CICELY TYSON TO RECEIVE RIIFF's 2006 Lifetime
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED
ACTRESS TO RECEIVE RIIFF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
10TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
RI (July 21,
2006): On Thursday night, July 20th at the recent
RIIFF Producers Circle Awards presentation, an important
announcement was made by the Mayor of Providence,
David Cicilline: legendary Carribean-American Actress,
Cicely Tyson will receive the prestigious Lifetime
Achievement Award at this year’s Rhode
Island International Film Festival (“RIIFF”).
Ms. Tyson was nominated for a Best Actress Academy
Award for her performance in Sounder (1972); she has
also won two Emmy Awards for Best Actress (The Autobiography
of Miss Jane Pittman) and Outstanding Supporting Actress
(Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All).
“Presenting this award to Ms. Tyson marks a
milestone in the history of our festival,” commented
RIIFF’s Executive Director George T. Marshall.
“She is such an amazingly accomplished actress;
we are deeply honored to have her participate in this
year’s festival. Her work has touched millions
and set new standards in the acceptance of African-Americans
as a vibrant and critical part of the American experience.”
Previous winners of the RIIFF Lifetime Achievement
Award have been actress Patricia Neal, director Blake
Edwards, and actors Seymour Cassel and Kim Chan.
often, the impressive achievements of African-American
actors and actress are overlooked in Hollywood,”
Marshall added. “Ms. Tyson has dedicated her
career to presenting only positive images of black
women, and her career has often suffered because of
the professional standards that she has set for herself.
We could think of no one more deserving than her to
receive our award for Lifetime Achievement. She has
inspired so many and she has truly made a difference
through her work.”
The award ceremony will take place in the Providence
Performing Arts Center (PPAC) on August 11th. On Friday,
August 11th, there will be a screening of Ms. Tyson’s
film latest film “Fat Rose and Squeeky”
which will have its World Premiere at the Columbus
Theater Arts Center at 7:00 p.m. The film stars Ms.
Tyson, Louise Fletcher, Julie Brown and Lea DeLaria.
Directed by Sam Irvin, “Fat Rose and Squeeky,”
is an unusual movie that deals with the dignity of
aging. In life, a little friendship, poetry, tofu
casserole and a common front against those who threaten
our ability to choose for ourselves is all one needs
to find the beauty, humor and poetry rooted within
each new day.
Tyson was born in 1933 and raised in Harlem, New York
City by devoutly religious parents from Nevis, West
Indies. She was discovered by Ebony magazine and supported
herself as a secretary and a model while establishing
herself as an actress. In 1957 she began acting in
Off-Broadway productions and had an uncredited role
in her first film, Carib Gold. She continued to land
small roles in feature films before she was finally
cast as Portia in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968).
In 1969 she cofounded the Dance Theater of Harlem
with Arthur Mitchell. Three years later, Ms. Tyson
was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress
for her breakthrough performance in the critically
acclaimed film Sounder (1972). That year she was in
competition with Diana Ross’ Lady Sings the
Blues, making it the second time in the history of
the Academy Awards that the African-American actresses
were nominated in the “Best Actress” Oscar
category. She went on to portray a 110-year-old former
slave in the T.V. film The Autobiography of Miss Jane
Pittman (1974), which earned her two Emmys. From 1979
until 1980 she was the Thursday night host for the
CBS Radio “Sears Mystery Theater”. The
following year she married Jazz great Miles Davis
in the home of her good friend Bill Cosby, who was
best man and gave away the bride. Most recently, she
has appeared in the hit films Diary of a Mad Black
Woman (2005) and Madea’s Family Reunion (2006).
Her other prominent films include Bustin’ Loose
(1981), The Marva Collins Story (1981), Fried Green
Tomatoes (1991), and Because of Winn-Dixie (2005).
Tickets for both the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation
to Ms. Tyson and the screening of the World Premiere
of her new film, “Fat Rose and Squeeky”
will be sold in advance and available at the door
of the Columbus Theatre on Friday, August 11th.
The Rhode Island International Film Festival is supported
in part by the Rhode Island Film and Television Office, City of Providence, the Providence
Tourism Council, the Providence Department of Arts,
Culture & Tourism, Clear Channel Communications,
Sony, Rule Broadcast Systems, WJAR TV 10, the Rhode
Island State Council on the Arts, Amtrak, Providence
Monthly, Radio Disney, Feinstein IMAX Providence Place,
and contributions from members and community supporters.
The Flickers Arts Collaborative, which created and
produces RIIFF, is a non-profit organization with
24 years of experience presenting major artistic events
as well as independent and foreign films to the public,
Advance ticket sales for screenings and special events
are available through this website (www.RIFilmFest.org).
Student, group, and senior discounts are also available
but only in advance.
To purchase tickets or obtain
more information about any aspect of RIIFF, call 401-861-4445;
or write RIIFF, 268 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903;
Note: Film images above of Ms Tyson courtesy of “Fat Rose and Squeeky”