2013 Film Festival Special Guests and Honorees
As an accomplished actor, author, producer, humanitarian and entrepreneur, Joan Collins has built a career that places her in the unrivaled ranks of international superstar and icon. In recognition of a lifetime of contributions to the arts, culture and charitable causes, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II honored Joan with an O.B.E. title in 1997, making her an Officer of the British Empire.
Joan has appeared in more than 60 feature films and dozens of television series. On stage, she has performed on Broadway, the West End, and in national tours in the UK, North America, and Australia. On the humanitarian front, Joan is devoted to the well-being of women, children and families and regularly lends her support and celebrity to causes that include finding a cure for breast cancer and empowering children with learning disabilities.
Joan has worked with some of the most recognizable figures in cinematic history, including: Richard Burton (Sea Wife); Paul Newman (Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!); Bob Hope and Bing Crosby (Road to Hong Kong); Bette Davis (The Virgin Queen); Gregory Peck (The Bravados), James Mason and Dorothy Dandridge (Island in the Sun); Robert Mitchum (Big Sleep), Edward G. Robinson (Seven Thieves), Sir Nigel Hawthorne (The Clandestine Marriage); and Kenneth Branagh (In the Bleak Midwinter).
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers. A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure..." is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.
Marianne's other books include The Age of Miracles, Everyday Grace, A Woman's Worth, Illuminata, Healing the Soul of America, A Course in Weight Loss, and The Gift of Change. Her newest book, THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION: On Work, Money and Miracles, was published in November 2012 by Harper Collins.
She has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America and Charlie Rose. Marianne is a native of Houston, Texas. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. Today, Project Angel Food serves over 1,000 people daily. Marianne also founded the Department of Peace Campaign, a grass roots campaign to establish a United States Department of Peace.
Singer-songwriter, guitarist and 3-time Grammy winner Keb Mo’s music is a living link to the seminal Delta blues that traveled up the Mississippi River and across the expanse of America — informing all of its musical roots — before evolving into a universally celebrated art form. Born Kevin Moore in South Los Angeles to parents originally from the deep South, Mo’s music is an expression of the artistic and cultural journey that has transformed the blues, and his own point of view, over time. His distinctive sound embraces multiple eras and genres, including pop, soul, folk and jazz as well as the singer-songwriter movement. For Keb Mo, the common bond between these influences is the underlying storytelling ethic, the power of song to convey human experience and emotional weight.
Earlier this year, Keb Mo was honored to be invited by President Obama to participate in a special Blues performance in the East Room of the White House. The show was taped for a PBS special ‘Red, White & Blues’. His moving acoustic version of ‘America the Beautiful’ was the soundtrack for the President’s Independence Day celebration video hosted on the White House blog and seen throughout the world. Other highlights include performing with Daryl Hall on his landmark 50th webisode of ‘Live From Daryl’s House, and earning his sixth Grammy nomination for ‘The Reflection’, the debut recording on his own Yolabelle International label.
“No God, No Master”
Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn's film career began in 1979 in Return of the Secaucus Seven, written and directed by John Sayles', with whom he worked several times since, in Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, and Limbo. Some of his other screen appearances include Sneakers, Howl, The Firm, Dolores Claiborne, My Blueberry Nights, Blue Car, The Sensation of Sight, LA Confidential, The Bourne Ultimatum, Good Night and Good Luck (which earned him the Oscar nomination for Best Leading Actor), and most recently, Lincoln.
No God, No Master is the second time David has worked for Terry Green, the first being Green's film about the Scottsboro Boys and their controversial trial in 1933, Heavens Fall.
David has just this month finished performing in the stage revival of The Heiress in NYC which starred Jessica Chastain and Dan Stevens, star of the hit BBC series Downton Abbey.
“Remember to Breathe”
Golden Globe and Emmy-nominee Lee Meriwether is perhaps best known for her role as "Betty" in the highly successful CBS series, "Barnaby Jones," where she co-starred opposite Buddy Ebsen for eight years. The former Miss America 1955 has a rich film and stage career as well.
Lee joined "The Today Show" and used her pagent scholarships to study acting with famed teacher Lee Strasburg, as well as dancing, singing, and fencing with some of the top coaches in New York.
Her noteworthy film roles include Catwoman in the original Batman movie. She also portrayed Andy Griffith's pregnant wife in Angel in my Pocket, as well as Rock Hudson's southern wife in The Undefeated.
Live theatre, however, continues to be Lee's first love. She has enjoyed a long association with Theatre West in Hollywood where she performed "Spoon River Anthology" with Betty Garrett, "Aesop in Central Park" with Richard Dreyfuss and "Ladies of Hanover Towers" with Carroll O'Connor.
Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominee Griffin Dunne has enjoyed a distinguised career in front of and behind the camera.
As an actor, Griffin has the distinction of having starred in two 1980s cult favorites. First came the John Landis monster movie An American Werewolf in London, then the Martin Scorsese black comedy After Hours (which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor).
After Hours is also among the movies that Dunne has produced with partner Amy Robinson through their company Double Play Productions. Other Double Play productions include Running on Empty, White Palace and Once Around.
Griffin has continued to appear on both sides of the camera, taking supporting roles as an actor in films like My Girl and I Like It Like That. He made his directorial debut with a short film, Duke of Groove, which was nominated for an Oscar. Dunne then made the leap to feature films with Addicted to Love, Practical Magic, Famous and Fierce People. Griffin was nominated for an Emmy for his guest appearance on Frasier.
“Remember to Breathe”
Susan Blakely, the Golden Globe award-winning actress, recently was a member of the ensemble cast of TNT’s hit series, Southland. She first gained international recognition as an actress for her award-winning role in the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man, for which she was nominated for an Emmy and won the Best Actress Golden Globe.
Among Susan’s most memorable roles was her portrayal of the 1930’s film star, Frances Farmer in the CBS special film of her autobiography, “Will There Really Be a Morning?” for which she was also nominated for the Best Actress Golden Globe. She starred opposite Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins in “The Bunker” for CBS and Walter Matthau in “The Incident” and the sequel.
As a celebrated super-model, Susan has graced the covers of Vogue, Bazaar, and many magazines before becoming a full-time actress. Her films include Towering Inferno (starring Paul Newman and Steve McQueen), three films opposite Sylvester Stallone including the classic Lords of Flatbush with Perry King, and she had the title role in My Mom’s a Werewolf.
David Rasche began his career at The Second City cabaret in Chicago. His Broadway credits include: To Be or Not To Be, Speed-The-Plow (by David Mamet), Lunch Hour (directed by Mike Nichols), Loose Ends and The Shadow Box. Off-Broadway credits include: Chekhov’s The Seagull for which he earned the Richard Seff Award from Actors’ Equity, Regrets Only by Paul Rudnick, David Mamet's Edmond, Last Dance by Marsha Norman, with JoBeth Williams, David Mamet's Faust, and No One Will Be Immune.
David has appeared on TV series including Miami Vice and Monk, and he was Sledge Hammer in the series of that name.
His film work includes Burn After Reading for the Coen Brothers, Flags of our Fathers for Clint Eastwood, Flight 93 for Paul Greengrass, The Sentinel (co-starring Michael Douglas and Kim Basinger), An Innocent Man (starring Tom Selleck), The Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Just Married, and That Old Feeling (with Bette Midler, director Carl Reiner).
“Least Among Saints”
As a film actor, Martin Papazian burst onto the screen in Universal Picture’s Jarhead directed by Academy Award- winner Sam Mendes. He most recently acted opposite Charlize Theron in FOX Studios’ The Burning Plain, written and directed by Guierrmo Arriaga. He also appeared in DreamWorks’ The Island directed by Michael Bay and most recently in The Amazing Spiderman, directed by Marc Webb.
In television, Martin has appeared in numerous network shows. Notable credits include 24 (recurring), Lie to Me, CSI: NY, The Unit, Without A Trace, N.C.I.S, Dexter, Supernatural, Monk and JAG.
He has also performed supporting roles in a dozen films made for television. Papazian earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing from the Arizona Repertory Theater at the University of Arizona. He also spent a semester in London training with The British Academy of Dramatic Arts.
“Any Day Now” and "Awakening World"
Frances Fisher began by apprenticing at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. She spent 14 years based in New York City, playing leads in over 30 productions of plays by such noted writers as John Arden, Noel Coward, Emily Mann, Joe Orton, Sam Shepard, William Shakespeare, Jean Claude Van Italie, Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams. She won a Drama Logue Award - Best Ensemble for the American Premier of Caryl Churchill's "Three More Sleepless Nights", played in the American premier of Judith Thompson's "The Crackwalker" and originated roles in Elia Kazan's "The Chain" and Arthur Miller's last play, "Finishing the Picture".
Besides working with Kazan and Miller, some of Ms. Fisher's more interesting theater experiences were creating roles from two great works of literature: George Orwell's "1984" and Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". Ms. Fisher worked at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles alongside Annette Bening and Alfred Molina in Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard". Fisher starred in "Sexy Laundry" with Paul Ben-Victor at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. She studied with Stella Adler and became a lifetime member of the Actors Studio by actually "walking up the stairs" and auditioning for legendary acting teacher Lee Strasberg.