Annual international film festival Cine-Excess is dedicated to examining portrayals of race, gender, and diversity in cult film. This year, the festival is recognizing screen legend Pam Grier with a lifetime achievement award, recognizing her contributions to cinema. The news released with October marking the United Kingdom’s Black History Month.
Named as the guest of honor, the award-winning star of 70s hits Foxy Brown, Scream Blacula Scream, The Big Bird Cage, and Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown will be giving a special address that will be streamed to attendees.
Not only will Cine-Excess zone in on Grier’s influence on cult cinema, but the festival will also examine the influence of blaxploitation cinema, race and ethnicity in horror remakes, and LGBTQ+ representations in the history of film from a broader scope. The title of this year’s Cine-Excess theme is Representations as Weapons: Cult Film and the Politics of Resistance.
Xavier Mendik, Professor of Cult Cinema Studies at Birmingham City University, leads the film festival and stated, “We are truly honoured that Pam Grier has accepted our invitation to receive a Cine-Excess Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s event. In a career that has spanned more than thirty years she has pioneered the representation of strong African-American heroines, often appearing in pulp productions that carried strident messages about gender and racial equality. Her body of work also remains relevant to contemporary audiences, who are now even more interested in issues of diversity on screen.”
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Born in Winston-Salem, Grier’s career started in 1971, when Roger Corman of New World Pictures launched her with The Big Doll House, a socially incisive cult film about a women’s penitentiary. This led to Grier taking on similar roles in The Big Bird Cage, which further built her emerging reputation as a female action star.
However, it was Grier’s influential performances in 1970s blaxploitation classics such Jack Hill’s films Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974) which cemented her status as the leading Black female film icon in an era of race conflict in America. This reputation was later confirmed with her 1975 appearances in both Friday Foster and William Girdler‘s film Sheba, Baby.
After the decline of the blaxploitation craze she became a regular on the 1980s TV series Miami Vice, and played a supporting role as an evil witch in Ray Bradbury’s and Walt Disney Pictures’ Something Wicked This Way Comes. Grier then returned to action cinema as Steven Seagal’s partner in the 1988 release Above the Law.
During the 1990s, the actor went on to appear in a number of films that drew on her earlier landmark performances. This included Original Gangstas, which reunited many of the leading blaxploitation stars in a contemporary gang thriller. However, it was her central casting in Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film Jackie Brown that introduced Pam Grier to a new generation of movie goers. The film also starred Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Nero in a narrative that celebrated the independent female action persona that Grier had crafted with her 1970s roles.
Pam Grier will be presented with her Cine-Excess Lifetime Achievement Award at a special live streamed event on Friday 6th November, where she will also discuss her experiences as a black female screen star with the festival audience.
Cine-Excess will take place virtually from November 5th to November 7th and will present attendees with the themed conference along with a lineup of cult film premieres to stream worldwide.
For more information visit: www.cine-excess.co.uk.