Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images; Danny Moloshok/Invision for Television Academy/AP Images

USC Viterbi Wins Emmy for ‘Lives, Not Grades’

The Emmys also recognized the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media with the Governors Award.

Daniel Druhora

The documentary “Lives, Not Grades” was named Best Independent Program at the 74th annual Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, held in July. The film, directed by Daniel Druhora, follows 36 students from seven different USC schools as they design, build and implement
sustainable solutions to improve the lives of refugees.

It is the first feature film produced by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of USC Viterbi, praised the film and the students’ work, saying, “We are incredibly proud of the students featured in
‘Lives, Not Grades’ and their efforts to make a difference in the lives of refugees. This film showcases the impact of an interdisciplinary engineering education and how our students are using their skills and knowledge to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

In addition, actor and advocate Geena Davis was honored with the Governors Award at the 2022 Primetime Emmy Awards in September for her work in promoting gender representation in the entertainment industry. The award recognized Davis’s leadership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which she founded in 2007 to research and advocate for more accurate and diverse representation of women in the media.

One of the institute’s major achievements is the development of the Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient, or GDIQ, a tool that uses artificial intelligence to analyze scripts and identify patterns of gender representation. The GDIQ was co-developed with Professor Shrikanth Narayanan and the Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory at USC Viterbi. The GDIQ has been used to analyze the scripts of popular films and television shows, revealing a significant underrepresentation of women and girls on screen. It also highlighted the prevalence of gender stereotypes and the lack of representation of women of color and other marginalized groups.

In her acceptance speech, Davis thanked the Television Academy, which produces the Emmy Awards, for the recognition of her work and that of the institute and emphasized the importance of representation in the media. “When we see ourselves represented on screen, we see what’s possible,” she said. “We see ourselves in positions of power and leadership, and we see stories that reflect our own experiences and perspectives.”

The Governors Award is a special Emmy Award given to individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to the television industry. Past recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Norman Lear, and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.