RECEIVES HONORARY DEGREE
FROM THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE
Eastwood first AFI Life Achievement Award Recipient
To Also Receive Honor from AFI Conservatory
LOS ANGELES, CA, June 10, 2009—The American Film Institute (AFI) conferred an honorary degree (Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa) upon Clint Eastwood for “contribution of distinction to the art of the moving image” during AFI Commencement ceremonies for its 2009 graduating class.
Following the presentation by film historian Richard Schickel on the American Film Institute campus, Eastwood warmly quieted the group by telling them to “Knock it off, will ya?” He then reflected on his early experiences in filmmaking saying, “I never went to a film school because they didn’t have them when I started out. But after doing more than 50 films as an actor and 30 as a director I would have thought I could have graduated before this.”
Eastwood concluded by reminding the graduates that when they find themselves challenged by the difficulties of making their careers as filmmakers never to forget that they are artists and to believe in their talent.
An American master, actor and director, Eastwood has built a legendary body of work in a career that spans more than 60 films and over a half-century.
Born in San Francisco in 1930, Eastwood grew up in Depression-era Northern California. After technical high school, he held jobs as a firefighter, lumberjack and steelworker before serving in the US Army as a swimming instructor during the Korean War. He came to Los Angeles to attend college on the GI Bill, eventually signing as a contract player at Universal.
Eastwood first gained recognition as an actor as boyish cattle driver Rowdy Yates in the popular ’60s television series RAWHIDE. He then took a chance on a new, more ambiguous kind of cowboy in his collaboration with director Sergio Leone on a trilogy of spaghetti westerns that helped redefine the western genre. A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965) and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) made Eastwood a star as the laconic “Man With No Name.”
In the ’70s, Eastwood created another iconic screen character—the fiercely independent, rogue cop Harry Callahan in five controversial and crowd-pleasing DIRTY HARRY movies—firmly establishing his quiet persona, spare acting style and totemic macho presence.
Eastwood used his clout as an international star to found his own production company, Malpaso Productions, where he expanded into directing with PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1971). As director, producer, composer and star, he has worked across genres, including westerns, comedies, romances, thrillers and a music biopic, with such diverse films as THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976), BIRD (1988), THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1995), MYSTIC RIVER (2003), FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (2006) and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006). His UNFORGIVEN (1992) and MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004) were Academy Award winners for Best Direction and Best Picture. In 2008, Eastwood directed CHANGELING and starred in and directed the highly acclaimed GRAN TORINO.
A virtuoso screen artist who works with the greatest economy of style, Eastwood is one of the great creative talents in American film history. His list of accomplishments is long, including two years in politics as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Among his honors, Eastwood has received the 24th AFI Life Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honors and the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award for producing.
Previous recipients of AFI honorary degrees include Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Michelangelo Antonioni, Steven Bochco, Ken Burns, Roger Corman, Caleb Deschanel, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, Jean Picker Firstenberg, Norman Jewison, Chuck Jones, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, John Lasseter, Gena Rowlands, Thelma Schoonmaker and John Williams.
The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year accredited MFA program, granting degrees in six filmmaking disciplines—Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. World-renowned for its advanced professional training, AFI’s program is designed to nurture the talents and enhance the skills of tomorrow’s leading storytellers in the global motion picture and television professions. The curriculum focuses on narrative, visual storytelling through hands-on collaboration, taught by working professionals from the film, television and digital media communities. The AFI Conservatory has trained more than 3,500 artists since its founding in 1969.
RP INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCES HONOREES
FOR 36TH ANNUAL VISION AWARDS
AT THE BEVERLY WILSHIRE, SATURDAY, JUNE 27TH
LAWRENCE BENDER, JIM WALTON, MATTHEW WEINER,IAN SANDER & KIM MOSES, DIANE LADD, SHONDA RHIMES, JILLIAN MICHAELS AND STEPHEN NEMETH
AMONG THOSE HONORED
Los Angeles, CA, June 5, 2009 – Many of Hollywood’s best and brightest in film, television and music will descend upon the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, on Saturday, June 27 for the star-studded, 36th Annual Vision Awards ™. The gala fundraising event, which has become an annual Hollywood tradition, honors entertainment and business luminaries as well as medical professionals who have exhibited exceptional gifts of sight, foresight and insight in the creative arts, related technologies and medical research.
Presented by RP International, the nation’s leading non-profit fighting Retinitis Pigmentosa and other blinding eye diseases, this year’s awards will once again be led by legendary Daily Variety columnist, Army Archerd, and will feature a presentation by Larry King, Former U.S. Congressman from Iowa, Berkley Bedell, and a musical performance by actress and music artist, Taryn Manning (HUSTLE AND FLOW).
Honorees include Leader of Vision, Jim Walton, President of CNN Worldwide, Film Artist of Vision: Diane Ladd (RAMBLING ROSE, WILD AT HEART); Film Producer of Vision: Lawrence Bender (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS); Producer of Vision – Documentary: Stephen Nemeth (FIELDS OF FUEL, FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER); Producers of Vision – Television: Ian Sander and Kim Moses (GHOST WHISPERER), Matthew Weiner (MAD MEN); Woman of Vision – Entertainment: Shonda Rhimes (GREY’S ANATOMY); Woman of Vision – Fitness & Motivation: Jillian Michaels (THE BIGGEST LOSER); Screenwriter of Vision: Grant Nieporte (SEVEN POUNDS); Lester Sill Award-Composer/Editor of Vision: John Ottman (VALKYRIE) and Film of Vision: TWILIGHT (producers: Wyck Godfrey, Greg Mooradian, Mark Morgan and Guy Oseary).
The 2009 Vision Awards also celebrates the ongoing work of RP International’s descriptive TheatreVision ™, which RP International founder and president, Helen Harris developed in 1994, to allow blind movie goers the ability to enjoy described films inside a motion picture theatre. The first such film was Paramount Picture’s FORREST GUMP. Since that time, Harris’ TheatreVision ™ has described nearly 500 programs via patented technology.
This year’s Theatre Vision Description Awards honorees are:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
TWO AND A HALF MEN
The primary medical award being given out at the Vision Awards this year will be the Jules Stein Living Tribute Award, which goes to Dr. Shalesh Kaushal, MD. Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Massachusetts, Kaushal was the first investigator in the world to use complement inhibitor molecules to treat patients and is a principal investigator for a complement inhibitor research study for wet age-related macular degeneration. Most recently, he has published research on the use of gene therapy to treat a type of congenital human blindness known as Leber Congenital Amaurosis.
The Vision Awards is produced by RP International, the nation’s leading non-profit fighting degenerative eye diseases. RPI was founded by blind activist, Helen Harris, a Woodland Hills housewife who, in 1972, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative blinding disease, along with her two young sons. Physicians told Harris that there would be no hope, no help and no cure. Harris and her family set out to prove them wrong, and to prove that a cure for blindness could become a reality. Today, due to Harris’ ongoing efforts, the international organization that she founded works year round to assist in the march toward a cure, help those afflicted with Retinitis Pigmentosa and bring awareness to the plight of those suffering with RP.
RP International raises funds to support facilities that specialize in all degenerative eye research, including Retinitis Pigmentosa, Macular Degeneration and Usher’s Syndrome. Previous Vision Awards honorees include James Cameron, Todd Field, Wes Craven, Andy Garcia, Malcolm McDowell, George Romero, Roone Arledge, Phil Collins, Jim Carrey, Robert Halmi, Sr., Katie Couric, Bob Hope, Norman Jewison, Stephen King, David Letterman, Oliver Stone, Gene Roddenberry, Martin Landau, Stacy Keach, Vin Scully, Aaron Spelling, Lorne Michaels, Matt Damon, Robert Wise, Jon Voight, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Jim Henson.
For ticket information and contributions, please visit http://www.VisionAwards.org, call 1-800-FIGHT-RP, or write to P.O. Box 900, Woodland Hills, California 91365. Fax 818-992-3265.