July 6, 2021
Hot Takes is an original, monthly, Telly Awards interview series featuring a chosen industry leader and expert presenting an unfiltered, unrehearsed response to a hot button topic within their field. What’s your Hot Take? Get in touch with our Senior Producer, Dina Graham at dina@tellyawards.com for the chance to be featured!


In 2018, Frances McDormand ended her impassioned acceptance speech The Academy Awards with two words…”inclusion rider,” a stipulation that actors and actresses can ask (or demand) to have inserted into their contracts, which would require a certain level of diversity among a film’s cast and crew. What came next was an onslaught of press surrounding the term, a term that suddenly became the number one google search term of the month. Following the awards, many actors, including Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan, came out in support of the rider, and studios around Hollywood began to appear on record claiming they would adopt it for their future projects, trending positive for diversity and inclusion in both casts and stories. However, in the years following the inclusion rider being catapulted to the limelight, both film and television struggle to keep equal representation when it comes to race, gender, sexual orientation, and more. If the rider was designed to increase diversity among casts and projects, one could ask…why hasn’t there been more progress?

The answer is accountability. Although the rider can stipulate studios and executives hire above a certain threshold of diversity, the measure of success for achieving such a threshold depends on actualized reporting of hiring statistics, a factor that was not originally required in the original rider. It also depends on the successful adoption of the inclusion rider beyond individual contracts. Now, three years after its public introduction, the inclusion rider has taken on a new form, a reimagined version of the stipulation that is meant to provide a template for companies to easily implement. Now that these changes and new tools are being made available to Hollywood executives, studios, and agencies, how exactly will this affect diversity, inclusion, and representation in the industry?

In this month’s episode of Hot Takes, we speak to Fanshen Cox, co-author of the original inclusion rider, about the uphill climb of cultural change in the industry, and how the rider is only the first step in achieving real change and impact. The road to equal representation does not depend only upon individuals demanding justice, but Hollywood actually delivering. The importance of diversity in an industry that quite literally shapes the way society views people and relationships cannot be understated. To achieve such change, Hollywood needs to put actions to its words and stories… in the form of truth, justice, and love.

Watch the episode below!


Fanshen Cox is an Award-winning playwright, actor, producer & educator.

In addition to being Producer and Development Executive at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s production company, Pearl Street Films, Fanshen facilitates workshops and delivers keynotes on using narrative in empathy-building, exploring historical context, and how the construction of race affects our closest relationships. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, and holds a BA in Spanish & Education, an MA in TESOL, and an MFA in TV, Film & Theatre. She has been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from CSULA and from Teachers College, Columbia University. Fanshen is a co-author of the Inclusion Rider which was announced at the 2018 Oscar awards by Frances McDormand and the co-creator and co-host of the Webby nominated podcast Sista Brunch-highlighting Black women striving in entertainment and media.

“When we think about telling truth, justice, and love in our stories, that can’t happen if the people making the decisions about what stories we see are limited in their perspectives. And they are.”

May 25, 2021

From The Tellys

Al Jazeera Media Network Named the 2021 Telly Company of the Year!

We are thrilled to announce that Al Jazeera Media Network has been named the 2021 Telly Company of the Year! Each year, this special honor recognizes the organization with the most success in the 42nd Annual Telly Awards competition, across Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Al Jazeera Media Network is the first non-U.S. company to win Telly Company of the Year, and reflects our commitment to honoring the global stories and creators. During a year marked by many changes, Al Jazeera Media Network has displayed great ingenuity to tell impactful and authentic stories from around the world. From pieces like A Day in Wuhan and Stricken Beirut, along with the About Cinema series, Al Jazeera Media Network’s work this season truly embodies the very best of creativity and quality across all screens.

Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera Arabic was the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate. In 2006, Al Jazeera Satellite Network was renamed to Al Jazeera Media Network

Congratulations again to the entire team!

October 19, 2020


A Refreshed People’s Telly Award!

Enter The People’s Telly categories. Be Shortlisted by the Judging Council. Have your work shared and voted on by the global public!


The People’s Telly Award is back with an exciting new update! All pieces entered in The People’s Telly categories will now first be shortlisted by The Telly Awards Judging Council before being placed on our rating platform for the public to vote! Work with the highest average rating will be awarded the Bronze, Silver, or Gold People’s Telly Award!

Learn more below about why you should enter The People’s Telly Awards this year:

1. Get More Eyes on Your Work

Entering The People’s Telly is the perfect way to have your work seen by an international community of video enthusiasts and industry leaders. When your work is placed on our rating platform it is viewed by everyone from leaders at top companies, to other creatives and storytellers (as well as your own networks). All work on the rating platform can be shared and amplified by you and with the support of The Telly Award community!

2. It’s Another Chance to Win

Winning a People’s Telly Award is another chance to win a Telly Award and prove that you make innovative video work and help signal to the rest of the industry that you are at the top of your field!

3. Be Shortlisted by Telly Judges + The Public

Most importantly, if your entries are shortlisted, they will have been given the thumbs up by both our Telly Judging Council, and the general public! This helps give your work even more credentials and more views!

Get ready to enter The People’s Telly Award for the 42nd Annual Telly Awards, and check out the rest of our categories for this season. 

March 17, 2020

From The Tellys

A Letter from our Managing Director (COVID-19)

The Telly Awards serves an international, inspiring, and committed community of creative professionals and companies—large and small. The overwhelming impact of COVID-19 on our industry is evident, wherever we find ourselves in the production cycle—from exhibitors to production companies, freelancers to studio executives. This is a new era for us all and we are all adapting to our new normal day-to-day. 

Like you, all of us here at The Telly Awards are closely monitoring the situation and responding to it with a continued clear mission of deciding to remain open for entries in service to The Telly community and our mission to continue honoring video and television industries across the globe. 

To this end and in close communication with many of you, while we will currently continue to maintain a professional service and  have decided to keep our current schedule (Extended Deadline April 3rd, 2020), we encourage you to reach out to me or our team directly should you need any assistance or extensions and we will work with you collaboratively to ensure this happens.

We fully appreciate how this may be affecting you, your company and your colleagues and we want to be able to work with you in ways that are helpful and respectful of all the work created, produced, and distributed prior to or because of the current situation we are working within.  

Our Telly Awards Judging Council also remains committed to their work and will continue to judge all current entries with little interruption, wherever they may be in the world. In fact, the judges are reviewing more work daily, due in large part to the new reality of working from home so many of us are now facing. 

Lastly but equally importantly, we also remain committed to being an ongoing resource to you and to that end, we will be updating this page (and our social media channels) regularly with new articles, insights and useful information that are pertinent to our industry. Do not hesitate to reach out with any useful resources you come across and we will share with the community at large.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me sabrina@tellyawards.com or our Producer Taylor Griffin Taylor@tellyawards.com and as always, our Customer Service team who are on hand to answer any questions at customerservice@tellyawards.com or (212) 675-3555 and follow us across social channels @tellyawards. 

Wishing you, your colleagues, and families all best wishes,

Sabrina Dridje

Managing Director

Ongoing list of resources / insights / inspiration:

  • Tribeca Film Festival releases a short film a day that can be viewed here
  • Deadline’s ongoing list of halted / delayed productions here.
  • NBC Universal releases new films on streaming services in light of cinema closures, read article here.
  • Our partners and friends at Storyhunter facilitate shoots all over the world by hiring local talent – a great resource for those of you needing to produce global content. 
  • From our entrants FJ in Amsterdam, top 3 ways they are adapting to remote productions.


October 22, 2018

From The Tellys

Gold Winner Story: National Geographic

A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner National Geographic

Claudia Malley, EVP Partner Solutions at National Geographic Partners

We sat down and chatted with the team behind Gold-winning series, Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories, a series of short form pieces documenting those whose ideas are changing the world. Be sure to find us at one our upcoming screening events to see the work on a big screen!

Where did the idea for “Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories” come from? Do you have a story that has particularly stuck with you?

The idea for Chasing Genius is rooted in consumer insight that tells us millennials believe they have the power to change the world—and at National Geographic, we believe this to be true.

The Chasing Genius campaign is anchored by immersive editorial storytelling that showcases everyday people who are chasing their inner genius, thus inspiring others to think differently, share ideas and, ultimately, take action.

In an effort to ignite our Chasing Genius community, we identified several stories of individuals creating true global impact and curated them to create a short-form, mini-documentary series. Featuring real stories of people that bring to life the essence of Chasing Genius, each of the stories demonstrated how the spark of an idea could become a force for change in the world and, in turn, activated thousands of individuals to unleash their own potential.  

One story that stands out in particular is that of Kathy Ku. While spending a summer in Uganda teaching, Kathy experienced first-hand one of the biggest problems facing Ugandan families today: access to clean drinking water. Our mini documentary, “Spouts of Hope,” chronicles her experience teaming up with a fellow Harvard student and devising a solution.

What have you found is the key to making successful online series at National Geographic?

Simplicity, authenticity, and relatability are at the core of Chasing Genius and these are the elements that have also paved the way for our online series to break through an oversaturated market. Fortunately, these characteristics are ingrained in our organization’s 130-year-old storytelling DNA.

What new elements are you hoping to experiment with in video in the year ahead?

In addition to including previous Chasing Genius winners in the videos we produce for next year’s challenge, we plan to leverage our learnings as the leading brand on social media to bolster our content with Instagram stories and “tap-umentaries.”

Congratulations on your Gold Telly win! What does this win mean for you and your team?

The recognition and acknowledgement of our industry means the world to us. It inspires us to continue leaning into the National Geographic brand and purpose to identify like-minded partners that will help us engage our communities and create real, global impact.

May 28, 2017

From The Tellys

New features for the 39th Annual Telly Awards!

A note from the Managing Director

Sabrina Dridje

The summer is drawing to a close and it’s been an exciting one for us here at the Tellys! July saw the rollout of the first of many new initiatives revitalizing the awards for the multi-screen era, including the launch of this new site. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out our new feature articles page to stay up to date on how our peers are creating, distributing and monetizing video and television. Our latest piece features eko COO Jim Spare, discussing all things interactive video and engagement.

We also spent the summer programming events, panels and dinners that brought you together to meet, exchange ideas and in some cases, collaborate. We are thrilled to count leading  voices from Vox Media, Hearst Digital Media and Great Big Story amongst those we were able to spend time with. If you will be in NYC on October 19th, please do join us for our panel at NAB NYC with experts from Mashable, The New York Times T Brand Studio and Content Agency, Juniper Jones.

Over these past months I also continued to meet a number of you and ask you how we could better support your work and enable you to promote your work with a bigger impact. The result is a slew of new Telly categories, partners, jurors, and events that we will announce shortly, as well as two key updates to the competition we are excited to share with you ahead of our season opening in October:

Gold Telly Award: That our highest marker for excellence has been represented by silver for 39 years is a quirk that’s entrenched in our nearly four-decade history. However, from meeting a number of you and understanding that an absence of Gold is a confusing signal to the market, we are excited to introduce a Gold Telly which will exclusively be awarded to the top 3% of winning entries.

Winners Announcement: All Telly entries are judged against their own merits which has historically allowed us to notify you of your standing once your work was seen by our Judging Council. After discussions with many of you, we’ve realized that not having one single announcement date hinders your ability to effectively promote your recognition. With that feedback in mind, we are moving to one Winners Announcement date.

 As always, I am here for all feedback, suggestions or simply a hello at sabrina@tellyawards.com and be sure to sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch – we have a number of exciting new announcements to come over the next weeks!


October 21, 2015

From The Tellys

Celebrate Your Clients and Team This Holiday Season!

Leaves are falling, the air is crisp. That means one thing: holiday season is quickly approaching!

As a Telly Winner and a creator of the industry’s best video work, there are a lot of people who contributed to your project’s success. Recognizing your team and clients for their hand in your achievement is an important way to show you appreciate their hard work and dedication to excellence. And this holiday season is the perfect time to honor those involved in your Telly win. So, we’re offering to send a customized Telly Statuette and Holiday Card on your behalf to your clients and team.

Available at our Telly Store, the Telly statuette is recognized across the industry as the symbol of video excellence, and is a thoughtful reminder of the boundary-pushing work you created.

Telly Holiday Packages include:  

  • A custom engraved Telly Award, packaged in a sleek, fitted box
  • A full-color holiday card with a personalized message from you
  • Limited edition Telly Award gift wrapping, for a personal touch
  • Guaranteed and fast delivery for the holiday season


Note: Order by November 16th to ensure deliverability by December 3rd.

Visit The Telly Store to learn more about our Holiday packages, and order one today! If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service Team at customerservice@tellyawards.com + (212) 675-3555