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July 2014
Issue: March 1, 2007

A.C.E.'S ROBERT WISE AWARD WINNER: STEVE COHEN

"I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to receive this award. It’s a milestone for me, of course, but I’ve been thinking about it, and maybe in some sense it also represents a watershed for all of us.

"I see so many familiar faces here tonight: people who were there at the beginning of the digital revolution, when we were still using scotch tape and paperclips. Tonight, we know that most of us not only made it through that crazy time, but prospered. 

"One of the rules of my cutting room has always been that nobody knows everything — there are no stupid questions. We all learned from each other, sorting this out together, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.

"In the early years we saw the tools of our trade replaced — but now we’re facing a world where the very materials we work with are being replaced as well, where the whole workflow, all the way from camera to screen, will soon be nothing but zeros and ones. The only thing that will remain the same will be those flickering images that bring people together to share a story.

"This new phase of the revolution will be based on inexpensive, desktop applications, and internet-based production and distribution. We’re going to work on new kinds of shows, our cutting rooms will be more portable, and we’ll face increasing competition.

"Looking back, it seems to me that we did a lot of things right in the ’90s. In particular, we emphasized education and community support. Today, we once again have to put our heads together and figure out the best way to shape this phase of the revolution so it works for us. We need a renewed focus on education, and we need to do our best to predict the future so we can prepare for it. It’ll be disruptive — and exciting — but frankly, I’m not worried. We did it once — and we’re wiser now. I know we can do it again.

"I share this award with all of you — we came through this together and as long as we support each other nothing can stop us."