Jim Henson Co. Honors Rowling, Gorillaz

The Jim Henson Co., a producer of animation, visual effects, puppetry and live-action productions for film and television, has announces the recipients of the first annual Jim Henson Honors. Among the inaugural honorees are Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling and the animated virtual pop band Gorillaz.

Jim Henson Co. staff members were asked to nominate individuals, organizations or products that inspire them in their everyday work, maintain similar core values as the company and reflect Jim Henson’s commitment to excellence in creativity and innovation. The top award goes to Rowling, who receives the Jim Henson Celebration Honor ‘for her imagination and originality in creating the fantastical world of Harry Potter, and for the amazing impact these books have had around the world.’

Gorillaz receive the The Jim Henson Creativity Honor, a kudo reserved for a new creative voice or unique expression of an idea. The animated rock group established by Damon Albarn of the band Blur was selected for this honor for the revolutionary way the band was created, as well as the innovative expression of their music.

The other recipients announced Wednesday by company co-CEOs Brian Henson and Lisa Henson are Bill Haber, a member of the board of directors for Save the Children (The Jim Henson Community Honor), and Toyota’s Prius, a gas-electric hybrid automobile (The Jim Henson Technology Honor).

Brian Henson comments, “It is with great respect that we recognize these honorees for their commitment to excellence and their unique creative expression. In regards to JK Rowling receiving the highest honor, he adds, “By encouraging audiences of all ages to rediscover the magic of books and reading, Ms. Rowling has truly made this world a better place.”

“The diversity and accomplishment of the recipients exemplifies what we believe; that there can be inspiration and fun in everything around us’in our books and music, but also in our cars, communities and our environment,” adds Lisa Henson. “My father saw the joy that comes from embracing all kinds of creativity and we are thrilled to continue that legacy.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, The Jim Henson Co. is best known as the birthplace of the world famous Muppets franchise, which is now owned by The Walt Disney Co. Henson still produces Muppet titles with Disney, including the recently aired ABC special, The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. Other recent Henson productions include the Saturn Award-winning miniseries Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars and the features Five Children and It and MirrorMask. The feature film division is now developing a slate of animated productions. More information on the company can be found on the web at www.henson.com.