ImageNation awards for leaders who inspire change

The ImageNation Cinema Foundation will honor actress Ruby Dee and other trailblazing members of the entertainment, business and political worlds at its 2010 Revolution Awards Gala Reception on Dec. 2.

Georgia congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis; BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee; producer Lisa Cortés (executive producer of Precious); Burrell Communication Group Chairman Emeritus Tom Burrell; and filmmaker and activist Iris Morales will also be honored at the ceremony which takes place at The Film Society of Lincoln Center.

BET Networks is the presenting sponsor of the 2010 ImageNation Revolution Awards, which is produced in partnership with The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC).

The Revolution Awards are awarded to individuals who inspire social change, blaze new trails, help foster solidarity throughout the African Diaspora, and promote or advance the arts, including Black and Latino film and culture.

This year, categories include awards for: Lifetime Achievement (Ruby Dee); Freedom (Congressman John Lewis); Visionary Leadership in Television (Debra L. Lee); Pioneering Leadership in Media Enterprise (Tom Burrell); Trailblazing in Independent Film & Music (Lisa Cortés); and Revolution Award for Activism (Iris Morales).

“We are so honored to celebrate the life and work of these extraordinary change agents. Their work inspires us, and we hope those who attend will leave galvanized and ready to better the world,” said Moikgantsi Kgama, president of ImageNation.

“ImageNation is doing some of the most innovative programming in New York, bringing together the worlds of film, theater and music, uptown and downtown,” said Richard Peña, program director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center. “We’re proud to work with them.”

The event includes an advance screening of Stanley Nelson’s film Freedom Riders, which will air on PBS in 2011. The film is the powerful account of more than 400 black and white civil rights workers who transformed America over six months in 1961.

Risking their lives by traveling together on buses and trains through the Deep South—thus flouting the Jim Crow laws—the Freedom Riders were met with stark racism and mob violence. Ultimately what they encountered put their belief in nonviolent activism to the test. The film will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and Lewis, one of the Freedom Riders.

Proceeds from the event will benefit ImageNation and the capital campaign for the ImageNation Sol Cinema, Harlem’s first and the nation’s only, art-house cinema dedicated to Black and Latino independent film.

Sol Cinema is scheduled to open on 125th Street in Harlem, directly across from the Apollo Theater in 2013.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater is located at 165 W. 65th St., Plaza Level, near Amsterdam Avenue, convenient to the 1 subway’s 66th Street/Lincoln Center stop.