James Agee Cinema Circle Honors Movies of Conscience and Consciousness

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The James Agee Cinema Circle announced the nominees for the 2008 “Progie” Awards, December 29th on Thom Hartmann’s Air America Radio show. The Progies recognize features, documentaries and filmmakers for their outstanding achievement in promoting human rights and providing a voice for people of color, the working class, women, immigrants, gays, and the environment, and against war, censorship and political repression. The Progie Awards will be announced in February, as an oppositional principled cultural force running counter to the Oscars. The nominations are:

THE 2008 PROGIES NOMINEES FOR BEST PROGRESSIVE FILM ACHIEVEMENT

1. THE TRUMBO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for “Spartacus” and “Exodus” in 1960.

BATTLE IN SEATTLE

CHE

MILK

THE VISITOR

WALTZ WITH BASHIR

WENDY AND LUCY

2. THE GARFIELD: The Progie Award for BEST ACTOR is named after John Garfield, who rose from the proletarian theatre to star in progressive pictures such as “Gentleman’s Agreement” and “Force of Evil,” only to run afoul of the Hollywood Blacklist.

JOSH BROLIN (W.)

BENICIO DEL TORO (CHE)

RICHARD JENKINS (THE VISITOR)

FRANK LANGELLA (FROST/NIXON)

SEAN PENN (MILK)

3. KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For BEST ACTRESS. Named for Karen Morley, who was driven out of Hollywood in the 1930s for her leftist views, but who maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

SALLY HAWKINS (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY)

ANGELINA JOLIE (CHANGELING)

MELISSA LEO (FROZEN RIVER)

MICHELLE WILLIAMS (WENDY AND LUCY)

KATE WINSLET (REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, THE READER)

4. THE RENOIR: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-WAR FILM is named after the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who directed the 1937 anti-militarism masterpiece “Grand Illusion.”

BODY OF WAR

THE LUCKY ONES

STOP-LOSS

WALTZ WITH BASHIR

WAR, INC.

5. THE GILLO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM is named after the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who lensed the 1960s classics “The Battle of Algiers” and “Burn!”

CHE

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN

TAKE OUT [Shih-Ching Tsou]

WALTZ WITH BASHIR

THE YEAR MY PARENTS WENT ON VACATION

6. THE DZIGA: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARY is named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed 1920s nonfiction films such as the “Kino Pravda” (“Film Truth”) series and “The Man With the Movie Camera.”

BODY OF WAR

RELIGULOUS

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE

TROUBLE THE WATER

TRUMBO

7. ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Named after brutally slain young actress, Adrienne Shelly. For the movie this year most opposing violence against women.

BEFORE THE RAIN

CHANGELING

4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS

GRAN TORINO

PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL

8. LA PASSIONARA AWARD: For the most positive female images in a movie, and in light of the historically demeaning portrayal of women in movies.

CHANGELING

FROZEN RIVER

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

TROUBLE THE WATER

9. OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: For the most positive and inspiring working class images in a movie this year.

BATTLE IN SEATTLE

THE GARDEN

KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL

PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND

TAKE OUT [Shih-Ching Tsou]

THE WRESTLER

10. THE ROBESON AWARD: Named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson. The award is for the movie that best expresses the people of color experience in America, in light of the historical distortions and caricatures in films.

BALLAST

CADILLAC RECORDS

EXILES

MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA

TROUBLE THE WATER

11. THE BRANDO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FILM ACTIVIST is named after Marlon Brando, who starred in movies such as the Black power-themed “Burn!” and 1987’s anti-apartheid “A Dry White Season,” and championed underdogs like the American Indian Movement offscreen.

JOHN CUSACK

DANNY GLOVER

ROBERT GREENWALD

SPIKE LEE

SEAN PENN

12. THE TOMAS GUTIERREZ ALEA AWARD: Named after the late legendary Cuban filmmaker. For best depicting mass popular uprising or revolutionary transformation in a movie.

BATTLE IN SEATTLE

CHE

CHICAGO 10

DEFIANCE

HUNGER

14. THE SERGEI: The Progie Award for Best Progressive LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT is named after the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who created Russian revolutionary classics such as 1925’s “Potemkin” and 1927’s “10 Days That Shook the World.”

HARRY BELAFONTE

JEAN-LUC GODARD

DANNY GLOVER

KEN LOACH

PAUL NEWMAN

15. THE LAWSON: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILM this year, is named after screenwriter John Howard Lawson, one of the Hollywood Ten, who wrote Hollywood’s first feature about the Spanish Civil War, 1938’s “Blockade,” with Henry Fonda, and anti-Nazi movies such as 1943’s “Sahara,” starring Humphrey Bogart.

BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

DEFIANCE

GOOD

THE READER

VALKYRIE

16. THE MODERN TIMES: The Progie Award for Best Progressive Film SATIRE is named after Charlie Chaplin, who made 1936’s “Modern Times” and 1940’s “The Great Dictator.”

FROST/NIXON

RELIGULOUS

W.

WALL-E

WAR, INC.

17. THE ORSON: The Progie Award for BEST OVERLOOKED OR THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED [seen at festivals, or on TV or DVD only] Progressive Film is named after actor/filmmaker Orson Welles. After he directed the masterpiece “Citizen Kane” Welles had difficulty getting most of his other movies made.

FIELDS OF FUEL

THE REAL GREAT DEBATERS

A TIME TO STIR

24 CITY

WINGS OF DEFEAT

18. THE LORENTZ: The Progie Award for Best ENVIRONMENTALIST film is named after Pare Lorentz, who directed the Depression era classic documentaries “The Plow That Broke the Plains” and “The River.”

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER

THE GARDEN

THE HAPPENING

WALL-E

19. THE PASOLINI: The Progie Award for Best PRO-GAY RIGHTS Film is named after Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who directed 1964’s “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” and “The Decameron” and “The Canterbury Tales” in the 1970s.

CHRIS & DON

MILK

NO REGRET

SAVE ME

THE SECRETS

20. THE LENNON: The Progie Award for Best Progressive MUSICAL OR FILM ABOUT MUSIC is named after peace activist and musician John Lennon, who co-starred in the 1967 satire “How I Won the War” and the 2006 doc “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.”

ANITA O’DAY: THE LIFE OF A JAZZ SINGER

CADILLAC RECORDS

THE GITS

PATTI SMITH: DREAM OF LIFE

WAR DANCE

The James Agee Cinema Circle is named for the late esteemed film critic for The Nation. JACC participants include: Dan Bessie, culture critic and son of one of the Hollywood Ten; Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner, co-authors of “Radical Hollywood”; Christopher Trumbo, producer and assistant director of Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun and son of one of the Hollywood Ten; Gerald Horne, author of “The Final Victim of the Blacklist” and “Class Struggle in Hollywood”; Luis Reyes, co-author of “Hispanics in Hollywood”; Jack Shaheen, author of “Reel Bad Arabs” and “Guilty,” and others.

West Coast Contact: Ed Rampell

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East Coast Contact: James Agee Cinema Circle

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Website: http://politicalfilmcritics.blogspot.com/

L.A.-based film historian/critic Ed Rampell, author of “Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States”, is available for interviews, as are other JACC participants.