2012 MPSE Filmmaker Award Recipient
Gale Anne Hurd
Gale Anne Hurd is one of the industry’s most respected and innovative film and television producers. Over the course of her career, Hurd has developed and produced films that routinely garner Academy Award® nominations, and TV programs that win Emmys® and shatter ratings records. By continually selecting daring material, championing technological innovations, and remaining hands-on in her approach, Hurd has carved out a leading position in the previously male-dominated world of the blockbuster, and become a recognized creator of iconic cultural touchstones.
Hurd is currently in production on the second season of AMC’s hit drama, The Walking Dead, which she developed and executive produced with filmmaker Frank Darabont. The series set new records as the highest rated basic cable drama series with the second season premiere shattering cable rating, with 11 million viewers tuning in on premiere night, with 4.8 million in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Receiving a series average viewership of more than 3.5 million viewers, The Walking Dead has become the most watched drama series in basic cable history, and launched internationally in over 120 countries in 33 different languages. The series is based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book of the same name by Image Comics, and follows a small group of survivors searching for safety after a zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead was recently renewed for a third season, and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Drama Series, a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best New Series, an Emmy Award for prosthetic makeup, and recognition as one of AFI’s Ten Best Television Programs of the Year.
Hurd is developing the feature films The Nameless with writer Chris Bullett, and Hellfest with CBS Films. Bullett’s The Nameless will focus on a US Marshal defending a compromised witness protection facility. Hellfest, a horror film set in a theme park on Halloween night, is written by William Penick and Chris Sey. Hurd is also actively developing with GK-tv a new television series for FX and Fox International Television, Port Royal, about cutthroat pirates, set in the infamous late 17th century Jamaica town, known as ‘the richest and wickedest city on earth.’ Along with New Franchise Media, Hurd is adapting Lord Jeffrey Archer’s The Eleventh Commandment for television.
Additionally, Hurd has created the comic book “The Scourge” for Aspen Comics, written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Eric Battle. The six issue mini-series follows a New York City police officer trying to save his son when the city becomes overrun by gargoyle creatures. Valhalla is currently developing a multitude of comic book properties with various publishers, including “Dead Man’s Run,” created by Greg Pak, one of the world's leading creators, for Aspen Comics. “Dead Man’s Run” is currently available and garnering overwhelmingly positive reviews.
After a successful rise from Roger Corman’s executive assistant to head of marketing, Hurd’s production career launched when she produced and co-wrote The Terminator. This success was quickly followed with Aliens, which received seven nominations and two Academy Awards®, and the Oscar®-winning films The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
At the helm of her production entity, Valhalla Entertainment, Hurd continually develops and produces a broad range of projects, including Marvel’s smash hit The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton. Hurd’s other recent films include the futuristic sci-fi thriller Aeon Flux; The Punisher and The Punisher: War Zone based on the classic Marvel comic; and The Hulk, directed by Academy Award® winner Ang Lee. Hurd also served as executive producer of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; the Academy Award® nominated Armageddon; Dante’s Peak; The Relic; the political comedy Dick; and the Academy Award® winning film The Ghost And The Darkness, amongst many others.
To pursue the development and production of low-budget, high-quality feature films, Hurd formed No Frills Films. The results were the critically acclaimed and award-winning films Tremors, Safe Passage, and the Spirit Award and Sundance Audience Award winning indie, The Waterdance.
Hurd has produced a number of distinguished TV movies, including HBO’s Emmy® nominated Sugartime, the Emmy® winning Cast a Deadly Spell, The Wronged Man starring Emmy® winner Julia Ormond, Witch Hunt directed by Paul Schrader and the documentaries True Whispers: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers and Choctaw Code Talkers. She also executive produced the action series Adventure Inc, starring Michael Bienn from The Terminator and Aliens. Hurd produced the film Alien Nation, which was adapted into an acclaimed Fox TV series. Hurd recently produced Last Man Standing, an original Lifetime movie with Catherine Bell (Army Wives), Anthony Michael Hall, and Mekhi Phifer. The film stars Bell as a suburban housewife who has to rely on her secret special-ops training after her husband is kidnapped.
Hurd serves on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors, as a Vice-Chair of the Producers Guild of America and co-chairs the PGA’s Produced By Conference. She chairs the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Committee at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, serves as Vice Chair on the Executive Committee of the Producers Branch and is a member of the Film Festival Grants Committee. An avid scuba diver, Hurd serves on the Advisory Boards of Heal the Bay and Reef Check. Hurd also serves on the Advisory Board for Artists for Peace and Justice and the Old Pasadena Management District Board. She was honored by Global Green USA with the Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award, the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology, the Crystal Award from Women in Film, the New York Women in Film & Television’s Loreen Arbus Award, and the PGA’s Charles Fitzsimons Award for her service to the Guild. An avowed foodie, Hurd owns the popular Los Angeles area restaurant, Vertical Wine Bistro, whose chef, Laurent Quenioux, was a semi-finalist for this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards.