Film Life Movie Awards Announce 2004 Honorees

Spike Lee and Rosario Dawson to be Honored at the Film Life Movie Awards Show Presented by Time Warner

New York, NY, March 21, 2004 – Film Life, Inc., announced today that it will recognize the work and achievements of director Spike Lee (Summer of Sam, Malcolm X) and actress Rosario Dawson (Men In Black II, The Adventures of Pluto Nash) during its annual gala fete, the Film Life Movie Awards (FLMA) Show on Saturday, July 17, 2004, in the Jackie Gleason Theater in South Beach, Miami, Florida.

A celebration of Black cinema, the FLMAs were created to commemorate the achievements of people of color in Hollywood as well as to showcase the endeavors of the independent film community. Unique among awards shows, the Film Life Movie Awards Show, currently held as the culminating event of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), brings together accomplished Hollywood icons and aspiring independent filmmakers and actors.

This year, helmer Spike Lee will receive the Innovator Award, presented by Time Warner, for his distinguished work and outstanding contributions to American cinema. “The Film Life Movie Awards is proud to pay homage to Spike Lee – an extraordinary director and a prolific filmmaker whose career has not only changed the face of Hollywood but has been a major influence in the independent film community,” said Jeff Friday, president and CEO of Film Life, Inc., and ABFF cofounder. Actress Rosario Dawson will receive the Rising Star Award.

Other awards to be presented include Hollywood Awards for Film of the Year, Best Director, Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress. The Independent Film Awards, derived from ABFF entries, are presented in the following categories: the HBO Short Film Award and the Blockbuster Audience Award for Best Feature Film. The Hollywood Awards will be voted on by members of the African American Critics Association. The Independent Film Awards, with the exception of the HBO Short Film Award (a jury award), will be voted on by attendees at ABFF.

“This year’s Film Life Movie Awards promises to be one of the highlights of the American Black Film Festival,” said Gerri Warren-Merrick, Time Warner’s Vice President of Corporate Community Relations. “We’re pleased to honor Spike Lee for his significant commitment and contribution to multi-cultural and multi-genre filmmaking. As a company that is committed to finding and developing diverse talent, Time Warner has a special interest in returning as presenting sponsor of the ABFF. It’s an important opportunity for us to help showcase the creative talents of black filmmakers and to infuse the film industry with new ideas, perspectives and energy.”

Spike Lee has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most important filmmakers. Currently, Lee is in production of his 18th feature film, She Hate Me. His directorial success includes Jim Brown – All American, The 25th Hour, Bamboozled, Summer of Sam, Girl 6 and Get on the Bus. These movies follow his most critically acclaimed films, Malcolm X, Clockers and Do The Right Thing.

His debut film, the independently produced comedy, She’s Gotta Have It, earned him the Prix de Jeunesse Award in 1986. His second feature, School Daze, helped to launch the careers of several young Black actors. Lee’s timely 1989 film, Do The Right Thing, garnered an Academy Award nomination. He completed the Emmy and Oscar-nominated documentary, 4 Little Girls, for HBO.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Lee attended Morehouse College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his Master of Fine Arts. He is the founder of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks.

In addition to his film work, Lee has produced and directed numerous music videos. His commercial work began in 1988 with his Nike Air Jordan campaign. He has authored six books on the making of his films. Ever moving into new areas, Spike Lee partnered with DDB Needham to create Spike/DDB – a full-service advertising agency.

New York-born and -bred actress Rosario Dawson made her screen debut in Larry Clark’s controversial Kids (1995) and has quickly become one of Hollywood’s brightest new stars. Literally picked off the street to play Ruby, one of the titular teens in Kids, Dawson — who is of Puerto Rican, Cuban, African, Irish, and Native American heritage — had never acted before being cast in the film. Following Kids, she next appeared in Spike Lee’s He Got Game (1998) and that same year starred in Side Streets, a series of vignettes about life in New York’s five boroughs.

Faithful to her New York roots, Dawson has continued to star in films set in her hometown, including Light It Up (1999), Down to You (2000) and The 25th Hour (2002). In 2002 Dawson went the sci-fi comedy route with roles in both Men In Black II and The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Rosario Dawson can be seen next in the action/adventure movie Alexander starring with Collin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins.

The Film Life Movie Awards were established in 2002. Former FLMA honorees include, Mekhi Phifer, Russell Simmons, costume designer Ruth Carter and Robert Townsend, who also serves as co-host.

The ABFF, now in its eighth year, has established itself as the premier Black film market in the United States. Its mission is to create a platform for and promote the global distribution of quality Black films.

The FLMA and ABFF are properties of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based film marketing and distribution company. Its mission is to spearhead the commercial development of independent Black films.

Time Warner, Inc., is the world’s leading media and entertainment company, whose businesses include filmed entertainment, interactive services, television networks, cable systems and publishing.