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Awards and Recognition: Distinguished Alumni Award 2010

Angelo Pizzo, BA'71, Political Science

Angelo PizzoIt’s been almost 25 years since the release of Hoosiers, the Oscar-nominated movie whose themes of perseverance and redemption spoke to even the most sports-weary film-goers. The longevity of the movie’s appeal and the subsequent success of Rudy in 1993 and The Games of Their Lives in 2005 are a testament to the talent and vision of Angelo Pizzo, whose words brought those stories to life.

Pizzo grew up in Bloomington and stayed here through his undergraduate career at IU, where he met Hoosiers director David Anspaugh, BS’70. He moved to the west coast to attend film school at the University of Southern California, then began his career as a writer and producer at Warner Brothers Television. He went on to work for Time Life Films, where he became vice president of feature film production, before striking out as an independent writer and producer. He recently completed a screenplay for Brickyard, a movie about the first Indianapolis 500 that will go into production next spring.

After 30 years in California, Pizzo moved back to Bloomington with his family. In addition to continuing his own writing, he has become involved in the Midwest arts community as a board member of Indiana-based Heartland Truly Moving Pictures and The New Harmony Project. Both organizations seek to counter the trend toward sensational and exploitative material in theater, film and television through the support of work that embodies the best of human values and characteristics.

Pizzo also is on the board of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

He has received numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate from Franklin College, the Thomas Hart Benton Award from IU and the Governor’s Arts Award. He also was named a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest civilian honor given to a resident of Indiana.