Screen Actors Guild Adds Gordon Parks Awards To IFFM Support

Posted on September 10, 1999

Screen Actors Guild, a sponsor of the annual Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM) in New York for the past 3 years, will sponsor the Third Annual Gordon Parks Independent Film Awards, for achievement by African-American independent filmmakers, on Saturday evening, September 18 at the DGA Theater. Additional support for this event comes from the Directors Guild of America, Essence Entertainment and HBO.

Richard Masur, SAG National President, will present the finalists of the Gordon Parks Film Awards which honor Gordon Parks, Sr., to a screenwriter and director from among eligible participants, each of whom will receive a $10,000 prize. Judges look for projects by African-American writers and directors that demonstrate promise, outstanding filmmaking talent, and a creative and unique vision. This year, SAG New York First Vice President Kim Sykes, who also serves as SAG's 4th National Vice President, and SAG National Board Member Anne-Marie Johnson, join a panel of jurors including director Haile Gerima, Harvard professor Dr. Orlando Patterson and actor Delroy Lindo.

"We are delighted to be a part of this important program that celebrates black filmmakers and honors Hollywood's first black director of major film," said Masur. "SAG continues to take an aggressive stance in encouraging more diversity both on screen and behind the scenes in entertainment."

IFFM, now in its 21st year, is presented by Independent Feature Project and is a leading forum for filmmakers to present their work to more than 2500 distributors, television and home video buyers, agents, development executives and festival programmers.

Gordon Parks, best known for his second feature, Shaft (1971), has a long list of accomplishments within the arts, and first gained acclaim as a preeminent photojournalist at LIFE Magazine from 1948-68. His first film was The Learning Tree (1969) -- based on his autobiographical novel about growing up black in 1920s Kansas -- which he produced, wrote, directed and scored. This year's event will include a special screening of a new print of Shaft as well as a feature on the making of the movie.