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2nd Pride International Film Fest awards Liz Taylor

The 2nd annual Pride International Film Festival has just announced its “Lifetime Achievement and Distinction” Honoree this year. This special award, which was given to Hollywood actor and British thespian Sir Ian Mckellen in 2004, will be presented to Hollywood icon & Academy Awardee, Ms. Elizabeth Taylor.

Pride International Film Festival had developed one of the most important exhibition of GLBT works with its pioneering advocacy in the country towards the education of HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and care. The festival is a major advocator and promoter of HIV/AIDS education on awareness, prevention and care through film screenings with its other events besides showcasing never-been-seen GLBT films and videos in the Philippines.

Ms. Elizabeth Taylor was chosen by the festival as its honoree this year for her outstanding film and stage acting, including her worldwide advocacy and combat against HIV and AIDS.

A previous recipient of the 1993 American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, her career in film and stage has spanned almost half-century, where she first appeared on film as a child and immediately exhibited a rare combination of ability, versatility and charm. She has eventually become a great actress and has always been a dominating force on the screen.

Elizabeth Taylor is a cinematic dream come true; so ravishingly beautiful that it’s impossible to concentrate on anyone or anything else when she’s on the screen; such a powerfully good actress that she unerringly finds the truth of a scene and brings her character — and the film — to life. She is everything we desire in a movie star: actress and icon, beauty and brain, image and substance. She is the one of the most admired women of all time.

Certainly, Elizabeth Taylor could have been far less accomplished an actress and still held audiences spellbound. She is the compleat — some would say the last — movie star. Her face and charisma, gifts of God, could take the place of a good deal of talent but have never had to do so.

Born Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, she made her film debut at age ten in There's One Born Every Minute. In 1943, she signed a long-term contract with MGM and fell in with the studio's celebrated gang of kid stars: Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, and Freddie Bartholomew. People noticed the exceptionally beautiful tyke on the sidelines of Lassie Come Home and Jane Eyre, but it was the horse-crazy 12-year-old girl at the center of the classic National Velvet (1944) that audiences throughout the world fell in love. A spate of frothy teenage movies followed, culminating with her first on-screen wedding in Minnelli's delightful Father of the Bride.

Then in 1951, George Stevens cast her as the impossibly desirable socialite in A Place in the Sun opposite Montgomery Clift, and their doomed romance and heartbreakingly beautiful performances suddenly turned the popular ingénue into a major adult star. She was not yet 20 years old. Stevens' Giant (1956), meanwhile, forged a new level of respect for Taylor's talent, and over the next decade she developed into one of the most glamorous and highly paid performers in the world, setting a record by earning a then-astounding $1 million to star in the legendary epic Cleopatra (1963). Along the way she was nominated for Academy Awards as best actress three years in a row—beginning with Raintree County in 1957, and followed by Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer. "As an actress, she has a breadth and scope beyond what she has ever been credited with," said her two-time director Richard Brooks at the time.

Finally, she won her first Academy Award for Butterfield 8 (1960) and returned to the podium six years later for her blistering "Martha" opposite Richard Burton's "George" in Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. This performance also earned her awards from the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the British Film Academy.

Taylor had met Burton on the set of Cleopatra—he was Antony to her Egyptian queen—and by the time Mike Nichols directed them in Virginia Woolf they had become filmdom's most famous co-stars and one of the century's most famous couples. Together they also made the V.I.P.s, The Sandpiper, Doctor Faustus, The Comedians, Boom!, Hammersmith Is Out, and The Taming of the Shrew. Divorce His, Divorce Hers, the couple's one made-for-television film was a ratings bonanza. Also acting without Burton, Taylor remained the era's ultimate movie star appearing opposite Marlon Brando in Reflections in a Golden Eye, Michael Caine in X, Y, and Zee, Warren Beatty in The Only Game in Town, Mia Farrow in Secret Ceremony, Henry Fonda in Ash Wednesday, and even Andy Warhol in The Driver's Seat.

In 1981, Taylor made her Broadway debut as Regina Giddens in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, for which she received a Tony Award nomination, the Theater World Award, and a special Outer Critics Circle Award. In 1983, she made her second and last Broadway appearance, opposite Burton, in Noel Coward's Private Lives.

Two years later, Rock Hudson, her Giant costar and one of her most cherished friends, died of AIDS. In response to the tragedy, she cast herself in the role of Hollywood's most fearless fund-raiser in the fight against the disease, first by rallying a still reluctant film industry behind a major show in support of AIDS Project Los Angeles, then by co-founding AmFar (the American Foundation for AIDS Research) with Dr. Mathilde Krim. In 1991, Taylor established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

"I guess I’m a fighter and a survivor," Elizabeth Taylor once said. She would have to be, in order to surmount the amazing hurdles life has thrown before her. The earnest little beauty who urged her horse to victory in National Velvet (1944) now urges a nation — a world — to combat AIDS and discrimination. Today, she is the indefatigable humanitarian who is credited with raising more than $100 million in the crusade against AIDS.

For her activism, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Taylor with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1992. In 1993, the American Film Institute honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award for her glorious contribution to the art of motion pictures. At the time, she was the award's youngest recipient.

Recently made a Dame of the British Empire and named a Commander of Arts and Letters by the French government, Taylor has lived virtually her entire life with us, just as millions of people around the world have grown up and lived their lives watching her. "It would be hard to conceive of a world without Elizabeth Taylor," said The Independent earlier on the eve of her 70th birthday.

The festival’s Closing Night will honor Ms. Taylor with this award.

For festival information, please contact Pride International Film Festival 2005: events@pride-international-events.com or pridefilmfestival@yahoo.com

Festival website: http://www.pride-international-events.com/festival.htm


Severino Planas, Festival Director & Organizer
2nd Annual Pride International Film Festival 2005

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