed in New York City.
In 2015, Lee was diagnosed with early stage cancer and decided to document her journey. She allowed unrestricted camera access for the making of HBO's Documentary Short, Rx: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee. The film was shot on a single tiny hand-held camera primarily in New York City and chronicles her most private at home and hospital moments along with her unfiltered surgical procedures. Sandra's goal was to educate others in taking an active role in their own health care, to provide caregivers with insight and tools for day to day patient care and medical advocacy, and to influence lawmakers to pass legislation that provide no-cost insurance coverage and increased hours for screening accessibility.
"Sandra Lee is an outstanding New Yorker who has tirelessly committed herself to causes including child hunger and health advocacy," said Mayor de Blasio. "Her latest cause, cancer awareness, is one that affects us all, from the individuals diagnosed with the disease to those closest to them. Sandra's film is educating more New Yorkers about the importance of early detection and informed decision-making—and saving lives in the process."
"I feel honored and blessed to be given the 'Made in NY' award at this year's Gotham ceremony," said Sandra Lee. "New York City inspires me every day and is a gift to us all. I made my documentary short film to help anyone who is, has or will deal with a cancer diagnosis. My hope is that this recognition will fuel the flame of awareness for those diagnosed as well as their families so they may now have the tools and insights I did not."
"We are so pleased to honor Sandra Lee with the 'Made in NY' award this year and to salute her long, award-winning career in television and publishing as well as her brave new documentary," said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "A self-made success story and pioneering role model for women, Sandra is using her platform to educate and inspire future generations to take charge of their career and tell their stories."
Established in 2006, the "Made in NY" Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to New York City's entertainment industry over the course of their careers. On December 13, MOME will present New York Women in Film & Television Executive Director Terry Lawler with a "Made in NY" Award during their Annual Muse Awards for her visionary leadership and support of women's voices throughout the industry. Other "Made in NY" honorees include Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, Rachael Ray, Tina Fey, Spike Lee, John Leguizamo, Alysia Reiner, Michael K. Williams, and Judith Light.
The IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project) is the nation's premier organization of independent filmmakers and storytellers. The first awards show of the season, the IFP Gotham Awards is one of the leading honors for independent film and media, providing critical early recognition to groundbreaking independent films and their writers, directors, producers, and actors with ten competitive awards categories. The event also honors select film industry icons as tributes each year, with this year's recipients including Rachel Weisz (Actress), Willem Dafoe (Actor), Paul Greengrass (Director) and Jon Kamen (Industry).
About "Made in NY" Award Recipient Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee is a Gracie and multiple Emmy® Award-Winning activist, philanthropist, advocate and an internationally acclaimed home life expert. She has created and hosted numerous highly rated television programs airings in 63 countries worldwide. For two decades, Sandra has worked on causes close to her heart and been recognized with the President's Volunteer Service Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Medal of Honor, the Albert Einstein Award of Excellence, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
In spring of 2015, Sandra was diagnosed with early stage cancer and publicly documented her story. While going through the decision-making process to undergo aggressive treatment and the subsequent extensive complications, Sandra decided to allow unrestricted filming access. Her journey can be seen in the HBO Documentary Short Rx: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee.