The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival is excited to announce that film legend and 70’s cinema icon Pam Grier will be this year’s King Vidor Award honoree.
Pam Grier is the iconic feminine face of urban cinema in the 70s. She inspired that genre’s mainstream success, and her presence has long served as a muse and inspiration for many actors and filmmakers that followed, most notably Quentin Tarantino and his classic noir, JACKIE BROWN. We are thrilled to celebrate a truly remarkable career and have her at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival to offer her unique and colorful perspective on the journey she has seen film take, from FOXY BROWN to today.
Presented by BHE Renewables, the King Vidor Award presentation will take place immediately after the George Sidney Independent Film Awards ceremony on Saturday, March 17 at the historic Fremont Theater in downtown San Luis Obispo. Following the presentation, Turner Classic Movie’s Ben Mankiewicz will host a discussion of Grier’s entertaining and inspiring career. Past honorees have included Josh Brolin, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Robert Wise, Eva Marie-Saint, Norman Jewison, James Cromwell, Malcolm McDowell, Ann-Margret, and Jeff Bridges.Born on May 26, 1949 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Pam Grier was spotted by an agent at a beauty contest in Colorado Springs, who invited her to come to Hollywood and try her hand at acting. She subsequently moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes while she worked as a switchboard operator for American International Pictures. Soon after, she had made it onto the big screen in BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970) and BIG DOLL HOUSE (1971.)
Following appearances in HIT MAN (1972) and BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA (1973), Grier gained notice in Jack Hill’s COFFY (1973) as the title character, “the baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town.” The next year, she cemented her status as the undisputed queen of urban cinema as the high-class prostitute out for revenge in Hill’s FOXY BROWN (1974.)
Grier solidified her status as a film star throughout the 70s with a string of films including SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM (1973), SHEBA, BABY (1975), BUCKTOWN (1975) with Fred Williamson, FRIDAY FOSTER (1975), and GREASED LIGHTNING (1977) opposite Richard Pryor. The 80s were highlighted by FORT APACHE, THE BRONX (1981) with Paul Newman, the Ray Bradbury classic, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983), and the Steven Seagal actioner ABOVE THE LAW (1988), as well as regular turns on the television via Michael Mann’s “Crime Story” and “Miami Vice.”
Grier continued to work in both film and television throughout the 90s with memorable appearances in John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM LA (1996) and Tim Burton’s MARS ATTACKS (1996). However, it was Quentin Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN (1997) that offered the actress an opportunity to play a character tailor-made for her unique brand of strength and charisma, resulting in the best critical notices of her career as well as her first Best Actress nominations for both a SAG Award and the Golden Globes. Roles in the thriller IN TOO DEEP (1999) and Jane Campion’s HOLY SMOKE (1999) immediately followed, as well as a reunion with Carpenter on his film GHOSTS OF MARS (2001). Grier became a very familiar sight on television as well, with appearances on several series culminating in a regular stints on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2002-2003) and Showtime’s “The L Word” (2004-2009). On the big screen, Grier has most recently been seen in Tom Hanks’s LARRY CROWNE (2011), Rza’s THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012), and last year’s BAD GRANDMAS, and ROSE.
Click here more information about the Awards night event and after-party.
Many thanks to loyal event sponsor BHE RENEWABLES for all their support.
And to media sponsors KSBY-TV, Tribune, New Times, and 93.3 KZOZ, who’s representatives will present cash awards to winning filmmakers in the George Sidney Independent Film competition that evening.