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Cicely Tyson to receive the 1st Sir Sidney Poitier Tribute Award at BIFF


The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) announced today that an award-winning film, television and stage actress Cicely Tyson, (The Help, Fried Green Tomatoes, Roots, Sounder, Showing Roots,) will be honored with the 1st ever-prestigious Sir Sidney Poitier Tribute Award Saturday, March 19.


Academy Award® winner and renowned global icon Sir Sidney Poitier has agreed to the naming of the prestigious Career Achievement Award at the Bahamas International Film Festival the “Sir Sidney Poitier Tribute Award.”


Tyson will be on hand for the special tribute and presentation at Graycliff / Humidor on the evening of Saturday, March 19. The announcement was made by BIFF Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool.


“Cicely Tyson is an immensely gracious and beautiful woman, an extraordinary actress who has broken barriers in film and in her theatrical performances. Mrs. Tyson is also known to be an advocate for Civil Rights and the basic of human kindness. She is the governess of acting and a true role model for all men and women of color. She has broken ceilings and paved the way for excellence and it is an incredible honor to have Cicely Tyson to receive the 1stSir Sidney Poitier Tribute Award at the Bahamas International Film Festival,” said Vanderpool. “We’re honored to recognize her amazing career on this special evening.”


“Leslie Vanderpool’s efforts have been extraordinary in making it possible for The Bahamas to have not only a film festival, but to also attract some of the great film artists and filmmakers from around the world.  People like Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Glover, Alan Arkin, Sir Sean Connery, Sophie Okonedo, Lee Daniels, Lenny Kravitz and my own daughter Sydney Tamiia Poitier, who have found, to their great surprise, that the Bahamas is moving swiftly toward a bona fide motion picture community--all of which have been structured by the imaginative young Bahamians who have committed themselves to The Bahamas having a film community of its own,” Poitier said.


“I am honored to be receiving the 1st Sir Sidney Poitier Tribute Award. This award, in recognition of my dear friend and colleague delights my heart; both Sydney and I have always tried to use our career to not only entertain, and enlighten, but to educate as well.  The Bahamas International Film Festival has become a very important avenue to highlight the work of film, filmmakers and artist,” said Ms Tyson.


Actress, Model and Photographer, Cicely Tyson has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 60 years. Tyson who has carefully chosen characters that depict positive role models was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977.


As an actress, her film, television and theater credits range from Moon on a Rainbow Shaw where she received a Drama Desk Award in 1962 for her Off-Broadway performance; Sounder where she was nominated for the Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress for her performance as Rebecca Morgan, to starring in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, for which she won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA Award.


One of the most outstanding performances was her notable role on television as Kunta Kinte's mother in the adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots .


She starred in an array of television shows motion pictures including the critically acclaimed Fried Green Tomatoes; Hoodlum; Diary Of A Mad Black Woman and Why Did I Get Married?


In 2011, Tyson starred in The Help, Produced by Lee Daniels, a friend of the Bahamas International Film Festival, she received awards for her ensemble work as Constantine from the BFCA and SAG Awards and she has an additional four SAG Award nominations.


Additionally In 2014, She starred on Broadway in The Trip to Bountiful as Carrie Watts, for which she won the Tony Award, Outer Critics Award, and Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Play.


In 2015 a film starring Tyson, Showing Roots, directed by Michael Wilson and Produced by Susan Batten won the grand jury award for the Spirit Of Freedom Narrative Award at the 2015 Bahamas International Film Festival.


Tyson has gained great respect as she serves underprivileged communities, spending time supporting the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, a magnet school in East Orange, New Jersey.


A native of New York City, Tyson grew up in Harlem, New York. At a very young age she pursued a modeling career and was eventually being drawn to an acting career. She was passionate about the roles she accepted and explained in a 1983 interview, "Unless a piece really said something, I had no interest in it. I have got to know that I have served some purpose here.”


The 2016 BIFF Sir Sidney Poitier Tribute Award which will be presented to Cicely Tyson Saturday, March 19 along with The Haven Awards, presented to filmmakers throughout The Bahamas, sponsored by Scotia Wealth Management. The Tribute will be moderated by Patty Roker. Roker is a writer, broadcaster, well known commercial voice, and script editor of last year's Haven Award winner, "The Gentle Giant.” She will be conducting the conversation with our honoree about her life, her career and her very special outlook on the business of acting.


The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) will be celebrating 13 years as a Film Festival on December 5 – 11, 2016. BIFF has established itself as a marquee international Festival and non-profit organization in the Caribbean region, discovering and promoting independent voices and talent from around the world and showcasing a diverse array of international films.


About the Bahamas International Film Festival

The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the local community and international festival-goers with a diverse presentation of films from the Bahamas and around the world. In addition to showcasing films that might not otherwise be released theatrically, BIFF provides unique cultural experiences, educational programs, and forums for exploring the past, present and future of cinema. BIFF aims to raise the level of filmmaking, participation and education throughout the Bahamas and the world.


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