Lewiston native Josh Church wins Emmy Award for Shandling project

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Joshua Church’s career has soared since his days as senior class president for Lewiston High School’s Class of 1996.

That career reached a new peak last weekend in Los Angeles when Church won his first Emmy Award for his work as a supervising producer on the HBO special “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.”

The show won for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, held last weekend in conjunction with the upcoming Primetime Emmy Awards. 

The Creative Arts Emmy Awards recognize outstanding artistic and technical achievement in a variety of television program genres.

“The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling” was a two-part, 4½-hour documentary on the life of Shandling, which debuted on HBO in March. Shandling, a comedian best known for  “It’s The Garry Shandling Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” died of a heart attack in 2016.

The documentary beat out an HBO special on Stephen Spielberg, a Mr. Rogers documentary on PBS and two Netflix programs.

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Church, head of development and production for Apatow Productions, could not be reached for comment.

Judd Apatow, Church’s boss, served as producer and director of the Shandling documentary, which he called a labor of love about his mentor and friend.

“I miss him every day,” Apatow said backstage after winning the Emmy. “He was the person I would turn to when things happened, when I had questions or problems.”

Church first teamed with Apatow when Church began as a production assistant on the television series “Undeclared.” Apatow was the series’ creator and executive producer.

Church’s first producer credit came in 2006 on the film “Talladega Nights: The Ballard of Ricky Bobby,” which starred Will Ferrell and was produced by Apatow.

According to a 2006 Sun Journal story, Church said much of his work dealt with making sure the unscripted comedy about NASCAR was accurate and that the film had behind-the-scenes access to NASCAR events.

“I probably spoke with (NASCAR) on the phone about 20 times a day, every day, for a year,” he said.

His first five producing credits all involved movies starring Ferrell.

Church has gone on to work with Apatow on eight projects. In addition to the Shandling film, they have teamed on the current HBO series “Crashing,” and comedies, including “Stepbrothers,” “Trainwreck” and “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.”‘

Lewiston native Joshua Church holds the Emmy he won last weekend as a supervising producer for the HBO documentary “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.” With him is his wife, Emily Musil Church.

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