The Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s professional global honorary society, has named award-winning producer-screenwriter Gale Anne Hurd as the forthcoming recipient of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her valuable contributions to visual arts and filmed entertainment. The award will be presented at the 21st Annual VES Awards on February 15, 2023 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The VES Lifetime Achievement Award, bestowed by the VES Board of Directors, recognizes an individual and their outstanding body of work that has significantly contributed to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry. The VES will honor Hurd for her dedication to the industry and advancement of unforgettable storytelling through cutting edge visual effects. With credits that include The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Armageddon, as well as TV juggernaut The Walking Dead, Hurd has been instrumental in shaping popular culture for nearly four decades. And in the process, Hurd has revolutionized action cinema and delivered transformational depictions of women on screen.
“Gale Anne Hurd is one of the most respected and influential film and television producers of our generation,” said VES Chair Lisa Cooke. “By focusing on daring material, championing technological innovations and being the consummate hands-on collaborator, she has carved out a leading position in the previously male-dominated world of the blockbuster, and become a recognized creator of iconic cultural touchstones. Gale is a driving force in our global industry and an exemplary role model, and we are very honored to bestow her with the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Gale Anne Hurd is one of the entertainment industry’s most prolific and esteemed producers of Academy Award-winning films and Emmy Award-winning programs that shatter both box office and ratings records.
After rising from Roger Corman’s executive assistant to head of marketing at his company, New World Pictures, Hurd’s producing career took off when she Co-wrote and produced The Terminator. Her unprecedented success with the 1984 film was quickly followed by Aliens, which received seven nominations and two Academy Awards, and additional Academy Award-winning films such as The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Ghost and the Darkness, and Armageddon. Some of her additional feature credits include The Incredible Hulk, Æon Flux, The Punisher, Dick, a Watergate satire which starred Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, and The Waterdance, which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and the Audience and Screenplay Awards at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, both Armageddon (1998) and Terminator 2 (1991) were the number one films at the worldwide box office in their years of release. Hurd’s most recent feature, the documentary The YouTube Effect, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022.
When Hurd entered the television industry, she met similar success. Hurd’s record-breaking AMC program, The Walking Dead, twice honored by the American Film Institute as a “Top 10” TV program, is the first series in history to reign as the most watched television drama in the coveted 18 – 49-year-old demographic for six consecutive years, as well as the highest rated cable series on television for seven consecutive years. The Golden Globe nominated series has earned a cult-like following and is nearing its conclusion with Season 11. Hurd also serves as an Executive Producer of AMC’s companion series, Fear the Walking Dead, as a Consulting Producer on AMC’s top-rated talk show, Talking Dead, and as an Executive Producer on AMC’s latest series from the TWD Universe, Tales of the Walking Dead. These series air in more than 120 countries worldwide and continue to top the ratings charts throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
Hurd’s anthology series, Lore, based on the popular historical podcast of the same name, is currently streaming its first and second seasons on Amazon. Her recent Executive Producer credits also include two seasons of Falling Water for the USA Network and Hunters for Syfy.
In the non-fiction sphere, Hurd has produced three PBS documentaries, including True Whispers: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers and Choctaw Code Talkers. Her most recent critically acclaimed documentary for PBS, MANKILLER, examines the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, aired nationally on PBS in March 2018 for Women’s History Month.
Hurd’s distinguished career has been acknowledged by her peers. The Locarno Film Festival presented her with its Best Producer Award, honoring Hurd’s life’s work. In addition, Hurd was awarded the prestigious David O. Selznick Award for Achievement in Motion Pictures by the Producers Guild, has been inducted into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Previous winners of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award have included Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Dennis Muren, VES, Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, James Cameron, Ray Harryhausen, Stan Lee, Richard Edlund, VES, John Dykstra, Sir Ridley Scott, Ken Ralston, VES, Jon Favreau, Chris Meledandri, Lynwen Brennan, and Sir Peter Jackson.