Film maker Julie Dash will be presented a $1,500 first prize on Feb. 1 at the third annual Black American Cinema Society awards at the Ambassador Hotel for “Illusions,” a drama about a black female executive (played by “The Cotton Club’s” Lonette McKee) passing for white at a Hollywood studio during World War II.
Second prize of $1,000 will be presented to Iverson White for “Dark Exodus,” a work in progress about the impact of a lynching upon a Southern black family of the ‘20s. Nate Thomas’ “The Last of the One-Night Stands,” a documentary on the reunion of Lee Williams’ big band of the ‘30s and ‘40s, will be awarded third prize of $750.
Honorable mentions worth $100 will be made to Marlene McCurtis for “An Empty Lot,” a surreal study of a black woman (Teresa Burrell) attempting to get in touch with herself through African dance; Brian Comer for “Sanctuary,” a dramatic vignette about a wealthy couple overly prepared for robbers, and Ilene Sands for “For Colored Men Who’ve Had Enuf!,” a brief, droll protest of black women blaming their problems on men. Thomas Wright’s “Love Returns,” a documentary on the black American response to African famines, was singled out for special merit.
Veteran actors Frances Williams and Joel Fluellen will receive the first Paul Robeson Pioneer Awards.
This year’s competition, held over the weekend at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, drew 19 entries and marked an end to women film makers sweeping the prizes. “The Last of the One-Night Stands” and “Sanctuary” represented successful attempts by black film makers to deal with white subjects.
The award-winning films will be screened Feb. 9 at 1:30 p.m. as part of the society’s seventh annual Black Talkies on Parade Film Festival scheduled from Feb. 4-10 in the Grand Theater at Trade Tech, 400 W. Washington Blvd. Sponsored by the Miller Brewing Co., the festival is held in conjunction with National Black History Month and this year honors Dorothy Dandridge.
The Black American Cinema Society is the film archive of the Western States Black Research Center. For festival program information and information on the awards dinner, contact the research center at 737-3292, 737-3583 or 733-9511.