By Don Simpson | February 22, 2013
THE JAMES AGEE CINEMA CIRCLE’S
2012 PROGIE AWARDS FOR
BEST PROGRESSIVE FILMS & ARTISTS
Sidney Poitier has won The Sergei Progie, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the James Agee Cinema Circle’s sixth annual “Progie” Awards for Best Progressive Films and Filmmakers of 2012. Promised Land and No tied for the Trumbo Progie for best progressive picture. War Witch has won The Renoir Progie for best antiwar movie. The Central Park Five has won The Dziga Progie for best documentary.
The James Agee Cinema Circle (of which yours truly is a proud, red book-carrying member) is an international, independent umbrella group of lefty film critics, reviewers, scholars and historians dedicated to raising public awareness about films dealing with political, social and cultural issues such as: Human rights, workers’ struggles, women’s rights, environmentalism, ethnic rights, free speech, gay rights, civil liberties, immigrant rights, people’s activism and peace. The JACC annually presents The Progies to the year’s Best Progressive studio features, indies, documentaries and artists. The Progies are the “un-Oscar”, the “people’s alternative Academy Awards,” honoring movies and talents of conscience and consciousness.
Below is a complete list of all of the 2012 Progies winners. Each Progie is awarded in a category named after a great cinema artist or film that made a contribution to movies that inspire, enlighten and entertain audiences.
THE TRUMBO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for Spartacus and Exodus in 1960.
WINNER: (tie) Promised Land & No
THE GARFIELD: The Progie Award for BEST ACTOR in a progressive picture is named after John Garfield, who rose from the proletarian theatre to star in progressive pictures such as Gentleman’s Agreement and Force of Evil, only to run afoul of the Hollywood Blacklist.
WINNER: Gabriel Garcia Bernal, No
KAREN MORLEY AWARD: The Progie Award for BEST ACTRESS in a film portraying women in a progressive picture is named for Karen Morley, co-star of Scarface (1932) and Our Daily Bread (1934). Morley was driven out of Hollywood in the 1930s for her leftist views, but maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for New York’s Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.
WINNER: Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts Of The Southern Wild
THE RENOIR: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-WAR FILM is named after the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who directed the 1937 anti-militarism masterpiece Grand Illusion.
WINNER: War Witch
THE GILLO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN FILM is named after the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who lensed the 1960s classics The Battle of Algiers and Burn!
THE DZIGA: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARY is named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed 1920s nonfiction films such as the Kino Pravda series and The Man With the Movie Camera.
WINNER: The Central Park Five
OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: The Progie Award for the MOST POSITIVE AND INSPIRING WORKING CLASS SCREEN IMAGE is named after King Vidor’s 1934 classic about an American collective farm, which starred Karen Morley and was produced by Charlie Chaplin.
WINNER: Beasts Of The Southern Wild
THE ROBESON: The Progie Award for the BEST PORTRAYAL OF PEOPLE OF COLOR that shatters cinema stereotypes, in light of their historically demeaning depictions onscreen. It is named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson, who starred in Song of Freedom and The Proud Valley, and narrated Native Land.
WINNER: Beasts Of The Southern Wild
THE SERGEI: The Progie Award for LIFETIME PROGRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT ON- OR OFFSCREEN is named after Sergei Eisenstein, the Soviet director of masterpieces such as Potemkin and 10 Days That Shook the World.
WINNER: Sidney Poitier
THE BUNUEL: The Progie Award for the MOST SLYLY SUBVERSIVE SATIRICAL CINEMATIC FILM in terms of form, style and content is named after Luis Bunuel, the Spanish surrealist who directed The Andalusian Dog, Belle de Jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.
WINNER: (tie) Dark Horse & Django Unchained
THE PASOLINI: The Progie Award for BEST PRO-GAY RIGHTS film is named after Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who directed The Gospel According to St. Matthew, The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales.
WINNER: How To Survive A Plague
THE LAWSON: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILM is named after John Howard Lawson, screenwriter of 1938’s anti-Franco Blockade and the 1940s anti-nazi films Four Sons, Action in the North Atlantic, Sahara and Counter-Attack, and one of the Hollywood Ten.
THE LANGLOIS: For BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURES DESERVING THEATRICAL RELEASE IN THE US and distribution in other countries and platforms is named after film archivist Henri Langlois, co-founder of Paris’ Cinémathèque.
WINNERS: All Is Well, Diaz, Don’t Clean Up This Blood, Far From Afghanistan, G-Dog, How To Make Money Selling Drugs, The Patience Stone, Pilgrim Song, Roadmap To Apartheid, Sun Don’t Shine, Toussaint Louverture, United In Anger: A History Of Act-Up, Violeta Se Fue A Los Cielos [Violeta Went To Heaven], Vito, The We And The I, Welcome To Pine Hill