The North Fork TV Festival will be presenting this year’s Canopy Award to Law & Order and FBI star Jeremy Sisto. A formal ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 17 as part of the Festival’s exclusive drive-in event at the Castello di Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue. The actor shared some thoughts about the industry, being honored by the Festival and more during an exclusive interview with Hamptons.com.
When asked how it all began and who were two influential players in his career, Sisto revealed, “Probably the two most influential in my career are [Grand Canyon producer] Larry Kasdan who gave me my first job and is perhaps the reason I became a professional actor. At 16, he kind of plucked me out of thousands of videos across the country and, for whatever reason, picked me for a role based on his son in the movie Grand Canyon. The second one has to be [Six Feet Under creator] Alan Ball who wrote and transitioned me from a child actor to an adult actor – and also gave me the opportunity to feel flexibility and confidence in challenging scenes as an actor.”
When asked about the future of scripted television, the actor said, “I don’t have a masters in this, but I would say that its changed a lot obviously over the last decade. There is so much more out of the box content that it’s definitely taken on some of the space independent film occupied from the 70’s throughout the 90’s. It’s occupied a place where filmmakers, storytellers can try things that take risks. I don’t understand exactly the finances behind it all, but I am always and have been surprised time and again that certain projects have been financed and produced by networks – not because I didn’t think they were viable, but because I thought they were really cool and interesting, strange and something that you just never imagine would be made for TV 20/30 years ago.”
He continued, “So, I am hoping that network TV, which is the game I am in right now, sticks around. I don’t understand exactly how it all works with the advertisers, but I know the show I am on [FBI] is still doing 22 episodes a year and that makes for a more consistent life for me and my family, which I am very grateful for. There does seem to be less of those opportunities around. I believe doing a streaming series with only six to seven episodes a season is a more challenging prospect, but creatively, it definitely offers a lot of opportunity.”
Sisto has found himself spending a lot more time with his family because of the pandemic, which he has profoundly enjoyed. He noted that of course there have been moments of stress, but on the whole, he is grateful for the opportunity to see his 8-year-old and 11-year-old develop on a day to day basis.
About receiving the 2020 Canopy Award, he expressed, “I am honored to be acknowledged, I love what the North Fork TV Festival is about. I believe independent television will give filmmakers an opportunity to create outside the box. Also, since I live in L.A. and work in New York City, I am looking forward to going out to Greenport with my family, we have never been to the East End and are very excited.”
Festival Founder Noah Doyle said, “We are truly grateful for Jeremy Sisto’s extraordinary contributions to the entertainment community. It is an honor to present him with the Canopy Award and recognize his enthusiasm for the future of independent scripted television.”
The Canopy Award pays tribute to a member of the New York television community. Kelsey Grammer was last year’s recipient. The ceremony on Saturday, October 17 will feature a conversation between the actor and News 12’s Elisa DiStefano with an audience Q&A to follow.
Parking opens at 5:30 p.m., food goes on sale at 6:00 p.m. and the program, which will feature screenings of Slayed by Divya, Freeze and Superuser Do, starts at 7:00 p.m.
Castello di Borghese Vineyard is located at 17150 County Road 48 in Cutchogue. To learn more, visit www.northfork.tv.