Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation Launches African Film Heritage Project to Restore Over 50 African Films

(image via shadowandact.com)

article via shadowandact.com

The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 750 films, which are made accessible to the public through programming at festivals, museums, and educational institutions around the world.

The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has restored 28 films from 20 different countries representing the rich diversity of world cinema. In addition, the foundation’s free educational curriculum, “The Story of Movies,” teaches young people – over 10 million to date – about film language and history.

Martin Scorsese is the founder and chairman of The Film Foundation which today announced what it calls the African Film Heritage Project, created to do what is very necessary work – locate, restore, and preserve African films; many of which are seemingly *lost* to history, or just not widely accessible and could greatly benefit from restoration and re-release/re-discovery.

African cinema history is deeper than many outside of the continent might realize. But, as has been noted on this blog in the past, some of the older films are impossible to get one’s hands on, unless made by the continent’s higher profile filmmakers like the late Ousmane Sembene.

The project is in partnership with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and UNESCO. Said Scorsese during the announcement: “There are so many films in need of restoration from all over the world. We created the World Cinema Project to ensure that the most vulnerable titles don’t disappear forever. Over the past 10 years the WCP has helped to restore films from Egypt, India, Cuba, the Philippines, Brazil, Armenia, Turkey, Senegal, and many other countries. Along the way, we’ve come to understand the urgent need to locate and preserve African films title by title in order to ensure that new generations of filmgoers — African filmgoers in particular — can actually see these works and appreciate them.”

As Cheick Oumar Sissoko, FEPACI secretary general (and a Malian filmmaker), notes: “Africa needs her own images, her own gaze testifying on her behalf, without the distorting prism of others, of the foreign gaze saddled by prejudice and schemes. We must bear witness to this cradle of humanity which has developed a rich and immense human, historical, cultural and spiritual patrimony.”

This will certainly go a long way towards making African films – especially classics of African cinema – widely accessible, and hopefully help fuel budding filmmakers across the continent.

To read full article, go to: Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation Launches African Film Heritage Project to Restore 50+ African Films – Shadow and Act

Sidney Poitier to be Honored at British Academy Film Awards in February

Sidney Poitier to Be Honored at British Academy Film Awards

Cinema legend Sidney Poitier (photo via ebony.com)

Sidney Poitier will be honored by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) with the Fellowship at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, February 14. Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games.

Fellows previously honored for their work in film include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker and Helen Mirren. Mike Leigh received the Fellowship at last year’s Film Awards.

Sidney Poitier said: “I am extremely honored to have been chosen to receive the Fellowship and my deep appreciation to the British Academy for the recognition.”

Amanda Berry OBE, chief executive of BAFTA, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Sidney Poitier is to become a Fellow of BAFTA. Sidney is a luminary of film whose outstanding talent in front of the camera, and important work in other fields, has made him one of the most important figures of his generation. His determination to pursue his dreams is an inspirational story for young people starting out in the industry today. By recognizing Sidney with the Fellowship at the Film Awards on Sunday, February 14, BAFTA will be honoring one of cinema’s true greats.”

Sidney Poitier’s award-winning career features six BAFTA nominations, including one BAFTA win, and a British Academy Britannia Award for Lifetime Contribution to International Film.

Poitier began his acting career on Broadway in the 1940s before moving to film in 1950, receiving his first credit as Dr. Luther Brooks in No Way Out. He was the first African American to play a wide range of leading roles; he was BAFTA-nominated for his performances in Edge of the CityA Raisin in the SunLilies of the Field (for which he was the first African American to win the Oscar for Best Actor in 1964), A Patch of BlueIn the Heat of the Night and The Defiant Ones, for which he won a BAFTA and Oscar in 1959. His other acting credits include Blackboard JungleTo Sir With LoveGuess Who’s Coming to DinnerSneakersThe Jackal and Porgy and Bess.

Poitier was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2002 “for his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence.” Poitier has also been nominated for seven Golden Globes, winning once, and was presented with the Cecil B DeMille Award in 1982.

Alongside his illustrious acting career, Poitier has directed nine feature films, including the Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder comedy Stir Crazy, as well as Buck and the PreacherUptown Saturday Night and Fast Forward.

In television, Poitier’s acting credits include Separate but EqualChildren of the Dust and, portaying Nelson Mandela, Mandela and de Klerk.

As well as pushing the boundaries of his craft on screen, Poitier played an active role in the American civil rights campaign and served as ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan and UNESCO from 1997 to 2007. In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II conferred a knighthood on Poitier, and in 2009 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the USA, by President Obama.

The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday, February 14, at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden. Stephen Fry will be returning to host this year’s ceremony, which will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One in the UK and in all major territories around the world. On the night, www.bafta.org will feature red carpet highlights, photography and winners interviews, as well as dedicated coverage on its social networks including Facebook (/BAFTA), Twitter (@BAFTA / #EEBAFTAs), Tumblr and Instagram.

article via ebony.com

“12 Years A Slave” Director Steve McQueen Nominated for Director’s Guild Award

steve mcqueenAccording to the Los Angeles TimesSteve McQueen, the 44-year-old British director, garnered his first Director’s Guild of American Award nomination for 12 Years a Slave, an unflinching look at slavery in the U.S.  McQueen is only the second black director to have received a DGA nomination in this category.  Lee Daniels was the first to earn a DGA nomination for feature film for 2009’s Precious. McQueen received best director honors from the New York Film Critics Circle and is nominated for Golden Globe and Independent Spirit awards.

Other nominees include Martin Scorsese, who earned his ninth DGA nomination for The Wolf of Wall Street, his controversial dark comedy starring Leonardo DiCaprio about a hedonistic stockbroker.  Scorsese, 71, received his first DGA feature nomination for 1976’s Taxi Driver, and won the honor for his 2006 crime film The Departed, which also starred DiCaprio.

Alfonso Cuaron, like McQueen, is also a first-time nominee, for his lost-in-space blockbuster Gravity. Cuaron, 52, was named best director by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. for the thriller and is nominated for a Golden Globe Award.  British filmmaker Paul Greengrass, 58, was nominated for Captain Phillips, a fact-based thriller about a container ship hijacked by Somali pirates. Greengrass is also nominated for a Golden Globe for his direction of the film.  Rounding out the DGA feature nominees is David O. Russell for his Abscam-influenced con-comedy American Hustle. Russell, 55, was nominated in this category for 2010’s The Fighter.  He is also nominated for a Golden Globe.

The winner will be announced at the 66th awards dinner on Jan. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson