Dr. Adelaide Sanford With Ruby Dee

The ImageNation Cinema Foundation honored actress Ruby Dee and other trailblazing members of the entertainment, business and political worlds at the 2010 ImageNation Revolution Awards Gala on Thursday. Georgia Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis; BET Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee; producer Lisa Cortés (executive producer of Precious); Burrell Communication Group Chairman Emeritus and author of Brainwashed Tom Burrell; and filmmaker and activist Iris Morales were also honored at the 7 pm ceremony, which took place at The Film Society of Lincoln Center. Actress Lynn Whitfield presented an award at the event, which was hosted by actor Jamie Hector (The Wire, Night Catches Us) and included a performance by Jermaine Paul (Alicia Keys’ musical collaborator). BET Networks was the presenting sponsor of the 2010 ImageNation Revolution Awards, which was produced in partnership with The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC). The Revolution Awards are presented to individuals who inspire social change, blaze new trails, help foster solidarity throughout the African Diaspora, and promote or advance the arts, including Black and Latino film and culture. Honorees/presenters included Ruby Dee (Revolution Award for Lifetime Achievement), presented by Woodie King, Jr.; Debra L. Lee (Revolution Award for Visionary Leadership in Television), presented by Marva Smalls; Tom Burrell (Revolution Award for Pioneering Leadership in Media Enterprise), presented by Dr. Adelaide Sanford; Lisa Cortés (Revolution Award for Trailblazing in Independent Film & Music), presented by Lynn Whitfield; and Iris Morales (Revolution Award for Activism), presented by Dr. Susan Wilcox. Congressman John Lewis, delayed in Washington for a key vote, beamed in by Skype and was presented the Revolution Award for Freedom by Stanley Nelson. Nnenna Lynch of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s office spoke at the event to express Mayoral support of ImageNation’s Sol Cinema project. “We are so honored to celebrate the life and work of these extraordinary change agents. Their work inspires us, and we hope those who attend will leave galvanized and ready to better the world,” said Moikgantsi Kgama, president of ImageNation. "ImageNation is doing some of the most innovative programming in New York, bringing together the worlds of film, theater and music, uptown and downtown,” said Richard Peña, program director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center. “We're proud to work with them." The event included an advance screening of Stanley Nelson’s film Freedom Riders, which will air on PBS in 2011. The film is the powerful account of more than 400 black and white civil rights workers who transformed America over six months in 1961. Risking their lives by traveling together on buses and trains through the Deep South—thus flouting the Jim Crow laws—the Freedom Riders were met with stark racism and mob violence. Ultimately what they encountered put their belief in nonviolent activism to the test. The filmmaker and Lewis, one of the Freedom Riders, were on hand to discuss the film. Proceeds from the event will benefit ImageNation and the capital campaign for the ImageNation Sol Cinema, Harlem’s first and the nation’s only, art-house cinema dedicated to Black and Latino independent film. Sol Cinema is scheduled to open on 125th Street in Harlem, directly across from the Apollo Theater in 2013.

About ImageNation Cinema Foundation:

ImageNation Cinema Foundation is a Harlem-based nonprofit media arts organization founded as an outlet for progressive media by and about people of color, with the goal of establishing a chain of art-house cinemas dedicated to these works. Since 2002 ImageNation has drawn more than 45,000 people to the more than 40 festivals and events it has produced in partnership with institutions such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Apollo Theater and the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center. Through a variety of public exhibitions and programs, ImageNation fosters cross-cultural exchange, media literacy, solidarity, media equity and highlights the humanity of Pan-African people worldwide. For more information, visit:

About The Film Society of Lincoln Center

The Film Society of Lincoln Center was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Advancing this mandate today, the Film Society hosts two distinguished festivals. The New York Film Festival annually premieres films from around the world and has introduced the likes of François Truffaut, R.W. Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, Pedro Almodóvar, Martin Scorsese, and Wong Kar-Wai to the United States. New Directors/New Films, co-presented by the Museum of Modern Art, focuses on emerging film talents. Since 1972, when the Film Society honored Charles Chaplin, its annual Gala Tribute celebrates an actor or filmmaker who has helped distinguish cinema as an art form. Additionally, the Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming at its Walter Reade Theater and offers insightful film writing to a worldwide audience through Film Comment magazine. For more information, visit: The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from 42BELOW, Audi, American Airlines, GRAFF, The New York Times, Stella Artois, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Photo By: Terrence Jennings