Legendary founder of Carolines on Broadway & celebrated documentary filmmaker and disability rights advocate are honored for their contributions to NYC's creative community
New York, NY, December 4, 2019 – The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment presents 2019 "Made in NY" Awards to Caroline Hirsch, the founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway and the New York Comedy Festival; and Jason DaSilva, the Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and disability rights advocate.
Established in 2006, the Made in NY recognize the achievements of people and organizations that have made significant contributions to the city's entertainment and digital media industries over the course of their careers.
Ms. Hirsch will be honored at the MUSE Awards luncheon on December 10. Mr. DaSilva received his accolade at the IFP Gotham Awards on December 2.
"We are proud to confer Made in NY Awards on two distinguished New Yorkers who represent the broad diversity of our creative community and have done so much in their respective fields to advance the city's reputation as a global capital of media and entertainment," said the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. "Caroline Hirsch set the stage for some of the most notable comedians in film and television today. Jason DaSilva continues to show us the power of media in advancing a more inclusive society."
"I am honored and humbled to receive the 'Made in NY' Award from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment," said Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway and the New York Comedy Festival. "I've been doing business in this great city for more than 35 years — from running my comedy club and producing the comedy festival to launching a production company to produce film and television projects — and to be recognized by the Mayor's Office for my contributions to the arts and culture in New York City is a tremendous privilege and something I will always treasure."
Caroline Hirsch is a successful entrepreneur, producer and innovator in the entertainment industry. She is the owner of Carolines on Broadway, the iconic New York comedy venue, which has been in business for more than 35 years; she founded and produces the annual New York Comedy Festival, which just wrapped its 16th year. In the early 1990s, she produced Too Hot Tamales for the Food Network and Carolines Comedy Hour for A&E, which won a Cable ACE Award for Best Stand-Up Comedy Series.
In 2006, Caroline launched Stand Up for Heroes as part of the NYCF, a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which supports wounded military veterans and their families and has raised $56 million. In 2017, she launched a production company, Carolines Entertainment, executive producing several film projects. In 2019, the NYCF and The Female Quotient, a company dedicated to achieving workplace equality, created a pop-up activation to the festival that included conversations featuring a diverse group of panelists, from comedic talent to media executives, that focused on diversity and equality in the workspace.
"Thank you Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, and Commissioner del Castillo for this great honor," Jason DaSilva said. "Receiving a 'Made in NY' award confirms that I am headed in the right direction and I am grateful to be supported by the industry and New York City, the only place where I can get the 24/7 care I need while pursuing my filmmaking career."
Award-winning independent filmmaker Jason DaSilva has made several films over the past 15 years, including the celebrated feature When I Walk, that chronicles his struggle with multiple sclerosis in order to raise awareness about the progression and challenges of the disease.
He has directed four short films (Olivia's Puzzle, A Song For Daniel, Twins of Mankala, First Steps) and two feature length-documentary films (Lest We Forget and When I Walk). Olivia's Puzzle premiered at the 2003 Sundance Festival, while three of his films have had national broadcasts on PBS, HBO, and CBC. When I Walk won a 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Programming, was an Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Canadian Feature at Hot Docs 2013.
In 2014, Jason won three awards: AAPD Mobility Magazine's Person of the Year, the Paul E. Hearn Leadership Award, and the Christopher Award for Excellence in Film. In 2019, Jason released When We Walk, garnering awards while continuing his mission to tell the stories of people with disabilities through film story telling. Currently he is working on a new feature film When They Walk and on AXS Map, a website and accessibility database to find disability-friendly places around the world.
Last year's "Made in NY" recipients, who were also awarded as part of the IFP Gotham Awards and the Muse Awards, were Sandra Lee and Terry Lawler, respectively.