The Friends of The Ross are pleased to be honoring Laurie Richards with the Mary Riepma Ross Award in recognition of her invaluable contributions to the arts and cinema in Nebraska. Named in honor of the theater’s principal benefactor, the Mary Riepma Ross Award pays tribute those whose roots or artistic concerns are grounded in the Great Plains region and culture, and whose life and work has contributed significantly to the art of cinema and our state. Previous winners include Mary Riepma Ross, Sandy Dennis, Joan Micklin Silver, Peter Fonda, James Coburn, Alexander Payne, John Beasley, Norman Geske, Michael Hill, June Levine, Lew Hunter, Frank Blythe, Judy and Hal Hoppe, Lucy Comine Buntain, and Danny Ladely.

Laurie has been involved in promoting the state to the movie and entertainment industry for 20 years as the Nebraska Film Officer (NFO) and as an independent film producer for 10 years.  During her tenure as NFO she has been instrumental in the development and promotion of over 65 feature and independent movies in Nebraska.

In addition, Laurie has worked on the development of major national commercial productions in Nebraska for corporations. She serves on the boards of many local and state wide non-profit organizations and is actively engaged with The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, Filmstreams and Nebraska Independent Film Projects.  Laurie provided the key research and information for legislation that resulted in the creation of LB840, a local film incentive. Laurie has assisted in the creation of the Nebraska Film Association, (NFA) an organization devoted to film industry networking and development.  Laurie works extensively with writers and producers on identifying locations in the state.  She has developed and maintains a searchable database on the NFO web site current for producers who are looking for local crew and services.  Richards also has developed and implemented marketing campaigns for the NFO and posts timely and informative entries on the NFO Facebook page and the NFA Facebook page.

A celebratory evening, featuring a performance by jazz singer Jackie Allen, is scheduled for Saturday evening, August 26 at 6pm, at the Van Brunt Visitors Center on UNLs campus. Details and tickets can be found at

This program is presented by the Mary Riepma Ross Theater and the Friends of the Ross and all proceeds will support the Norman Geske Cinema Showcase which brings directors, producers, actors and others involved in cinema and video to Nebraska to make personal appearances on the opening nights of their movies, and meet with LPS and UNL students, and other special interest groups.

The Mary Riepma Ross Theater shows innovative American independent work including non-narrative, experimental films and video; classic foreign and American cinema illustrative of traditional and historical perspectives; documentaries which examine a wide variety of issues of concern; and contemporary foreign cinema of substance. Shows also include special programming efforts like the MET Opera Live in HD, which increases the Ross’s educational and cultural reach into the community at large.

The Mary Riepma Ross Theater invites you to become a Friends of the Ross Member. In addition to supporting one of Lincoln, NE’s most treasured assets, as a member you receive complimentary tickets, reduced admission to films, and invitations to special events. Visit for details.