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Alumnus Charles Burnett to be Honored With 2017 Governors Award

The L.A. Rebellion filmmaker is known for such films as "Killer of Sheep" and "To Sleep With Anger"

Charles BurnettAward-winning L.A. Rebellion filmmaker Charles Burnett (B.A. ’69, M.F.A. ’77) will be celebrated with an honorary Governors Award by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) during the 9th annual Governors Awards ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Burnett, who is broadly recognized as a pioneering indie filmmaker, wrote, directed, produced and edited his first feature, Killer of Sheep (1977) when he was a graduate student at the UCLA College of Fine Arts, now the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. In 1990, Killer of Sheep was one of the first 50 films to be selected for the Library of Congress' National Film Registry and was chosen by the National Society of Film Critics as one of the 100 Essential Films.

In 1988, he was awarded the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. Burnett’s first widely released film, To Sleep with Anger (1990), was also chosen for the National Film Registry, and he became the first African American recipient of the National Society of Film Critics’ best screenplay award.

Born in Mississippi and raised in Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood, Burnett’s other credits include the features My Brother’s Wedding (1983), The Glass Shield (1994) and Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation (2007); the short films The Horse (1973) and When It Rains (1995); and the documentaries America Becoming (1991) and Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (2003).

Other honorees at this year’s ceremony will be actor Donald Sutherland (M*A*S*H*, Ordinary People, The Hunger Games), Belgian writer-director Agnes Varda (Le Bonheur) and cinematographer Owen Roizman (Wyatt Earp, Tootsie, The French Connection).

According to the AMPAS website, the Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

Posted: September 6, 2017