Columbia University alumni Michael Lynne and Bob Shaye, two of the nation's leading film producers, were named by Variety this week as "Showmen of the Year," the magazine's highest honor. Lynne and Shaye, co-chairmen and co-CEOs of New Line Cinema, also were honored this week by Columbia's School of the Arts (SOA) for their long-standing contributions to the University's Film Festival and for their generous mentoring of the next generation of young filmmakers.
"Showman of the Year" is awarded annually to those who have most distinguished themselves and show business in general in the global media and entertainment industry. On the occasion of Lynne's and Shaye's special recognition, the School of the Arts has created an award in their name to support an outstanding film student. The dual honor befits these pioneers, whose company has produced such films as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Player, Se7en and Dumb and Dumber, among others.
"Mike and Bob have shared their immense talents with audiences around the world through their mainstream hits as well as their 'cooler' indie projects," said Bruce W. Ferguson , dean of the School of the Arts. "Moreover, they have not forgotten their roots at Columbia University -- they continually support our programs through funding, as well as through the devotion of their time. We are particularly grateful for Mike's involvement on the Dean's Council these past five years."
Lynne and Shaye both graduated in 1964 from Columbia Law School, where they were classmates.
Philip Johnston, of SOA's Film Division, was named the first recipient of The Michael Lynne/Bob Shaye Fellowship. Johnston will use the $5,000 grant toward his film Flightless Birds, a comedy shot on location in western South Dakota that is now in post-production. He also is a recent recipient of the Dean's Fellowship, the School's most prestigious award.
In a letter to Lynne and Shaye, Johnston wrote, "I hope you take a measure of pride in knowing that [this] support will continue to help young filmmakers define themselves, both as artists and as human beings."