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Melvin Van Peebles Honored by Black Film Critics

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by James Wright, AFRO

melvinvanpeeblesOne of the pioneer Black filmmakers and directors in the motion picture industry was recognized by the leading Black group that offers reviews of movies.

The African-American Film Critics Association bestowed its Special Achievement Award to director Melvin Van Peebles, whose groundbreaking movie, “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song”, was considered to be the first in a series of films that had a distinctly Black point of view and looked at American life through the lens of African Americans.

“Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mr. Van Peebles has earned a hard-fought reputation for pushing the bar creatively and socially,” outgoing AAFCA President Gil Robertson said.

The AAFCA is the trade association for African-American film media professionals. Founded in 2003 and based in Los Angeles, it honors excellence in media and reviews the quality and standard of Black talent, content and media coverage.

The group honored “The Dark Knight” as the best picture of 2008. Frank Langella was recognized as the best actor in 2008 for “Frost/Nixon.” Angelina Jolie was tapped as best actress for “The Changeling.”

The “Dark Knight’s” Heath Ledger was selected as best supporting actor. Viola Davis earned best supporting actress for her role in “Doubt.”

Danny Boyle was named best director his work in “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The top ten movies for 2008, according to AAFCA, were, in numerical selection after “The Dark Knight” were “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “The Secret Life of Bees”, “Cadillac Records”, “Miracle at St. Anna”, “Milk”, “Seven Pounds”, “Doubt” and “Iron Man.”

Incoming AAFCA President Wilson Morales said of his organization’s film selections: “From independent to commercial films, our selections for 2008 represent a diversity of themes and cultures that are intriguing and worth exploring.”

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