by Joel Snyder, Director, ACB's Audio Description Project

It's always a pleasure to acknowledge outstanding accomplishment and when it comes to audio description, I consider it a special honor.

ACB's Audio Description Project has been active for just under two years. It's a treat to acknowledge, for the second time, leaders in the field of audio description and young people who are avid users of audio description.

At this past summer's Audio Description Project (held in conjunction with ACB's conference and convention in Phoenix), we announced the winners of this year's awards.

Audio Description Achievement Awards are made to individuals for outstanding contributions to the establishment and/or continued development of significant audio description programs in each of three areas: media, performing arts, and museums. The Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award for Research and Development is made to an individual or organization for outstanding published research that leads to the advance of audio description.

The Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description was established as a tribute to the late Barry Levine, the highly respected moderator of the audio description listserv, administered by the Audio Description Project. This award recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to the field of audio description over an extended period of time, leading, inspiring or providing significant service to others.

The winners of the 2010 awards are:

Audio Description Achievement Awards

Media WGBH and the Media Access Group, Boston, MA

Performing Arts Paper Mill Playhouse, Milburn, NJ

Museums Smithsonian Institution and Beth Ziebarth, Washington, DC

International Bernd Benecke and Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany

Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Research and Development American Foundation for the Blind, New York, NY

Barry Levine Memorial Career Achievement Gregory Frazier and Audio Vision, San Francisco, CA (awarded posthumously to Gregory Frazier)

In addition, I want to highlight the winners of the 2010 Young Described Film Critic Awards, a "Listening Is Learning" initiative of the Council's Audio Description Project and the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP).

The premise of the Young Described Film Critic program is simple: kids love movies. If a young person can't see or can't see well, audio description provides access to all the visual images of the movies that their sighted peers enjoy. Description benefits children who are blind and others who have learning disabilities, and it has been shown to boost literacy for all children.

The Young Described Film Critic program asked young people who are blind or have low vision to submit short reviews of any described movie.

The winners of this year's honors are:

Junior Category, ages 11-14

Michael A. Taylor, N.Y., reviewed "Field of Dreams" 1st Place

Nick Zehner, Ill., reviewed "Notorious" 2nd Place

Leo Sandoval, Ill., reviewed "Goodfellas" 3rd Place

Senior Category, ages 15-18

Analis Dannen, S.D., reviewed "Spiderman" 1st Place

Deanna Whitehouse, Fla., reviewed "Nova: The Mummy Who Would Be King-The Saga of Pharaoh Ramses" 2nd Place

All Young Described Film Critic contest winners received special certificates. First-place winners were also presented with personal MP3 players.

Additional information about ACB's Audio Description Project is available at; more information about the Described and Captioned Media Program is at

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