Public television leader recognized for significant contributions to the industry
Steven J. Schupak, Maryland Public Television (MPT) executive vice president and station manager, accepted the prestigious Mendez Award from the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown during a March 23 ceremony opening the 11th annual event.
“The Mendez Award is awarded to someone who has succeeded and made a positive impact in the television and film industry, or has supported film and television and has given back to the community,” explained Film Festival Board of Directors President Nicole Houser. “Steven Schupak is an extremely well-known and appreciated television professional. He gives back to the community in numerous ways, and is also being recognized for his support of the arts, and for his support of high-quality television production and filmmaking.”
The first official Mendez Award was named for, and was awarded in 2013 to, Antonio “Tony” Mendez, CIA Master of Disguise, founder of the Spy Museum, and award-winning author and painter. Previous recipients also include film director and producer Joe Carnahan, best-selling author Nora Roberts, actor Amir Arison, actresses Ann Mahoney and Kerry Cahill, and former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
“It’s humbling to review the list of prior award recipients and to now be included among them,” said Schupak while accepting the award. “Their talent, leadership, and dedication to the arts – especially their contributions to film and television – make membership in the Mendez Award alumni group very special.”
During Schupak’s 20-plus year tenure at MPT, the statewide public television network has earned numerous television industry honors for productions including Star-Spangled Spectacular: The Bicentennial of our National Anthem and its long-running series MotorWeek, plus the two-part documentary Music of Ireland, Potomac by Air, annual Chesapeake Bay Week® programming, and popular series Maryland Farm & Harvest.
Among MPT’s regional Emmy® Awards are the 2017 Overall Excellence award, and a pair of Community Service awards, presented both in 2017 in recognition of its multi-year MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans initiative and in 2018 for its Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road to Recovery documentary. Schupak arranged to have the one-hour Breaking Heroin’s Grip simulcast on 38 TV and radio stations throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. to help move individuals with substance abuse disorders to seek assistance. This effort led Schupak to establish the successful Maryland State Ad Agency at MPT, which has brought awareness to issues including the dangers of opioids, problem gambling, COVID-19, and the 2020 U.S. Census.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter inducted Schupak into its Silver Circle in 2020. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the broadcast or cable industry for 25 years or more.
Schupak is an alumnus of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University where he earned a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in film and television. He also holds a master’s degree in marketing from the Graduate School of Management & Technology at the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2019, the highest alumni award bestowed by UMGC.
He is member of the board of directors of Olney Theatre Center and a 2019 graduate of Leadership Maryland. Schupak resides in Potomac, Maryland, with his family.
For more information about the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown, visit marylandiff.org.
About Maryland Public Television
Maryland Public Television (MPT) is a statewide, public-supported TV network and Public Broadcasting Service member offering entertaining, educational, and inspiring content delivered by traditional broadcasting and streaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices. A state agency, it operates under the auspices of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission. MPT creates and distributes local, regional, and national content and is a frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards. MPT’s commitment to educators, parents, caregivers, and learners of all ages is delivered through instructional events and Thinkport.org. MPT’s year-round community engagement activities connect viewers with resources on a wide range of topics. For more information visit mpt.org.